Celtics’ Ime Udoka Reacts to Marcus Smart’s Poor Shooting

Getty Images Marcus Smart the Celtics looks on from the bench during the fourth quarter of the Celtics home opener against the Raptors at TD Garden

Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka addressed Marcus Smart’s early regular-season shooting woes, after practice, Friday as the team prepares to take on the Washington Wizards in a rematch at the nation’s capital without its starting point guard.

The first-year coach addressed Smart status for Saturday’s game from the beginning of his media availability.

“Marcus will not be going (to D.C.). He’s feeling ill,” Udoka said. “It’s non-COVID related, just feeling under the weather and he won’t be traveling with us.”

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Earlier this week, Smart felt sick prior to the Celtics’ overtime against the Charlotte Hornets. Marcus finished with five assists, three blocks, and one steal in the 140-129 win in overtime but went 3-of-12 from the floor, including 1-of-9 from behind the arc en route to seven points.

Ime Udoka On Marcus Smart’s Shooting: ‘I’m Not Worried’

Outside of a scoreless 0-of-6 effort in a 115-83 blowout loss to the Toronto Raptors, Smart turned in his worst in his last outing against the Wizards — where he scored seven points on 1-of-7, including 1-of-5 from behind the 3-point arc.

“The thing that I’m not worried about is, it’s all going to balance out. Those shots are going to balance out, he’s getting great looks and teammates are finding him,” Udoka said. “It’s just, he’s had a slow start — which a lot of guys have had this year or in the past, in general, guys have those. So, as long as he’s taking the high-quality shots, the open shot, we have no problem with it. He’s been a proven guy that’s done it, hit some big shots late in-game in Charlotte and in Houston and in the past. I’ve been a part of that when he went 5-for-7 against us in the past.”

Averaging 7.4 points, Smart is shooting at a 25.5% clip from the floor, and that percentage dips to 23.5% from behind the 3-point arc, per Basketball-Reference.com, this season. Still, Udoka isn’t concerned over Smart’s shooting.

Because of the open looks he’s seen on the floor, Ime’s certain things will turn around for Marcus.

“I know he’s a guy who can make those shots,” Udoka added. “Be confident, take the right shot. We have no problem with it because guys are making the extra pass and we talk about you draw two bodies and get off the ball, and they’ve done that. We just happen to miss some and so have other guys. But, we’re not worried about that. It’ll all balance out. We’re shooting OK, could definitely shoot a lot better and I think it’ll all balance out soon.”

Celtics’ Aaron Nesmith Questionable Vs. Wizards

Celtics second-year forward Aaron Nesmith is also feeling ill. Udoka revealed Nesmith will, however, be making the trip to Washington D.C., his status will likely be a game-time decision for Saturday.

“Aaron Nesmith’s feeling a little ill he’s probably going to travel and we’ll see how he feels tomorrow,” Udoka said Friday. “As of right now, he didn’t practice today.”