Against LaMelo Ball and the Charlotte Hornets, the Boston Celtics captured their second win of the young season — which didn’t come easy for Marcus Smart, who revealed what was hindering his lackluster performance after an overtime win, Monday night.
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With 3:27 left to play in regulation (119-114), Boston dug itself out of a five-point deficit by stringing together defensive stops and scoring points in a hurry. However, for Smart, who struggled offensively — 3-of-12 attempts from the floor, including making only one of nine 3-point attempts — the turning point happened in the third quarter.
Hornets’ LaMelo Ball Crosses Up Marcus Smart
Marcus, who was feeling under the weather throughout the day, almost didn’t play at Charlotte, Monday after vomiting and feeling lightheaded throughout the morning. But he powered through.
And Ball, who tied Miles Bridges with a game-high 25 points for the Hornets, made a showstopping play with Smart on his hip before LaMelo sent him in the opposite direction off-the-dribble and drained a stepback 3.
“It happens,” Smart said addressing the move after the Celtics’ win, Monday. “It happens, I’m a defender. Just like a shot blocker, you are going to get dunked on a few times. All he did was make a good move and stopped. I was out there struggling my damn self. As we know, the player I am, I’m going to make up for it and I did it twice.”
Smart Tells Ball: Get House of Highlights, We Got The Win
Ball finished the fourth quarter and overtime periods a combined 2-for-6 from the floor, along with a pair of turnovers. But, most importantly, for Smart and Celtics head coach Ime Udoka, Boston added another ‘W’ to its win column.
“We came out with the win and that’s all that matters,” Smart added. “He’s going to get all the overtime House of Highlights, Sportscenter, and all that but we got the win and that’s all that matters.”
Jayson Tatum led with a game-high 41 points on 14-of-28 field goal attempts, including 6-of-12 from behind the arc while Jaylen Brown added 30 points on 12-of-20. Starting center Robert Williams recorded a double-double (12 points, 16 rebounds).
Ball drained a game-high seven 3-pointers. He also finished with nine assists, five rebounds, and six turnovers.
“He’s a good player, he’s a really good player,” Smart said of Ball after the win. “He has the freedom that a lot of players don’t have early on in their career and that’s to just come in and do whatever you want. When you have freedom like that and you are a good player, that makes you look even better. You top your hat off to them. He’s only going to continue to get better and help that team.”
The Celtics (2-2) will attempt to grab their third win Wednesday night when they host the Washington Wizards at TD Garden.