Corey: Celtics’ Recent Success Due to Marcus Smartby Dylan Corey February 25, 2018 0 comments
I’ll be the first to admit that early on in the season, I doubted how valuable Marcus Smart was to the Boston Celtics.
I fully understood that he played good defense and was extremely tough with a winner’s mentality, but his poor shot selection and overall offensive woes steered me the wrong way.
In the first two games post-All-Star break, Smart made his return from a hand injury dating back to late January.
In the 11 games he was sidelined, Boston went 6-5 and played their worst defense of the season we’ve seen thus far. They gave up record-highs in points allowed twice and conceded first place in the East to the Toronto Raptors.
Now that he’s back, the Celtics have taken down the Detroit Pistons and New York Knicks while looking more and more like the team that won 16-straight. One Boston’s worst qualities have been bench scoring, which Smart has worked on improving and we saw the bench be a huge factor in order to beat Detroit by double-digits.
Boston’s bench outscored Detroit’s reserves, 65-21
— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) February 24, 2018
The Oklahoma State University product has a knack for providing sparks off the bench with hustle plays and lockdown defense, which is an extremely valuable piece for any NBA team to have. His vision and speed combine to make plays like this one:
Smart saw that pass coming from a mile away. pic.twitter.com/upRRDIW8mt
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) February 25, 2018
The 6-foot-4 guard has been helpful on offense recently as well, which is huge if the recent trend continues. During Friday’s matchup with the Pistons, Smart contributed 12 points and 6 assists on 5-of-9 shooting. The next day, he went 4-of-5 from the field and contributed five assists to go with 11 points.
Daniel Theis and Kyrie Irving had fantastic performances as well, but overall the most recent stints are evidence of Smart’s value to the team. His defense, leadership, and relentless effort are exactly what the Celtics needed to get back on track.