We’ve seen Marcus Smart grow into an impactful point guard for the Boston Celtics throughout the current NBA season, improving his playmaking and cutting back on ill-advised shot attempts.
But, on May 19, against the Miami Heat in the second game of the Eastern Conference Finals, Celtics fans got a reminder of how much Smart has improved this year, as he came back from injury to help lead his team towards a blow-out 127-102 victory.
Smart was arguably the most impactful player on the floor during the second game between Boston and Miami. He provided his team with exceptional scoring and playmaking while he also contained Jimmy Butler – the Heat’s most potent offensive weapon.
With such an all-action display, it’s no surprise that Smart began to receive praise for his performance, with the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young leading the way, Tweeting, ” Marcus Smart makes a huge difference for them! He Hoopin.”
Smart ended game two with 24 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot, along with six deflections and two loose ball recoveries, all while shooting 36.4% from the field and 41.7% from deep.
Smart Makes All-Defensive First Team
After winning the Defensive Player of the Year award, Smart was a shoo-in to make an All-NBA team, and on May 20, the Celtics guard was confirmed as one of the guards to make the All-NBA Defensive First Team, as confirmed by the Boston Celtics.
Robert Williams also made an All-NBA team and was placed on the Defensive second team due to his stellar season as a rim protector and shot deterrent. The Celtics finished the regular season as the best defensive team in the league, and with two of their players making a prestigious All-NBA team, it proves the team is trending in the right direction.
Udoka Praises Smart’s Performance
Following Boston’s demolition of the Heat, head coach Ime Udoka spoke glowingly of his starting point guard, noting how his defensive intensity changed the Celtics’ approach to the game.
“He sets the tone; he’s the Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. Ability to switch and switch onto bigger bodies, another good defender to throw at Butler, Adebayo, and those guys and not have to worry about them picking on certain matchups.
He brings the physicality every night; he kind of gets everybody else in line. And having Al back there as well, he’s another versatile guy. It wasn’t surprising to see how well we guarded with our guys back (in the rotation),” Udoka told the media shortly after Boston’s game two win.
Smart is widely considered to be the heartbeat of the Celtics, and with his current performance level, it’s easy to see why. The 28-year-old has become one of the better playmaking guards in the NBA, can defend every position on the floor, and has become a reliable shooter off the catch, and the Celtics have been reaping the rewards for trusting him in such a pivotal role.
Now, Boston will look to take the series lead against Miami as the two teams face off at the TD Garden on May 21 at 8:30 pm Eastern Time.