Marcus Smart got into a first-quarter tussle with the Cleveland Cavaliers and J.R. Smith, leading to Smart’s ejection.
That would be about as much fight as you would see from the Celtics as they close out their preseason slate of games with a 113-102 loss to the Cavs.
Boston (1-3) has more than a week between now and their season opener against Philadelphia.
And they’ll need that time to work on a number of things which factored heavily into them losing three of their four preseason games.
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds following Saturday’s game.
Ante Zizic: Drafted by the Celtics by traded to Cleveland as part of the Kyrie Irving deal last year, Zizic showed the promise that Boston saw in him earlier. The 7-foot big man led all scorers with 20 points on 7-for-8 shooting to go with five rebounds.
J.R. Smith: The 7 points on 3-for-6 shooting didn’t do much in terms of impacting the game’s outcome. But the bruhaha he helped escalate by entangling his arm with Aron Baynes in the first quarter, was a game-changer. It triggered a response by Marcus Smart who was ejected for his role in the incident. And the Celtics never gained any kind of traction or momentum going forward.
Marcus Morris: It was yet another strong night scoring the ball for Morris who has been one of Boston’s most consistent scorers I the preseason. He led the Celtics with 17 points off the bench.
Jordan Clarkson: He has been among the better scorers off the bench in recent years, a trend he looks poised to continue this season. He had 12 points on 4-for-8 shooting off the bench for the Cavs along with grabbing six rebounds.
Collin Sexton: The eighth overall pick in last June’s NBA draft looks to be capable of contributing in a significant way for the Cavs sooner rather than later. He had yet another strong preseason game against Boston, scoring 13 points on just 4-for-6 shooting in just 19 minutes.
Terry Rozier: With no Kyrie Irving (ribs) around, Rozier had a few more shot attempts and to his credit he made the most of his increased role. The Youngstown, Ohio native had 17 points which tied teammate Marcus Morris for team-high scoring honors.
Three-point shooting: You know the Celtics will take a lot of three-pointers. That’s just who they are as a team. But making them, at least in the preseason, is an entirely different matter. Boston closed out its preseason schedule with another poor shooting game from 3-point range. Against the Cavs, Boston made just 24.1 percent (7-for-29)
Marcus Smart: You love the fact that Marcus Smart plays with an elite level of passion, but he was totally over the top tonight. Smart was ejected in the first quarter for sticking up for Aron Baynes after J.R. Smith delivered a two-handed shove to Baynes. Fortunately for the Celtics, this occurred during the preseason rather than a regular season matchup when the games count.
Brown/Tatum tandem: Neither player had it going offensively, as they each scored just eight points. Brown did it on 4-for-13 shooting, while Tatum wasn’t much better in connecting on just three of his nine shots from the field.