Marcus Smart, several Celtics comment on the play that hurt Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry

·4 min read

The Boston Celtics managed to secure a tough win on the road against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, but it did not come without a bit of controversy in what was a very chippy game that saw two Warriors go down injured in the game.

The injury to superstar guard Steph Curry, in particular, generated quite a bit of in-game controversy after veteran guard Marcus Smart landed on his ankles diving for a loose ball early in the game. It was enough to get Golden State head coach Steve Kerr to initiate an exchange with the Flower Mound native after the play that started with ire but seemed to quickly resolve itself after the two spoke.

Several Celtics were asked about the play postgame, starting with Boston head coach Ime Udoka, who related that “the play that they were complaining about was totally legal and not malicious,” in his view.

“One guy dove for one guy reached for it and loose ball on the floor,” added Udoka, “so I don’t think there was anything there to really complain about.

“Obviously, the refs looked at it, I think and we knew it was a legal play, a good play, so weren’t really worried about that. I told Marcus, ‘Don’t worry about that. Let me handle all that’. And they had some words, and our guys have the freedom to do that. If a coach is going to talk to him like a grown man, they can talk back and so I’m not really worried about that, but to his credit, he kept his composure obviously, put up 20 and 8, and played through it.”

“Bottom line, (you) don’t need to get back and forth with a coach but if you want to say your piece, I’m all for it,” observed the Celtics coach.

“We just kept playing,” related star forward Jaylen Brown when asked about the same play. “We looked at the play … we didn’t think it was dirty. It was just that’s what Smart does — first to the floor. You know what I mean?”

“It’s basketball. And it’s unfortunate that Steph got hurt; it was unintentional, but that’s what Marcus does — he’s the first to the floor every time. Both teams know that, so I don’t know what the controversy is about.”

“He’s doing what any coach, any player, any person would do,” said Smart himself, “and that’s backing up his guys. We talked it out, but at the end of that conversation, he told me you’re one of the guys that I wish I had on my team.”

“Me (and) Steve have that relationship with USA Basketball, so, he knows I’m never trying to hurt anybody, he knows that. Since I’ve gotten his league, I’ve been sacrificing my body for the better of my team and my teammates, so I get it — I understand. You hate to see it happen to anybody, especially playing and doing your job. Hate to see any injury. I hope Steph’s all right.”

“We looked at it, I didn’t even see him, I just saw the ball a dove in a ball shot to make a play, and unfortunately, that occurred,” explained the OSU product. “I’m really down right now about it.”

It does take the shine from a win to see a key part of the opponent’s rotation go down hurt, but this was by all accounts just an unfortunate confluence of events that sometimes occurs when motivated players go after a broken play.

Early reports regarding the severity of Curry’s injury suggest he might be back ahead of the postseason, so it seems the Dubs dodged a bullet here.

But we shouldn’t expect Smart to stop diving for loose balls any time soon — and neither should Boston’s opponents.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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