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Celtics’ Marcus Smart fined for criticism of referees

Marcus Smart shakes hands with the Bucks' George Hill after Friday's game in Orlando, Fla.
Marcus Smart shakes hands with the Bucks' George Hill after Friday's game in Orlando, Fla.Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Marcus Smart was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Saturday for criticizing referees after the Boston Celtics guard claimed the officials changed a call Friday night to keep Milwaukee star Giannis Antetokounmpo from fouling out.

Antetokounmpo appeared to have picked up a sixth foul after he was called for charging when he crashed into Smart with 1:28 left. However, referees changed the call to a blocking foul after video replay, and Antetokounmpo converted a tiebreaking 3-point play that helped Milwaukee pull out a 119-112 victory.

Smart said afterward the explanation from referees for changing the call was that he was too late, but he felt there was another reason.

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“Quite frankly, I think we know all what that was all about. Giannis’s sixth foul and they didn’t want to get him out,” Smart said. “Let’s just call that spade a spade and that’s just what it is.”

Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 36 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. Smart led Boston with 23 points.

It was the first fine handed out by the league since the restart began last week.