Marcus Smart is making things happen for the Celtics – CBS Boston

BOSTON (CBS) – The Marcus Smart experience has been at its full potential this season. The Celtics point guard was amazingly engaging one night when he did all the dirty work in one win, and hugely conflicted and upset the next.

It’s the roller coaster we’ve been on for eight years, one that most accepts a seat a few nights a week. But with Smart’s ability to change a person’s mood like getting over the top of a key, it’s an act that can turn out to be fragile at times. And with Marcus tasked with being Boston’s starting point guard this season, he’s an even easier scapegoat when things don’t go Green’s way.

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And for most of the season, things didn’t go the way the Celtics wanted. A slow start to the season has left them playing against underpowered opponents and losing unwinnable games, or succumbing to the NBA’s bottom tier. Boston had very few losses at the start of the year, and they lost more close matches than they won. There was no bond with the group and they parted ways in the biggest moments.

A lot of the blame was directed at Smart, who is said to be the team’s floor champion. For most of the first half of the season, a large portion of fans wanted to see Smart traded as he qualified for processing late last month, even after he signed a 4-year extension. year in the season.

That concept is ludicrous at the moment, with Smart not only playing the best ball of the season but potentially his career. In his five games since returning from a COVID-19 absence, Smart has done everything the Celtics needed him to: Support attack, hold opponents in defence, and take the lead.

Smart was the unyielding leader Boston needed this past week, and Monday night was perhaps his best example. In Boston’s destructive win over the Heat, Smart scored 16 points from a 6-to-9 shootout, boxing in 4 of his 7 triples, to get 7 assists. He flipped the ball just once and was a 25-plus in 28 minutes of play in C’s 122-92 win over the Heat.

The Heat are a strong team in the area, and the Celtics have a hard time being attacked by that defence. Boston has shooters and killers to destroy an area, they just don’t do it for whatever reason. But Smart succeeded in laying some cracks in Miami D early Monday night; Just look at this stunning feed for Robert Williams for the first round of the game:

The Celtics took the lead on Monday, but let the Heat bounce back in the second quarter with an 18-3 win. When Miami drew 32–32 midway through, Ime Udoka took a break and let his team hear it. His message, according to Smart, is “stop messing around.”

Smart captured that and led Boston in the crucial game 5-0. When the timeout ran out, he fed Jaylen Brown three balls to get the Celtics back into the lead. Seconds later, Smart stepped in front of a bad pass from Max Strus and drove into the field to easily beat. It was one of his two thefts of the evening.

READ MORE: Celtics overcome short serve 122-92

It’s only five points, but it’s an important stretch for the Celtics. Earlier this year, Boston will let the Miami tournament continue to thrive, until hopes of a C-rank appear. That was not the case on Monday. After Brown hit a stunning shot to make Boston 7-0, the Heat were forced to call out time. But the Celtics kept their momentum and took a nine-point lead after halftime.

Boston actually trailed off in the third quarter, trailing Miami by 40-25 in the frame, and Smart, Brown (finished with 29 points) and Jayson Tatum (20 points) once again had to watch the majority of the fourth inning of a season. match from the bench.

Smart’s passing was contagious on Monday, when Boston assisted 24 of their 44 on-field goals. Six players hit doubles as the team won for the ninth time in its last 13 games.

Since returning from the COVID absence, Smart has averaged 9.8 points in 51% shots, with 6.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game. It’s no coincidence that the team has started playing so well when Smart has successfully completed the role of starting point defender. It also comes at a great time, as this is usually the time of year when Tatum takes its game to the next level.

“I loved every bit of it,” Smart said after Monday’s win. “Especially with the adversity we’ve faced this whole season, the ups and downs, the inconsistency. So for us to finally begin to take the right step in the right direction is very important to us – confidence, group wisdom, individual wisdom. It was what we needed and it happened at the right time for us.

“We just need to continue it,” he added.

That’s the Celtics’ problem this year. Whenever they climb a peak, they stumble across a valley. But they’ve probably had four months in Udoka’s system by now (and the coach had four months to figure things out in his first year on the bench) and Smart seems to have lumped it together as a player. way of being a defender of the team’s starting point, with reason for optimism.

It puts Brad Stevens in a precarious position with the deal deadline just over a week away. The president of C.’s basketball team looks like he’s about to be taxed on luxury by the tax team, so he won’t add anything if it puts more money on the books. And up to this point, the Celtics do not have much reason for him to invest in this team.

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But if anything has been cleared up in the last week, it’s not the time to tackle Smart. The Celtics have found their way around, and much of that has to do with Smart finding his way to become the team’s ring champion. Marcus Smart is making things happen for the Celtics – CBS Boston

Dustin Huang

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