Marcus Smart losing his cool, shoving Joel Embiid to the floor, and getting ejected in the third quarter against Philadelphia — after Embiid gave Smart some shoulder when setting a screen — led to a collective shaking of the head in Boston. The Celtics were up 11 when it happened and they need Smart and his defense on the court, and he lost his composure. Then the Celtics lost the game. Then Smart got fined $50,000.
Smart himself, not so filled with regret. He said he would do it again.
The instinct to “protect” himself is a natural one, although if you say the game isn’t physical enough then you have to accept the physicality.
But Smart has to think time and place — Smart got ejected at in a terrible spot. It’s part of the reason the Celtics lost an important Eastern Conference showdown (the ejection also fired up Embiid, who scored the next 8 points for the Sixers). There are times to get revenge if it is warranted, but Smart didn’t think that way, he just reacted emotionally. And it cost him and the team.
The playoffs are coming, emotions will be high, and Smart has to be, well, smarter than that.