It’s no question that the Celtics have been lead by Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, and Jaylen Brown all season long. For these three to all average over 20 points per game, it really lifts the Celtics in a very impactful way and they’ll need their leaders to keep the momentum going as the season ends. But the one person who can importantly impact the Celtics in the playoffs is the guy who is gritty and can make a winning play at any time: Marcus Smart.
Marcus Smart isn’t everyone’s first option as an important piece to a championship team. But his presence on the floor is big for the Celtics against other elite teams. Smart has been in the NBA for 6 years now and has been through many wars and battle through the course of his career. He has been to the playoffs every year in his career and has the most experience in the postseason on his entire team.
Smart has been solid for Boston this season. Everyone knows how much of a pest he can be on the defensive end. But when he is making shots on the offensive end, it gives this squad a boost during the game and they are nearly unstoppable when Smart is knocking down shots from the perimeter. If Smart brings the same energy on offense as he does on defense, the Celtics can easily be favorites to go far in the playoffs.
Smart this season is averaging 12.6 points along with 5 assist for Boston. His field goal percentage is still a work in progress as he shoots 38%, but the more Smart gets involved on offense the more confident he gets. Smart has displayed games this season where he can get hot from beyond the arc and provide much scoring for this Boston team. It benefits guys in Tatum, Walker, and Brown when Smart is making shots because it takes the pressure off those guys to carry the offense at times.
One of Smart’s great offensive games was on January 18th against the Phoenix Suns. Although Phoenix has been a bad defensive team, it still gave Smart the opportunity to get involved and drain shots. Smart drilled 11 three pointers and torched Phoenix for 37 points for Boston that game. Despite the performance being in a losing effort, Smart’s contribution was what kept Boston in the game and it was very much needed to stay alive.
Another one of Smart’s offensive performances was on February 13th against the Los Angeles Clippers. Now, the Clippers are a much tougher test than Phoenix due to being title favorites to many insiders around the league.
Smart scored 31 points and shot 50% from the field. His defense was important in key stretches of the game as well. The Celtics would go on to defeat the Clippers with Smart being a huge factor throughout the game.
The thing is when Smart is involved in the offense, Boston can be dangerous. He makes everyone on the floor better and makes all the winning plays that his team needs. It would be crazy for Brad Stevens not to play him in key moments during the playoffs. With Smart on the floor in crunch time, it can take Boston to another level.
Boston is going to have a tough test in the playoffs. With Milwaukee and Toronto ahead of them in the East, it will be interesting to see how this team can contain two dominant franchises and see if they can make it past them en route to an NBA Finals appearance.
Marcus Smart will hopefully continue his improved shooting headed into the playoffs. He has the potential to be a huge piece that the Celtics need on the floor in the playoffs. If he is locked in and focused with the rest of the guys, things can possibly go in Boston’s favor during the postseason.