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FutureStarrMarcus Smart Assists Last Game
Marcus Smart has been the most dynamic point guard in the NBA this season. The Flower Mound native has been reminiscent of Boston's former Rajon Rondo/Paul Pierce partnership with his unparalleled basketball intelligence and court vision.
In his last game against New York, he recorded 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, two blocks and one steal in 34 minutes - marking his best all-around performance of the season thus far.
Last night, Marcus Smart had an outstanding night - nine points, seven rebounds, six assists and six steals in 29 minutes. Additionally, he added a triple to his stat line and was one of Boston's standout defensive players.
After an 11-game absence, Smart returned to the lineup and earned himself a place in the starting five for this match against the Pistons. He missed Monday's loss to the Knicks with an ankle injury but wasn't on Boston's minutes limit for this game. According to Souichi Terada of The Springfield Republican, Smart will likely see plenty of playing time Wednesday against Detroit as part of their starting lineup.
Young Smart experienced a difficult environment as a child, surrounded by difficult people. Fortunately, his parents, Camellia and Billy Frank Smart, were there for him; teaching him how to overcome these negative influences.
Smart was selected sixth overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by Boston and quickly earned himself a place of honor on their team. He has become a beloved figure among Bostonians, providing them with valuable contributions on both ends of the floor while always looking to help his teammates out when necessary. Smart will remain an important player for years to come for years to come and is sure to remain an invaluable part of their future success.
He is a hustle player and contributes significantly to the defense of the Celtics, making him an invaluable asset. Over his career, he has averaged 1.5 steals per game and will continue doing so while playing for Boston.
The Celtics have found their defensive identity after some early season struggles. Their 110.9 defensive rating ranks seventh in the league, just 0.2 points outside of the top five. With Robert Williams back on board, these numbers should continue to improve with him in the lineup.
Smart had an impressive game upon returning from injury in 26 minutes against the Pistons. He finished with nine points, seven rebounds, six assists, a triple and six steals while being one of the most efficient players on offense with 55.8% shooting percentage and 48.6% from three-point range.
Smart has grown into a leader on the offense, giving more responsibility to other players. He has been an impressive asset for the Celtics throughout this postseason as they look for another victory.
His passing skills have developed with age, as he has grown more trustful of his teammates and understands possessions before they occur. Leading the offense has allowed the Celtics to score at an impressive rate and shoot well from beyond the arc, making him a crucial component in their success this season.
Smart has demonstrated remarkable improvement this season, as he's currently averaging 13.3 points and 3.3 rebounds in his last three games. His efficiency is on fire, and he plays with an infectious enthusiasm on the court.
The Celtics put up an impressive 140 points, their highest total of the season. Additionally, they scored 46 points in the opening quarter - their highest total since December 2008. This dominating display of offense ultimately led to a 127-109 win against the Pistons.
Marcus Smart returned to the Boston lineup after missing 11 games with a sprained ankle, and made an immediate impact. He was an immense force on both ends of the court, helping lead Boston's offense while wrecking Detroit's.
On Wednesday night at TD Garden, Smart not only scored nine points but also grabbed seven rebounds, passed out six assists and stole six steals. He had some key sequences throughout the first quarter - including a layup followed by a defensive rebound and 27-foot 3-pointer that gave Boston an 18-point lead.
Boston Celtics (27-10) will face off against Detroit Pistons (19-37) in their final game before the All-Star break. The Celtics have won five of their last seven meetings with Detroit, and hope to extend that streak this time around.
Detroit has lost four of its last six games and is in last place in the Eastern Conference standings. They are averaging 14.4 turnovers per game this season, and opponents are scoring an average of 120 points per game in half-court possessions - leading to increased pressure in the paint this year.
Boston is led by Jayson Tatum, who ranks sixth in the NBA in scoring with 30.5 points per game. Additionally, he averages 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
He's further assisted by Marcus Smart, who ranks eighth in the league with 3.4 three-pointers made per game. Additionally, Isaiah Stewart and Cade Cunningham provide additional scoring and help on the glass.
The Celtics shot well from beyond the arc against Detroit, connecting on 50% of their shots in the first half and hitting eight of 10 attempts in the third quarter. Additionally, they hit three of their final five attempts in the fourth quarter to help secure a 127-109 victory and keep Detroit off balance.
On a great night for Boston, they welcomed back their starting five and received an immense boost from Al Horford's return. He had one of his best games this season against Detroit, finishing with 17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.
Despite losing Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum to injuries, the Celtics were still able to secure victories on the road and enter the All-Star break with a 3-2 record. That puts them one half game ahead of Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference standings.
Boston returned their starting lineup, as well as some much needed depth. While injured stars Danilo Gallinari and Luke Kornet remain sidelined, the latter was added to the injury list after leaving Friday's game with a sprained ankle.
Though the loss of Smart and Tatum will be felt, the Celtics should be able to handle additional pressure without them on Wednesday against the Pistons. They need to play with energy and effort from both ends of the floor - something which was lacking in their previous game against Phoenix.
In addition to playing with more effort and energy, the Celtics must guarantee that every player on the floor gets a chance to perform at their peak performance. If not, Detroit will have no trouble winning this one easily.