Before the league issued that verdict, Boston coach Brad Stevens prepared for the inevitable.
Stevens, via Chris Forsberg of ESPN:
“Obviously, I’ve been told of the gesture,” Stevens said Wednesday during a conference call. “I saw a brief video clip of it but, from my clip, from the angle that I saw, I couldn’t tell. But obviously if he made a gesture, it’s unacceptable and that will be handled by the league.”
If Smart did something Stevens deemed “unacceptable,” maybe the Celtics also ought to handle this? Smart was fined last season for making an obscene gesture, and earlier this year, he feuded with an assistant coach on the bench then punched a hole in the wall in the locker room.
Smart too often crosses the line from passionate to counterproductively angry. I doubt a fine will suddenly change that, which puts pressure on Stevens to find a solution. Smart obviously determines his own behavior, but the team’s mentality ultimately falls on the coach.
The Celtics, Smart included, must maintain their composure to come back from down 2-0 to Chicago.