NBA says Marcus Smart was fouled on final Celtics possession in loss to Mavericks

Smart made a bad decision to foul as well down the stretch.

Marcus Smart fouled
Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic shoots over Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart. AP Photo/Matt Strasen

Celtics guard Marcus Smart was fouled on a late drive to the basket against the Mavericks on Sunday, according to the NBAa pivotal no-call that set up Smart for a costly mistake in the closing seconds of the 107-104 loss.

With the score tied at 104 and a perfect chance to get a 2-for-1 opportunity down the stretch, Smart found himself facing slow-footed Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis. Smart drove at Porzingis and felt contact on his hip, so he hoisted up a shot at the rim.

The shot missed, the officials didn’t make a call, and the Mavericks took the ball the other way.


Here’s a look at the play.

The Celtics still should have had an opportunity to take the final shot of the game, no matter what happened on the ensuing Mavericks possession. However, Smart committed a take foul with 11.7 seconds remaining, which reset the shot clock to 14. In other words, Smart gave the Mavericks a chance to take the final shot.

Luka Doncic took care of the rest — burying the Celtics at the buzzer for the second time in as many seasons.

Ime Udoka was asked about the strategy to foul Doncic after the game.

“There was no strategy,” Udoka said. “It was not supposed to be a foul. A few of the guys asked me coming out of timeout and I let them know, and just a mistake there.

“But that’s on me. I’ve got [to] let everybody know and make sure they know. Obviously, a five-, six-second differential, we want that last shot so I have to communicate that to everybody so everybody knows.”

Of course, that play might not have happened at all if Smart had been awarded his foul against Porzingis. Still, hunting fouls — even ones the NBA finds justifiable — is risky business in late-game situations, especially with the league’s new emphasis on letting the action unfold.


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