NBA official explains why Celtics’ Marcus Smart was ejected after altercation with Hawks’ Trae Young

The Celtics ran into some unneeded adversity late in their win over the Hawks on Saturday night.

With 1:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Celtics led by eight when Marcus Smart was ejected after an altercation with Trae Young. Smart was trailing behind Young when the Hawks star rose up for a shot and inadvertently kicked the Celtics guard in the groin. Smart took issue with Young and charged at him. The two went face to face before they both fell to the floor, with Smart seemingly losing his balance and taking Young with him. Young got up and pointed at Smart as the skirmish continued.

After a lengthy review, Smart and Young were assessed double technical fouls, but Smart was ejected and Young stayed in the game. Young made both technical free throws to cut the Celtics’ lead to six, but Boston ultimately prevailed with a 134-125 victory.

Following the game, NBA referee and game crew chief Sean Wright conducted a pool report interview with Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to explain the decision to eject Smart and give Young a technical foul. Here’s the transcript of the interview:

QUESTION: “Why was Marcus Smart ejected from tonight’s game?”

WRIGHT: “He was ejected for the grab and take down of Trae Young.”

QUESTION: “What was unnatural about that move that warranted being ejected?

WRIGHT: “[Smart] grabs [Young] and slams him to the ground.”

QUESTION: “Why was Trae Young assessed a technical?”

WRIGHT: “For getting up and pointing in Marcus Smart’s face.”

QUESTION: “And, why wasn’t Trae Young ejected from tonight’s game?”

WRIGHT: “His actions did not rise to the level of an ejection.”

QUESTION: “What was deemed inappropriate about Trae Young’s interaction with Marcus Smart?”

WRIGHT: “His pointing in [Smart’s] face was deemed inappropriate and that is why we assessed a technical foul.”

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