Marcus Smart is a tough defender, but he’s also a deceptive one, too. And in Game 7 against the Cavaliers on Sunday, it looks like he absolutely fooled the refs into calling an offensive foul on LeBron James in the second quarter.
James was charging down the court with a head full of steam, and when he came into contact with Smart, he attempted to hop-step through into the lane. LeBron brought his arms over, and on first look, it appeared The King elbowed Smart right in the chin.
But things are rarely how they appear on first look. Sometimes you need a second look. And sometimes, that second look needs to be in slow motion.
Did Smart flop on this play?
It sure looks like it. It doesn’t look like LeBron’s elbow made contact with Smart’s jaw at all. In fact, Smart had to keep selling the contact long after the play was over.
But these are the plays that make Smart special. He puts his body on the line, and even if he didn’t eat LeBron’s elbow, he still stood in the way of a runaway freight train headed straight to the rim.
These are the kinds of plays, hate it or love it, that make the difference in basketball games. Smart is a difference maker — even if he flops at times.