These are frustrating times for the Boston Celtics. They’ve been roundly outplayed through two games of the 2017 playoffs, dropping consecutive contests to the Chicago Bulls on their home floor. They’re just the second No. 1 seed to fall into an 0-2 hole to an eighth seed, and the first in nearly a quarter-century.
Midway through the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s dispiriting Game 2 loss, Celtics guard Marcus Smart appeared to allow that frustration to boil over, resulting in an action that figures to draw some arched eyebrows from the league office:
Marcus Smart, BRUH. ???? pic.twitter.com/5kWTO5JcYn
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) April 19, 2017
With just over six minutes remaining in the fourth and the Bulls holding a 100-86 lead, Celtics All-Star Isaiah Thomas fed Smart on the right wing for a 3-point try. It hit the heel of the rim and bounced clear, where it was rebounded by Chicago star Jimmy Butler.
As Smart backpedaled on defense, he continued to look not at the ball or his man, Dwyane Wade, but rather back in the direction where he took his shot. As he crossed half-court, he raised his right hand, extended his middle finger, and then appeared to point in that direction. He then raised his left hand and brought his index finger to his lips, as if to suggest somebody — perhaps a fan sitting courtside — should be quiet.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the court, Rajon Rondo was lofting a lob pass to rolling Chicago center Cristiano Felicio for an alley-oop dunk that would extend the Bulls’ lead to 16. Six minutes later, the Bulls would be headed home with a chance to put the Celtics one game away from a sweep, and Boston was on its way to the Windy City in search of an awful lot of answers.
It’s not yet clear what, exactly, precipitated Smart’s gesture. The guard finished with 13 points on 6-for-11 shooting with a team-high eight rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 27 minutes off the Celtics bench.
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