Boston Celtics player Marcus Smart was fined $15,000 (11,463 GBP) for public criticism of NBA officiating. NBA's Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Kiki VanDeWeghe announced the fine on Saturday, as a result of Smart's comments to the media following their game against the Milwaukee Bucks on July 31.

In the 119-112 loss of the Celtics against the Bucks last Friday, Smart commented to the media that officials changed their call to prevent MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo from fouling out of the game.

There were two separate occasions during the final quarter of the game when Antetokounmpo was called for his sixth foul, but both times officials reviewed them and overturned the call.

In the NBA, a player with six (6) fouls is ejected/disqualified from the game. No further penalties are given to the player afterwards.

Antetokounmpo played most of the 4th quarter with five fouls. If the Bucks played without their leading scorer during the closing minutes of the game, the results could have been different.

Here is what Marcus Smart had to say about it.

"Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about: Giannis' sixth foul, and they didn't want to get him out. Let's just call that spade a spade and that's what it is."

According to Mass Live, In the first instance, Antetokounmpo appeared to have made significant contact with Daniel Theis' midsection. A foul was called and reviewed. It was overturned and allowed the reigning MVP to continue playing in the game.

On the second play, It was between Marcus Smart and Antetokounmpo. An offensive foul was called on the MVP when he made contact with Smart during a layup shot. After a review, the call was changed to blocking foul, giving the foul to Smart. Since the layup went in, the Greek Freak also got a free throw.

It's the incident that most likely triggered Smart to spout negative criticism on the referees and game officials after the game.

Smart led the way for the Celtics, scoring 23 points on 7 of 11 shots. The young Jayson Tatum played one of the worst games in his career, shooting 2 of 18 on the floor. Tatum scored only 5 points in the entire game.

MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 36 points, 15 rebounds, and dished out 7 assists in the game.

Marcus Smart
Boston Celtics Marcus Smart GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Maddie Meyer