For Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens, inconsistencies on defense — a trait that admittingly keeps Brad up at night — is a big reason why the Celtics fell to the Detroit Pistons, 108-102, Friday night at TD Garden.
It also tops the list of reasons why Boston has now surrendered five of its last seven games. Celtics’ Marcus Smart, who delivered an update on the left calf injury he suffered two weeks back, says he’s feeling better, day-by-day.
However, Smart says no timetable’s been set for his return.
“I’m feeling good. Each day, I’m feeling better,” Smart said prior to Friday’s game against the Pistons. “Obviously, I’m nowhere near to where we want to be to coming back. But, we knew that. We’re really just taking it slow, taking it day-by-day. There’s no real timeline I can give, like I said we’re taking it day-by-day. It’s only been 14 days. So, my body is definitely healing the way that we expected it to but it’s definitely going to take some time. We rather be safe than sorry.”
Simultaneously releasing a sigh of relief a couple of weeks back, Celtics fans were happy to learn Smart’s injured left calf hadn’t extended beyond a Grade I tear.
From the outset, it appeared Marcus had collided with Los Angeles Clippers Montrezl Harrell, however, Smart corrected that notion Friday.
Marcus Smart: ‘I’m Blessed That It Was Nothing Worse’
Marcus says he never made contact with Harrell.
“Montrezl (Harrell) actually did not touch me at all,” Smart explained. “When I stepped back with my left foot after blocking the original shot by Montrezl when I went to gather, I planted and put all of the pressure to jump; my calf literally popped. I felt it. I heard it. And then when I stepped forward to jump, and when I went to plant to jump up to try to contest his shot, technically, it popped again. And that pop just sent this burning, painful sensation down my whole leg. So, thank God it wasn’t my Achilles or anything worse. I’m thankful for that.
“It still hurts like hell but, like I said, I’m blessed that it was nothing worse.”
Relieved by the severity of his calf injury, Smart knows he’s fortunate. But, it doesn’t help the Celtics mend their current defensive efficiencies.
Marcus Smart: The Whole Process, It Takes Time’
Playing without its NBA All-Defensive guard, Boston struggled to contain Pistons rookie Saddiq Bey, who led with 30 points, including a perfect 7-of-7 from behind the arc and his dagger that found the bottom of the net with 38.7 seconds left to play (101-95) in the final frame of Friday’s loss.
Jayson Tatum led Boston with a team-high 33 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists. But the Celtics are still missing Smart.
“It’s tough because being hurt — the whole process — it takes time,” Smart added. “As a player, as a competitor, you obviously want it to be faster but it doesn’t happen that way. You have to listen to your body and let it do what it does. So, in that aspect, that’s what I mean, it’s not where I want to personally be, but we are making great strides.”