— Sports

Celtics’ Smart suspended 1 game by NBA for language at ref

BOSTON (AP) – Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was suspended by the league for one game Wednesday because of “threatening language” he directed at a referee a night earlier.

The suspension forced him to miss Wednesday night’s home game against Charlotte.

“I just found out about 15 minutes ago,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said during his pregame media availability, just over 90 minutes before tip-off.

“I’m not even completely aware of what happened,” Stevens said. “I did hear there were words after the game.”

The NBA did not provide many specifics in a news release beyond saying the incidents with Smart occurred “during and after the Celtics‘ 119-115 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.”

“I saw Marcus this morning. We talked about it,” Stevens said.

Boston was already short-handed at point guard. Kemba Walker is out with a left oblique strain.

“Point guard by the committee tonight,” Stevens said.

Boston was blown out by the Hornets in the teams’ last meeting, 125-104 in Charlotte on Sunday.

Boston entered the sixth place in the Eastern Conference, 1 1/2 games ahead of eighth-place Charlotte.

Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot and looking to avoid the play-in games for couples who finish seventh and 10th in the conference.

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