NBA announces $50K fine on Marcus Smart for "forcefully" shoving Philly’s Joel Embiid Wednesday. League says Smart’s fine was also based on "repeated acts of unsportsmanlike conduct during NBA games," including two prior incidents this season which have resulted in fines.— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) March 21, 2019
As Smart is a repeat offender, his fine was much heftier than the last incident against the Atlanta Hawks. Despite several altercations this season, Smart has avoided suspension each time. Last night’s incident against the Sixers was incited by a questionable call between Joel Embiid and Marcus Smart followed by a low screen set by Embiid with his lowered shoulder.
Smart took exception to this, following the action up with a shove that sent Embiid flo- I mean, flying. After being separated by teammates and referees, Smart was assessed a flagrant-2 and Embiid a technical foul for retaliating.
With the Celtics starting to approach the “rest guys down the stretch” portion of the season, Smart avoiding a suspension gives Boston more freedom to rest Kyrie Irving without completely tanking games down the stretch. The Celtics are firmly locked into the 4th or 5th seed at this point, basically ensuring a first-round matchup against the Indiana Pacers. All that’s unclear at this point is which team will get home court advantage in the first round.
The Celtics have two remaining matchups with the Indiana Pacers left this season, but first they play the Charlotte Hornets tomorrow night. Thankfully for Boston, Smart will join them on the floor.