When speaking to the media following the game, interim head coach Joe Mazzulla credited Marcus Smart’s play as a core reason behind Boston’s victory over the Bucks, as the guard helped orchestrate his team’s offense and defense throughout the contest.
“He only took four shots, and I thought he was one of the more impactful players on the floor because of his poise and his ability to see the floor. He gets our guys open, he gets us organized and where the matchup is and what action we’re going to use to create the advantage. So, I think his play has gone unnoticed because of how poised he’s playing. He’s doing a great job,” Mazzulla said.
Smart has been playing at a career-high level this season, averaging 11.4 points, 7.4 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 54% from two-point range, and 34.4% from deep.
Jayson Tatum ‘Loves’ Being In Boston
Smart’s ability to read and react certainly set the tone for the Celtics, but you cannot ignore Jayson Tatum’s 41-point explosion as another reason why Boston overcame Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks on December 25.
During his own post-game press conference, Tatum discussed his performance, his place in the team’s history, and why he loves being part of such a storied franchise.
“It’s hard to think in the moment, at 24, that I have a place in Celtics history. But, it’s definitely an honor. I’ve said that many a times how much I love being here and what it means to play on Christmas. You know, the sixth year in a row, and it’s something I never want to take for granted,” Tatum said.
Tatum has been in exceptional form for the Celtics this season, putting himself into early MVP discussions and leading his team by example. In his 32 games so far, the St. Louis native is averaging 30.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game on 47.7% shooting from the field and 35.6% shooting from deep.
Jaylen Brown Addresses Confrontation With Giannis
Early in the fourth quarter, Jaylen Brown and Giannis got into a heated exchange after the Bucks superstar reacted to some physical defense, leading the pair to go face-to-face and resulting in a technical foul for Giannis.
When speaking to the media following the game, Brown shed some light on his thought process at that moment.
“I’m not really sure what happened…I thought I was playing pretty physical defense. Nothing dirty. Seemed like it was a clean play. Maybe he was a little bit frustrated, got up, and threw an elbow at me for whatever reason. It was a lot of chirping and talking in between,” Brown said.
Luckily, neither Brown nor Giannis was ejected, and the game continued without further issues, ensuring that both Boston and Milwaukee fans got to see the final quarter be played at a high level.
The Celtics have now won their last two games and look to have snapped out of their recent slump, and will now turn their focus toward the Houston Rockets, who they face on Tuesday, December 27.