Celtics' Marcus Smart fined $15K for criticizing refs

Celtics guard Marcus Smart was fined $15,000 by the NBA on Friday for public criticism of officials, money Smart himself predicted he'd lose when he went after the referees following Boston's 108-87 road win over the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night.

"Really, just, I wish they would call the game the right way," Smart said after the game, in which he got frustrated over foul calls in the third quarter and a confrontation with the Hornets' Miles Bridges in the fourth. "A lot of calls that they called, I didn't understand where the fouls were. And it just seems like whenever I get the ball and I'm on offense, I can't get a call.

"Nobody else is going to protect yourself. You've got to protect yourself. So if that means I've got to lose a little bit of money, then I've got to lose a bit."

Smart was furious with the referees first for getting called for a foul at each end of the court in a span of 11 seconds -- his fourth and fifth of the game -- midway through the third quarter, prompting him to get into it with Celtics coach Brad Stevens on his way off the court after being substituted, and then again while he was sitting on the bench. A few minutes later, Smart went over and apologized to Stevens during the next television timeout, and Smart returned to the game at the start of the fourth quarter.

He then got into it with Bridges early in the fourth quarter, with Bridges throwing Smart to the ground and earning a technical for his trouble.

"With the Bridges push and stuff like that, I told [the referees], I said, 'If it was me, y'all would probably throw me out the game and everything,'" Smart said. "'So you clean it up, or I will. I allowed y'all, I gave y'all the time, y'all keep telling me, 'Let us handle it, let us handle it.' I'm coming to y'all first, but at some point as a player, as a man, you've got to protect yourself.'"

Smart and the Celtics have won six games in a row since losing to the Philadelphia 76ers on opening night, and they enter Friday tied with the Lakers for the NBA's best record. They will conclude a three-game road trip Saturday night in San Antonio.