In the wake of the push, Smith was almost attacked by the Celtics' Marcus Smart, leading to technical fouls being assessed to both players. The flagrant also killed the small amount of momentum the Cavs were trying to muster while down just eight in the fourth quarter, allowing the Celtics to easily finish off the Cavs.
After the game, Smart said Smith's play was a "dirty shot" and added that it wasn't the first time Smith has done something like that.
"That's not the first time J.R. has done some dirty stuff, especially playing against us", Smart said.
"It's like a bully", Smart continued. That's what I tried to do.
Smith, who missed all seven of his shots and finished with as many points as the fans in the stands on Tuesday, certainly has a history against the Celtics.
Indeed, emotions were running high during the game as the Celtics badly want to eliminate the Cavs after years of being owned by LeBron James and co.in the postseason.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens knows that the stats can't quite measure Smart's impact.
"They're playing tougher than we are".
He's right about everything except for the gooning it up. They now lead 2-0 and are looking as sharp as ever heading into Games 3 and 4 in Cleveland.
It's possible Smith could face further discipline from the National Basketball Association for his cheap play, but no reports have surfaced as of this writing. "He's the guy we really, really lean on".
"We just play hard, we go out there and we compete", said Horford. But the Celtics have to feel pretty good about having Smart on their side in this fight - and any fight for that matter.