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."
|Warriors star Curry sets NBA record|
|Raonic survives four-hour marathon against Wawrinka|
|Osaka powers through to Aus Open third round|
|Irving dominates in Celtics´ win over Raptors|
|Irving called LeBron this week to apologise|
|Ajax star De Jong wants to resolve future ´quickly´|
|Payton on Rams CB Peters: I have great respect for him|
|Rockets star Harden matches Chamberlain with historic performances|
|Nishikori survives Karlovic test in Melbourne|
|Vieira reunion felt really weird - Henry|
|´#BetAgainstUs´ - Edelman and Pats embracing underdog status|
|Van der Vaart: Isco the best player in the world|
|I haven´t seen Guardiola or Klopp do that – Lampard unhappy with Bielsa|
|Real Madrid always play to win, insists Casemiro|
|Royals pitcher Skoglund suspended for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs|
|Ronaldo and Juve celebrate Supercoppa Italiana title with Mayweather|
|We are not going to talk about Morata - Simeone reluctant to discuss striker|
|Madrid weak in Leganes loss, says Solari|
|Bologna and Banvit seal Champions League play-off spots|
|LeBron James to miss Thunder & Rockets games but nearing practice return|
|Leganes 1 Real Madrid 0 (1-3 agg): Isco starts as Solari´s side go through despite defeat|
|NFL playoffs 2019: X-factor for each NFC team|
|Mahomes: Chiefs must not repeat mistakes against Patriots|
|Higuain´s Supercoppa benching due to virus, says Milan boss Gattuso|
|Brown fires back at Arians over ´diva´ comments|
|Stone heading home from West Indies tour with back injury|
|Shazier will continue rehab with intention of playing again|
|That´s why we signed him! Allegri hails Supercoppa match-winner Ronaldo|
|Monaco on worst home run in club´s history after Nice draw|
|Atletico Madrid 3 Girona 3 (4-4 agg): Simeone´s side out on away goals|
|Gregg Williams is Jets´ new defensive coordinator|
|Ronaldo: Supercoppa triumph just the start for Juve|
|Monaco confirm Batshuayi talks|
|You know more than me! Bielsa´s Barcelona research surprised Guardiola|
|Juventus 1 AC Milan 0: Ronaldo heads Bianconeri to Supercoppa glory|
|Kane injury cannot be excuse for Tottenham – Pochettino|
|Woods to open 2019 schedule at Torrey Pines|
|Reported Liverpool target Dabbur to undergo Sevilla medical|
|Lebanon v North Korea: Radulovic calls on players to make history|
|MLS MVP Martinez signs five-year contract with Atlanta|
|WBC set deadline for Wilder-Fury rematch|
|Iran 0 Iraq 0: Team Melli top Group D after dull draw|
|Vietnam 2 Yemen 0: Quang Hai shines to give Golden Dragons hope|
|Bielsa admits to spying on all Leeds´ opponents|
|Valverde open to arrivals amid De Jong tug-of-war|
|Sexton named in Ireland squad for Six Nations openers|
|Higuain benched for Supercoppa Italiana amid Chelsea links|
|De Grandhomme, Latham and Santner back in Black Caps squad|
|Oman v Turkmenistan: Verbeek tells players to ´score as many as possible´|
|Japan v Uzbekistan: Cuper not distracted by potential last-16 opponents|
|Brown desperate for England recall|
|Lowry ties course record in Abu Dhabi|
|James is playing for Bayern future – Kovac|
|Wizards can compete for playoffs in LeBron-less East despite injuries - Brooks|
|Kyrgyzstan 3 Philippines 1: Lux hat-trick gives White Falcons third-place hope|
|South Korea 2 China 0: Son sets the standard as Bento´s men take top spot|
|Saudi Arabia v Qatar: Top spot on the line in Group E|
|Wasps pull off Fekitoa coup|
|Fresh injury woe for Real Madrid defender Vallejo|
|Home sweet home for Wozniacki as Stephens conquers Melbourne demons|
|Nadal: Victory over Ebden a step forward|
|Proteas rest Steyn and De Kock for opening ODIs|
|Nadal and Federer march on as rising stars prosper|
|Barcelona president Bartomeu convinced Valverde will stay|
|Inter forward Keita suffers thigh injury|
|Nadal races into third round with easy Ebden win|
|Kimmich ´perfect´ for Barcelona, says Xavi|
|Richardson and Nabi inspire Renegades´ rout of Sixers|
|This Liverpool isn´t a team of chokers – Mane|
|Central Coast Mariners 2 Melbourne City 1: Late Simon winner ends 10-match losing streak|