The first two weeks of the season have been a drama-free zone for the Celtics. However, Thursday night’s win at Charlotte offered an uneasy moment when there was a rare — if brief — confrontation involving coach Brad Stevens and guard Marcus Smart.
Smart appeared to be growing increasingly frustrated with Charlotte’s physical play and the resulting officiating as the game rolled on.
With 6:08 left in the third quarter, Smart was whistled for his fourth foul as he tried to take a charge while Charlotte’s Devonte’ Graham drove to the hoop. Eleven seconds later Smart drove toward the basket and was called for an offensive foul after using his off hand to nudge Graham.
As Smart went to the bench after picking up his fifth foul, he appeared to snap at Stevens. He said later that he was frustrated with the calls that were going against him, and that he wanted to feel like someone was on his side.
“I’m telling him like, ‘At some point you have to step in and say something as a coach. But since you won’t, I’ve got to,’ ” Smart said. “I understand from Brad’s standpoint, but at the same time, from the player’s standpoint, like, you’ve got to step in.”
The two smoothed it over soon after that, though, and Stevens was not concerned about it.
“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.”