Marcus Smart Issues Rallying Cry to Celtics Teammates

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

Getty Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics

Marcus Smart isn’t one to rest on his laurels, and it would seem he’s holding his Boston Celtics teammates to similar standards.

Last season, the Celtics were the best defensive team in the NBA, yet to start this year, they rank 24th in the league after four games – a far cry from what both the team, and its fans have become used to. Speaking to the media on October 28, Smart issued a rallying cry to his teammates, noting how all the tools are in place for the Celtics to quickly revert back to their stringent ways.

“Start defending like we used to, literally that’s it. We’ve got all the tools. We know what it takes. We know the mindset we have to have. We’ve just gotta go do it. We’re adjusting, obviously without Rob (Williams) but that’s never stopped us before. Even more than ever, without Rob, that mindset and mentality have to become even greater of a detail for us to focus on,” Smart said.

The Celtics are set to face the 3-1 Cleveland Cavaliers on October 28 and will be looking to get back into the win column at the first time of asking following their loss to the Chicago Bulls on October 24.

Smarts Speaks Out on Grant Williams’ Suspension

Boston will be forced to face Cleveland without Grant Williams, as he serves a one-game suspension following his ejection against the Bulls. During Smart’s media availability, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year shared his thoughts on Williams’ league-enforced absence for the Celtics’ upcoming game. 

“Be you. That’s Grant. Grant does a pretty good job of challenging it. That was the first time I’ve really ever seen Grant get into that mode. We’ve seen Grant get hot a lot. Get very emotional. But to that standpoint, to where he accidentally, inadvertently hit someone? And then that someone was an official? We’ve never seen that.

But I don’t know how you control that. It’s inadvertent. It’s an accident. Nobody’s trying to hit anybody. We get hit all the time inadvertently by officials, and nothing happens. I don’t know. It’s tough in that situation. But Grant knows and understands that we need him on the court. So, as much as he can, try to control it on the court. Off the court, you can let it out as much as you can, but on the court, we need you,” Smart said.

Williams has been an important member of the Celtics rotation to begin the season, averaging 24.8 minutes of gameplay per night and pitching in with averages of 9.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 66.7% from deep and 80% from two-point range.

Williams Accepts His Suspension

On October 27, Williams spoke to the media for the first time since the NBA announced his suspension and noted his acceptance of the punishment and how he understands the mistake he’s made.

“Disappointed for sure. I was more so disappointed about missing the game. It’s definitely one of those things which you never want to let your team down, and I felt like I did…When it comes to punishment, it’s just for sure. I made a mistake. So for me, it’s something I probably won’t challenge. Especially the fact that one, it’s a female referee, and two, it’s not something that we want our players to be doing in the league. So no matter if it was inadvertent or not, I gotta be better,” Williams said.

Hopefully, the Celtics can stay afloat without their versatile forward tonight, but it will mean that head coach Joe Mazzulla will have to go deeper into his rotation than what we’ve seen so far, and his decisions on minutes distribution will be an interesting subplot to watch unfold.

Still, if Boston wins against the Cavaliers, they will move to 4-1 on the season, and continue to prove why everyone has them earmarked as legitimate championship contenders.