The Bulls provided a double-dose of ludicrous statements behind the microphone after their second straight loss at home to the Celtics in Game 4. Fred Hoiberg’s accusations that Isaiah Thomas’ success is related to him “carrying” the ball would be tough to top in any pairing.
Ultimately it was superseded in nonsense when Jimmy Butler, who shot 14-of-37 between the two losses (38%), called a guy who grew up watching his father-figure die and lived in a neighborhood where blood and crips warred routinely a “great actor.”
All Marcus Smart had to say in response to that, “laughing.” He then went on to say this series is about the Bulls and Celtics, not Butler and him.
Again, this is a situation of poor judgement. Hoiberg and Butler likely said what they did with the motive of firing up the series, but in the context of two bad losses and the situations of Thomas and Smart it was a horrendous look.
Smart even shared one of the greatest rules of life in his response:
“I could show you, but I'm not going to tell you.”
It’s hard to define these big overarching labels like “tough guy,” but the general consensus would likely be that between all the death and anger Smart grew up around combined with his insanely hard-nosed style of basketball, tough would be a fit here.
Nobody’s going to fight in this series, Smart and Butler can throw words all day long, but Smart has lived a life that has embodied toughness, even when he’s made mistakes.
The play that Butler seems to be referring to was when him and Butler got tied up underneath the basket after Isaiah Canaan’s steal-and-score.
Butler was pressuring him, tensions flared, and Smart shoved him away as he stuck around in his face for a few seconds after the basket. It was a deserving double-technical, but Butler went and made it something more.
It just wasn’t smart, especially when there’s video like this on Butler. Did him backing away from Paul Pierce in the aftermath of a hard foul make him “not about that life?”
That’s the territory we get into with labels. Not smart.