CHARLOTTE, N.C. — In the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ loss to the Clippers Sunday night, guard Marcus Smart was involved in a pair of physical collisions that frustrated him.
With 10:14 left, the rookie took exception with a screen set by Clippers center Spencer Hawes, who appeared to shove Smart at the end of the play. J.J. Redick was actually whistled for a foul, essentially for pushing Smart into Hawes.
“I thought it was just an illegal screen,” Smart said. “At first I thought they were gonna call a foul on me, until they went and checked the monitors.”
Later in the period, Smart was upset with Clippers forward Hedo Turkoglu’s physical play after the ball was dead.
“I mean, we’ve had our share of after-the-whistle plays when we’ve been hit with technicals or reviews around altercations like that,” Smart said. “And unfortunately they told me they couldn’t review it; there was nothing to review.”
In both instances, Smart was clearly upset, but he kept his cool. He has registered a pair of flagrant 2 fouls this season, including one for striking Spurs forward Matt Bonner in the groin that resulted in a one-game suspension. Smart has four “flagrant points” this season, and if he accumulates two more he would receive an automatic one-game suspension.
“You’ve just got to be able to maintain your intensity without going overboard and hitting them back,” Smart said. “It’s something you’ve got to be able to control, and it’s something you can control.”
Thomas has scare
Point guard Isaiah Thomas was in disbelief when he took a hard fall in the second half of his team’s loss to the Clippers.
“Right when I went down, I’m like, ‘Dang, not again,’ ” Thomas said. “But it wasn’t as bad as the first one.”
Thomas missed eight games because of a badly bruised lower back. Sunday night’s game was just his third since his return.
He knew the fall was not as severe as the previous one, but he had concerns about the trip to Charlotte to face the Hornets Monday night.
“I was scared of the flight,” Thomas said. “I was thinking it was gonna swell up a little bit more like it did the first time, but it didn’t.”
Thomas finished with 10 points and he had seven assists, six in the first half.
Just in time to update your summer reading list, forward Tyler Zeller’s parents are releasing a book about what it’s like to raise three children who go on to become NBA players. Tyler’s younger brother, Cody, is a second-year forward for the Hornets, and his older brother, Luke, spent part of the 2012-13 season with the Phoenix Suns.
The book, “Raising Boys The Zeller Way” is scheduled to be available next month.
“I think people will enjoy reading it,” Tyler Zeller said. “It’s not like telling you how to raise kids or anything like that. It kind of just goes through our lives and says what they feel they did right, what they feel like they did wrong. But they also do it in a way they feel like they’re telling stories.”
Zeller said his parents, Steve and Lorri, began working on the project with a professional writer about a year ago. The brothers did have some editorial say, however.
“There were a couple of things they initially put in there we were like, ‘Uh, we don’t know if we want that,’” Zeller said. “Or, we’d read it and be like ‘Oh, you should add this.’ ”
Matter of record
The Celtics are locked in a four-way race for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with the Hornets, Nets, and Pacers.
Coach Brad Stevens consistently has said that he avoids focusing on the various scenarios.
But Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he has long had an idea of the record his team might need to reach the postseason.
“Originally, I was thinking 38 [wins] would be a number, which would mean we’d have to go 7-3,” Clifford said. “I’d say that’s probably about right. You never know. There are a lot of head-to-head games.”
Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at email@example.com.