With his Cleveland Cavaliers visibly frustrated late in Tuesday night's Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics, the always enigmatic J.R. Smith might have committed the dirtiest foul of the playoffs.
Both players were hit with technical fouls and Smith was given a flagrant 1, though a flagrant 2 and an ejection was more suitable.
Smith pushed an airborne Horford in the lane and drew a flagrant. His five quick points after the play helped the Celtics secure a 107-94 win and a 2-0 series lead. He can't control where his body goes. When it was all over the Celtics were calling him "dirty."It was Smith's biggest TD Garden meltdown since Game 4 of the Cavs' 2015 sweep, when Smith took a swing at Jae Crowder and cracked him in the jaw, earning a suspension.Let's start with the basketball". The flagrant also killed the small amount of momentum the Cavs were trying to muster while down just eight in the fourth quarter, allowing the Celtics to easily finish off the Cavs.
Smart, it seems, hasn't forgotten. "I thought we all played well but I thought Al was certainly very good". We know that. So it's like a bully. "You let a bully keep picking on you, he's going to keep picking on you until you finally stand up. And that's what I tried to do".
Horford is not known for to be particularly animated, but even he admitted the contact crossed a line.
Smith said there was no malicious intent on the play. "But that's the thing about the group of our guys".
"It was a good call", Smith said. "I blatantly pushed him", Smith said.
"LeBron, we're coming to get you", Ortiz said in an Instagram video.