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In defense of Marcus Smart


 Let me make it clear first of all that I am totally against making a threat of any kind that even hints at harming, or certainly killing, another human being. Marcus Smart was wrong in doing so in the Celtics loss to the tanking Oklahoma City Thunder, and he deserved the one-game suspension. But to be honest, part of me loved that it occurred..

This type of thing can happen when a player gets to a point "beyond frustration" and is having a bad game. Marcus and his teammates have been under-performing generally - were in the process of losing to a pathetic-and-tanking Thunder team - and Smart was having a bad game. And he let loose verbally at the closest target - an NBA official.

Wilt Chamberlain did a similar act versus referee, Earl Strom when Wilt was having his usual tortuous time at the free throw line (per Chicago Tribune's Sam Smith):

''He was in one of those 1-for-13s,'' recalls referee Earl Strom.

''Nothing was getting close. So he comes up to me and said, `Earl, I don`t care what they do, if you call a foul and send me to the line again, I`m going to kill you.`

''So the next time he gets the ball, four guys are all over him. They`re hanging on him and banging him. And then Wilt lifts about three of them off the ground and slams the ball through the basket, and I`m standing back there and not saying anything.''

I have no idea what Marcus said to the ref in the OKC contest, but I doubt (like Wilt) that he mean to carry it out. Simply the heat of battle and frustration-driven. It happens.

Consistent winning should cure most the Celtics woes, and it could happen if this group of talented hoopsters ever decide to play together the right way. Marcus always seems to ignite his team, and his verbal threats may help fire up The Green at the right time with the regular season is coming down to the wire

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