Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart described JR Smith as "like a bully" after the Cleveland Cavaliers guard's flagrant foul on Al Horford in game two of the Eastern Conference finals.
The Cavs slipped 2-0 behind in the series with a 107-94 defeat in Boston, where Smith's fourth-quarter clash with Horford and Smart was a major flashpoint.
Smith pushed an airborne Horford in the lane and drew a flagrant. Smart reacted angrily at the time and was still irked when he faced reporters afterwards.
"You take two hands to the back, it's a dirty shot," he told a news conference. "You can't allow that to keep happening.
"It's not the first time JR has done some dirty stuff, especially playing against us. He's known for it, especially playing against us. We know that.
"He's like a bully. Keep letting the bully keep picking on you and he's going to keep picking on you. You've got to stand up and that's what I tried to do."
Horford was grateful for Smart's support, adding: "I felt like it was uncalled for, that type of play. But that's the one thing about the group of our guys: we have each other's backs.
"We have each other's backs," says Al Horford.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 16, 2018
Marcus Smart had his back tonight
"It is what it is. We moved on to the next play and locked in even more after that."
Smith acknowledged the decision was correct and denied any malice in his actions.
"It was a good call. I blatantly pushed him," he said. "It wasn't like I was trying to low bridge him or something, just trying to make sure he didn't get it in.
"It was a good, hard foul - I can understand why it was given."
|Japan players apologise for ´thoughtless, careless´ actions at Asian Games|
|Japan send home four basketball players from Asian Games amid prostitution scandal|
|Harden says Carmelo will ´be a good fit´ for Rockets|
|Simmons lauds influence of ´big brother´ LeBron|
|Stephen Curry wants to finish his career with Warriors|
|Golf behind Timberwolves´ draft mishap in 2009? Curry thinks so|
|Rockets GM: LeBron James is ´the greatest ever´|
|Veteran Carmelo Anthony pens one-year Rockets deal|
|Wade will only return to Miami Heat|
|Former Cavaliers guard Thomas apologises for Cleveland comment|
|Curry makes $25,000 donation after missing Web.com Tour cut|
|Jamal Crawford would be ´honoured´ to play for 76ers|
|Wall: Wizards equal to Celtics, 76ers, Raptors after LeBron left the East|
|Curry misses cut, finishes last at Web.com Tour event|
|Paul excited to be play with Carmelo in Houston|
|Sixers rookie Zhaire Smith has foot surgery|
|Leonard breaks silence to thank Spurs and Popovich|
|Andre Iguodala supports LeBron James´ decision to join Lakers|
|LeBron James´ Lakers to face Curry´s Warriors on Christmas Day|
|Sixers rookie Smith suffers foot injury|
|Rockets´ Paul donates $2.5m to Wake Forest|
|Adam Silver defends LeBron James after Trump tweet|
|Jordan defends LeBron after Trump remarks|
|NBA players slam Trump over LeBron tweet|
|Whiteside ready to move on after ´great talk´ with Heat|
|Sixers star Embiid wants to win NBA MVP next season|
|LeBron James: President Trump using sports to divide us|
|Basketball Australia will not appeal FIBA sanctions for Philippines brawl|
|Rivers gives advice to Bronny James: Don´t focus on being your father LeBron|
|LeBron: Lakers must think about winning like Yankees and Man United|
|Don´t count LeBron and the Lakers out, says Wade|
|Curry to return to Web.com Tour event in Bay Area|
|Opening new school ´one of the greatest moments´ for LeBron|
|I´ve got my own team to worry about - Kerr not interested in LeBron´s Lakers move|
|´I think the worst we´re going to be is great´ – D´Antoni has faith in Rockets|
|Rockets agree to five-year deal with Capela|
|Irving endured ´long, long two months´ with knee infection|
|LeBron´ new HBO series ´The Shop´ will debut in August|
|LeBron to Lakers ´was the perfect decision´, says Durant|
|Timberwolves´ Butler recovering from hand procedure|
|Lamar Odom says he´ll play in China|
|´Nobody likes a great thing´ - Durant hits back at critics over Cousins´ arrival|
|DeRozan felt disrespected by Toronto Raptors following trade|
|Cavs sign Kevin Love to lucrative four-year extension|
|Nowitzki re-signs with Mavs for 21st season|
|Dwight Howard wants to finish career with Wizards|
|Rockets ´very hopeful´ about re-signing Clint Capela|
|Prospect of Anthony joining Rockets excites Harden|
|JaVale McGee: Lakers are going to be ´one of the most fun teams ever´|
|Raptors GM apologises to DeRozan after Spurs trade|
|´I don´t give a f***´ – Cousins hits back at critics after Warriors move|
|FIBA bans 13 players & two coaches over Philippines-Australia brawl|
|Popovich on Leonard trade: It´s time to move on|
|Kawhi Leonard traded to Raptors as DeMar DeRozan heads to Spurs|
|Lakers´ Ball undergoes successful knee surgery|
|Warriors coach Kerr extends contract|
|Walker doubts he´ll join Knicks, wants ´long´ stay at Hornets|
|Celtics still hoping to re-sign Smart|
|WATCH: LeBron receives standing ovation at Lakers´ summer league game|
|LeBron James will have input on Lakers personnel moves - Johnson|
|Lakers guard Ball to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery|
|Dellavedova praises Australia´s conduct in Philippines brawl|
|Clippers´ West: LeBron wasn´t a tough free-agent signing|
|LeBron will be Lakers´ only guaranteed starter, says GM|
|Curry tells LeBron´s Lakers: You´ve still got to beat us|
|Silver: It’s not bad that the Warriors are so good|
|LeBron James signing a ´historic moment´ for Lakers|
|LeBron James officially signs with Lakers|
|Lue will meet with Walton to discuss James|
|Booker signs max contract extension with Suns|