Tensions from the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals boiled over to the Cavaliers’ game against Boston on Saturday, with J.R. Smith in the middle of the preseason altercation between the teams.
Smith got tangled up with Celtics center Aron Baynes while going for a rebound in the first quarter, leading to Smith pushing the 6-foot-10 Baynes. Baynes’ teammate, Marcus Smart, quickly sprinted towards Smith and attempted to take a shot at him. The two have history, and mayhem ensued.
“For a guy who wants to be so tough in this situation, he leads the league in flops,” Smith said after the game, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. “You can’t flop as much as you do and then be tough. How does that even work? And then you start slinging your teammates. Like, you didn’t come to play basketball today. Your coach told you you gotta play and you was frustrated, and then you try to take it out on somebody else.
“At the end of the day, I’m not going to sit here and lose money over trying to fight Marcus Smart. I’m not going to lose money over my tattoo, so why would I lose it over him.”
Smart was ejected from the game, Smith received a technical foul, and each could face additional penalties from the league office. The two teams don’t meet again until November 30 at TD Garden.
There’s more out of Cleveland:
- Rodney Hood is determined to prove himself this season with the Cavs, Vardon writes. Hood is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
- Collin Sexton impressed in his debut at Quicken Loans Arena, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Sexton finished with 13 points in 19 minutes of work, shooting 4-of-6 from the floor.
- The Cavaliers are focused on scoring by committee this season, Basketball Insiders’ Spencer Davies relays. “When we’re playing that way—playing fast, moving the basketball, moving bodies—I think everyone can be effective in that situation,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “So we’ve got to score by committee where we need five, six guys in double figures.”