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Tempers flare between Celtics-Cavaliers after dirty JR Smith foul

16 May 2018

The Cavaliers guard delivered a dirty and unsafe two-hand shove to the back of Al Horford as the Celtics forward went up for an alley-oop attempt late in the fourth quarter.

It seemed like Smith was heading for a flagrant two for a risky act that could have injured Horford, but instead, all he got was a flagrant one.

Smith's push was delivered in frustration as the Cavaliers watched a 55-48 halftime advantage disappear, with the incident coming as the Celtics were holding a 12-point lead at 99-89. Boston would ultimately win the game to take a 2-0 series lead.

Smart talked about the play after the game, calling Smith a bully and a dirty player who had to be dealt with. Al was defenseless in the air. "You just can't allow that to keep happening. We know he can make shots, but just communication defensive-wise". "You let a bully keep picking on you, he's going to keep picking on you until you finally stand up". Shocking since he had a front-row seat for his Smith's, shall we say, "goonish" antics. "One of my guys was down and I took offense to it".

And those numbers can't even quantify some of his most impactful moments.

"It's like a bully", Smart said of Smith. "I blatantly pushed him. I just wanted to make sure he didn't get it".

Referees looked at the sequence - which occurred with 3:49 left in the game and the Celtics ahead 97-89 after Smith had missed a 3-pointer - the TD Garden serenaded Smith with a chant typically reserved for highway traffic disputes. After breaking out in the series sweep of the Toronto Raptors, Smith has seemingly returned to the shell where camped out in the first round against the Indiana Pacers.

Tempers flare between Celtics-Cavaliers after dirty JR Smith foul