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Marcus Smart on his emotions: ‘It’s nothing I have to change’ 03.07.16 at 5:34 pm ET
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Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) is trying to play under control. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) is trying to play under control. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM – Marcus Smart is trying to let his mind catch up to his body. 

The second-year guard out of Oklahoma State said Monday after practice that he is feeling “good, probably the best I’ve felt in my two years here.” 

Problem is, his emotions have been running hot and cold and he, more than anyone, knows he’s going to have to learn to keep them in check down the stretch. 

On Monday, he was fined $15,000 by the league for his crotch grab in the third quarter of the win over the Knicks, resulting in a technical foul. The next night, with his team battling to stay in the game in Cleveland, he picked up a technical foul that help spur the Cavs on a late run that ended in a 120-103 loss. 

Monday after practice the player who had red flags at Oklahoma State because of his emotions, was asked how hard it is for him to keep his emotions in check. 

“I mean, everybody that plays this game is going to feel that way. That’s why it takes five guys out there,” Smart said. “Isaiah [Thomas] was just talking to me [during the game in Cleveland], and we just had a discussion. He was telling me what I already know and what everybody knows with the technical, you know, we didn’t need it at the time. We were just talking how we can come back and capitalize on the next play.

“I don’t think it’s nothing I have to change,” Smart said. “Everybody’s going to make mistakes, just not as a player but as officials, too. They’re humans just like us. So it’s nothing personal between the players or the refs to us or vice versa. It’s just everybody gets caught up in the moment of the game and stuff like that’s going to happen.”

Brad Stevens knows what he has in Smart, a fiery, intense player with tons of energy on defense. But he knows he there’s a fine line between energy and being out of control, both physically and emotionally on the court. 

“I think there is a fine line, for sure. But I think you’d rather a guy be more competitive than not,” Stevens said. “And Marcus is really a great competitor. He’s get frustrated, but he’s a young player and those are things that he can continue to learn. And, again, I don’t think you can just flip the switch on a person that’s not as competitive. When you bring that energy and competitive type of play, you’re going to have some moments where you’ve gotta reflect back and improve from it.”

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Brad Stevens: Coty Clarke ‘rewarded for his great play’ in signing 10-day contract 03.07.16 at 5:12 pm ET
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Coty Clarke meets with reporters Monday after signing a 10-day contract. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Coty Clarke meets with reporters Monday after signing a 10-day contract. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

WALTHAM – Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge hope that Coty Clarke is proof to other players on their D-League roster that the organization is keeping a close eye on them. 

Clarke, undrafted in 2014 out of Arkansas, was signed to a 10-day contract on Monday and joined the Celtics in time for their light practice at the team’s practice facility in Waltham. 

In 39 games for the Maine Red Claws, Clarke, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 16.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 26 minutes per game. Clarke is currently shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from three and 79.2 percent from the free-throw line.

“First and foremost, as I told our team today, he was by no means given a 10-day. He was rewarded (for) his great play,” Stevens declared after Monday’s workout. “He really has played great. Our front office has been thrilled about him and thrilled about his play in Maine the whole year.

“We obviously have a familiarity with him from being here in the fall, and so we thought it was a great opportunity to bring a guy on board while we have some practice time to really get a chance to evaluate him within our system, with our team, as the season has progressed. He’s kind of an undersized shooting forward and so we’ll see how it all goes from there. But he’s had a really nice year.”

The year abroad in a second-tier league in Israel paid off for Clarke, who worked on his rebounding and defense to earn a chance in the states and catch the eyes of the Celtics last summer. 

“I’ve actually played with Coty in summer league and everything, so I’ve been around Coty. What I’ve seen in him is just his aggressiveness and his ability to come in and do things right,” Marcus Smart said. “He’s very versatile, too, so that’s another uniqueness that Coty has. He’s been playing very well and he’s earned a spot up here.”

For Clarke, Monday was a re-introduction to many of the same players – like Smart – he met during training camp and the preseason. 

“It was pretty good, I’m getting acclimated. I’m here to work, and bring what I can bring,” Clarke said. “

What is he hoping to prove in the next ten days?

“That [the Celtics] made the right decision, by bringing me into training camp, putting me down the D-League and showing that I can play at this level,” Clarke said. “Just showing that, ‘Hey I’m here, I’m ready to work and you got a guy that you should keep.”

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Marcus Smart fined $15K for obscene gesture 03.07.16 at 4:51 pm ET
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Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

It has not been the best of times for Marcus Smart. 

The Celtics’ second-year guard out of Oklahoma State was assessed technicals during games on consecutive nights, Friday and Saturday. And on Monday the league came down on him for making an obscene gesture in the third quarter of the win over the Knicks at TD Garden on Friday. 

With 1:49 left in the third, Smart was called for an offensive foul and grabbed his crotch. That move prompted a technical foul called by referee Marc Davis. 

On Monday, the league fined Smart $15,000 for the gesture. The discipline was handed down by Kiki VanDeWeghe, the league’s Executive Vice President for Basketball Operations.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Marcus Smart,
Kelly Olynyk (shoulder) returns to practice ‘still a little stiff and sore’ 03.07.16 at 2:49 pm ET
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WALTHAM — Kelly Olynyk was just happy to be back on the practice court Monday with his teammates. 

At what Brad Stevens termed essentially just a shoot-around with some 3-on-3 and skill work, Olynyk returned and did some shooting of his own to test the shoulder that was injured in the first half of the game against the Clippers on Feb. 10 at TD Garden.

“Just some skill work, just to test things out and see where I’m at,” Olynyk said. “Feel all right. Still a little stiff and sore, not back to where it was before but it’s definitely on the right path. Just trying to keep my conditioning up, get in the weight room, just strengthening it. A little bit of [shooting]. The shot feels all right. It’s more the quick movements and crossing, jumping up and grabbing the ball, stretch, that kind of stuff.”

Being ready for Wednesday against Memphis seems to be a stretch at this point.

“We’ll see it how it goes,” Olynyk said. “It’s a little sore, a little stiff. I’d say it’s still not exactly where I want it to be yet but it’s definitely on the right path so we’ll see how it responds.”

The plan now is to let the shoulder respond and keep in touch with trainer Ed Lacerte and team doctor Brian McKeon. 

“Talked to Ed, talked to Doc and come up with some [plan]. Just want to make sure it’s good enough where it’s not at risk of doing it again. Didn’t get evaluating yet. Had to go through this workout first and then see where we’re at.

“I didn’t do any contact stuff [Monday]. It was more skill work at my own pace. Super excited to get back. It’s tough watching them out there. You want to be out there with him, helping them out. It’s easy if they’re winning. It’s tough if we’re losing then you really want to get out there and see if you can make a difference.”

Stevens watched as Olynyk went through the drills on Monday.

“Same. Kind of day-to-day now,” Stevens said. “See how Kelly feels [Tuesday]. I’m sure he said that as well. And I’ve only talked to them real briefly after we just did a shootaround. So we didn’t do a whole lot. But he shot the ball in. He seemed to feel more comfortable with extending his range as the day went on. So we’ll see.”

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Celtics sign forward Coty Clarke to a 10-day contract, recall R.J. Hunter 03.07.16 at 1:21 pm ET
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Celtics forward Coty Clarke (63) during media day at the Boston Celtics Practice Facility. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

Celtics forward Coty Clarke (63) during media day at the Boston Celtics Practice Facility. (David Butler II/USA Today Sports)

WALTHAM — Coty Clarke is back with Celtics.

The team announced Monday that they have signed the 6-foot-7 forward to a 10-day contract. Clarke will fill the open roster spot left with the buyout of David Lee.

Clarke has appeared in 39 games for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate Maine Red Claws this season, averaging 16.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 26 minutes per game.

Clarke, the 27th D-League call-up of the season, is currently shooting 50.8 percent from the floor, 38.8 percent from three and 79.2 percent from the free-throw line.

Clarke, an undrafted product of Lawson State Community College and Arkansas, was on the training camp roster for the Celtics prior to the start of the season and appeared in one game during the preseason. He was undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft and went over to Israel, where played one season before signing with the Celtics last summer.

Clarke should be available for the Celtics when they host Memphis on Wednesday at TD Garden.

The Celtics also announced that R.J. Hunter has been recalled from Maine.

In Sunday’s Red Claws’ 126-88 victory against the against the Westchester Knicks, Hunter tallied seven points, three rebounds and two assists in 18 minutes of action. He has played in eight contests for Maine this season and is averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.9 steals in 30.8 minutes per game.

Read More: Arkansas, Boston Celtics, Coty Clarke, Lawson State Community College
Brad Stevens thinks his team didn’t show enough poise in loss to Cavaliers 03.05.16 at 10:10 pm ET
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Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) defends against Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 120-103. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

Cleveland Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson (13) defends against Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) during the fourth quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. The Cavs won 120-103. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

While there was an obvious discrepancy in the foul calls and free throw attempts through three quarters, that’s not what Brad Stevens focused on following a 120-103 loss to the Cavaliers Saturday night in Cleveland, snapping his team’s five-game win streak. 

“I thought poise was a big factor,” Stevens told reporters after the game. “I thought the biggest factor in the game was that we got the ball and really didn’t move on a lot on offense. And defensively, I thought we took ourselves out of position. Whether that’s a composure thing or whether that is an over-gambling thing, whatever the case may be.”

Stevens was referring to the fact that repetitive defensive breakdowns left Cleveland shooters wide open over the last three quarters as the Celtics wasted an early 18-point lead on the road, allowing Cleveland to score 98 points in the final three quarters. 

“It’s a long game … against a good team,” Stevens said of Boston’s 35-17 lead and its 35-22 advantage after the first quarter. “Another team is trying to get stops and score. That’s why we have to do everything we can control to do better against them. But this is a good team. We have to play a lot better and we knew we had to play a lot better than the last time to win the game. And we did it for a quarter instead of four.”

The Cavaliers held a big advantage in many key areas. They attempted 28 free throws through three quarter while Boston got to the line just 11 times. Marcus Smart and Jared Sullinger picked up technical fouls in the second half as the frustration grew. 

“We’re playing with a lot of confidence and we just have to stay together,” Sullinger told reporters.  We let some things get away from us. We just have to stay together. We didn’t keep our poise and the refs got to us. We’ve just got to do a better job of controlling that.”

“I think you’ll have to ask them. I think both sides were warned by the officials,” Stevens said. “I don’t think we played with great poise as indicated by our play. And all the other stuff, you’ve got to control what you can control.”

Cleveland had 29 points off 14 Boston turnovers. Iman Shumpert had six of his 16 rebounds on the offensive glass while Boston had just 10 for the game.

“We were out of sync a little bit,” Sullinger said. “We had four guys connecting and not five. When you have four, obviously that fifth person always makes a mistake. But back to the drawing board and we have to protect home court on Wednesday (vs. Memphis). You just have to let it roll off your back and move on and understand there’s another day to fight.” 

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Studs and Duds: LeBron James gets physical in second half, rally Cavs past Celtics 03.05.16 at 9:31 pm ET
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LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

LeBron James (23) drives to the basket against Celtics forward Amir Johnson (90) during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. (Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports)

There was no miracle comeback or ending this time in Cleveland.

A month to the day of Avery Bradley’s game-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer, the Celtics started out fast but couldn’t hold an 18-point lead and ran out of gas in the second half in a 120-103 loss to the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. It snapped Boston’s five-game winning streak. 

Isaiah Thomas led Boston with 27 points while Jared Sullinger had 17 points and 13 rebounds. LeBron James had 28 points and 11 rebounds for Cleveland. 

It was only Cleveland’s third home win in 10 tries against the Celtics in regular season play as Cleveland captured the season series, 2-1.

The game started out exactly the opposite from what happened exactly a month earlier on the same court. Instead of falling behind 15 points after the first quarter, the Celtics started out red hot, thanks in large part to their sharp shooting from 3-point range. The Celtics hit five of their seven attempts from beyond the arc, led by two from Isaiah Thomas, who had 10 points in the first quarter. 

The Celtics (38-26) used a 20-4 run to take a 35-17 lead before the Cavaliers (44-17) scored the final five points of the quarter to cut Boston’s advantage to 35-22 after the first 12 minutes. 

The Celtics got extremely sloppy with the ball in the second quarter, blowing their entire lead. Trailing 45-31, the Cavs scored 12 straight points to regain momentum. Boston committed six of their eight first half turnovers and the Cavaliers converted those six turnovers into 14 points as the Cavaliers went on a 24-8 run. In all, the Celtics’ eight turnovers resulted in 17 points as the Cavaliers took a 55-54 lead to the locker room. 

As sharp as their 3-point shooting was to start the game, their free throw shooting was just as awful. The Celtics missed six of their nine attempts from the line. 

The Cavaliers took their biggest lead of the game at 67-61 before the Celtics answered with the next six points. LeBron James missed a pair of free throws and Thomas hit a pull-up three to give the Celtics a 70-67 lead. James came back with a three of his own. The Cavaliers took advantage of a huge free throw discrepancy in the third quarter to expand their lead to 12, 95-83, heading into the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers converted 21 of 28 free throws through three quarters while Boston was just 5-of-11. 

The Celtics were able to get within seven on Tyler Zeller’s two free throws with 5:31 left but J.R. Smith answered with a three with 5:16 to put the Cavs up 10, 106-96. Cleveland pulled away down the stretch, with Boston ‘s frustration capped by Jared Sullinger’s technical with three minutes left. The Cavs went up, 115-109 when Matthew Dellevadova and James converted free throws. 

The Celtics emptied the bench with 1:26 left and the Cavaliers up, 118-103. The Celtics are off until Wednesday when they host Memphis at TD Garden. 

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box read on.

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