Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics had an unobstructed lane for an easy fast-break goal.
Then he flubbed a layup after unnecessarily moving the ball behind his back. He got the ball again a minute later and nailed an amazing circus shot from below the backboard on the baseline. He also drew a foul.
On Thursday night, it was the Marcus Smart Experience in a nutshell: sometimes unpleasant, sometimes hilarious, but always profound. Smart recorded 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 12 assists in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference playoffs, which the Celtics won 127-102 to tie the best-of-seven series. In one of the better postseason outings of his career, he just had one turnover.
Boston Celtics Defeated Miami Heats
Even while his accomplishments on the defensive end of the court — he was voted the NBA‘s defensive player of the year — garner the most attention, he’s evolved as a steady, consistent point guard who can more than properly manage Boston’s offense.
Smart was out of the series opener on Tuesday due to a foot strain, and his absence was noticeable. When Smart’s abilities at calming the offense and anchoring the defense might have altered the game in the third quarter, the Celtics imploded.
Smart had an impact on the game right from the start on Thursday. Smart’s tough cross-court pass to shooting guard Jaylen Brown gave the Celtics their first lead. Smart responded with a more difficult-than-it-looked alley-oop to center Robert Williams III. Smart, on the other hand, went 2 for 11 from the field in the first half. For most players, this would indicate poor performance. Smart, on the other hand, was one of the greatest players on the court, with seven assists and no turnovers. With Smart on the floor, the Celtics lead by 25 points at halftime and had outperformed the Heat by 26 points.