Celtics' Smart miffed by refs in win, downplays heated exchange with Stevens
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Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart rebuked the officiating in Thursday's game against the Charlotte Hornets, arguing he was being reffed unfairly in the 108-87 win.

"Really, just, I wish they would call the game the right way," Smart said postgame, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. "A lot of calls that they called, I didn't understand where the fouls were. And it just seems like whenever I get the ball and I'm on offense, I can't get a call.

"Nobody else is going to protect yourself. You've got to protect yourself. So if that means I've got to lose a little bit of money, then I've got to lose a bit."

In one notable incident, Smart's displeasure with the officiating channeled into frustration toward his head coach, Brad Stevens.

After picking up his fifth foul of the game in the third quarter, Smart was pulled in order to avoid fouling out early. However, on his way to the bench, the guard appeared to have some choice words for Stevens, prompting an assistant to walk over.

Smart admitted postgame he was aggravated with Stevens for not defending him from the referees.

"I just was telling him, you know, especially when everything is going that way, like, they're just picking and picking, and it's like they're eyeing on me and it's like they are doing it on purpose," Smart said, according to ESPN's Tim Bontemps. "So I'm telling them like, 'At some point, you have to step in and say something as a coach. But since you won't, I've got to.'

"I understand from Brad's standpoint, but at the same time, from the player's standpoint, like, you've got to step in."

Cooler heads eventually prevailed as Smart apologized to Stevens during a television timeout, Bontemps notes. The Celtics guard returned to begin the fourth quarter and avoided picking up another foul before he was subbed off for good with 4:30 left and Boston up 100-77.

Smart explained the outburst was nothing out of the ordinary in his and Stevens' relationship. The head coach also said he took no issue with Smart's honesty and even appreciated his frustration.

"We need Marcus, and I've told him a number of times how much we need him," Stevens said. "But this is the part about Marcus that I love, right? His fire, his competitiveness. If there's a moment when he's upset with us, that's all part of it.

"We move on pretty quickly. We've been together a long time. I've been yelled at before and that's OK. I love him and I trust him. And he'll get every opportunity."

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Celtics' Smart miffed by refs in win, downplays heated exchange with Stevens
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