That was fun! (Keith P. Smith): Disclaimer: Nothing I am about to write is meant to discredit Isaiah Thomas at all. I think IT is important to the Celtics getting to the level they hope to ultimately get to. And he's every bit of an All-Star.
That said, that was fun! I said at halftime that Law of Averages would probably kick in and the Celtics would shoot better and the Magic would shoot worse. I had no idea they would outscore Orlando by 31 points and defend their butts off, all while attacking the rim repeatedly.
To keep it short and simple, when you attack on both ends of the floor, everything is easier. And it is a lot more fun. Multiple Celtics were up and cheering after every play. And in the locker room the team talked about how much fun they had tonight. Big dunks, blocks and steals will do that for you.
I think Evan Fournier said it best: "It is like they have three point guards. Everyone can pass, everyone can shoot, the ball movement is great." That is high praise from an opponent you just decimated at home.
For one night without IT, everything worked. It probably won't happen all the time, and it isn't quite Paris, but we'll always have Orlando.
Snakes in the passing lane (Bill Sy): With Isaiah Thomas back in Boston nursing a pulled groin, all eyes were on Marcus Smart taking the reigns as the starting point guard. He was impressive and finished with an efficient 13 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists, but it was what The Cobra brought on defense that made the difference last night (and every night).
Keith Smith was at the game last night and e-mailed us at halftime: “Seeing Smart's D in person when you can see the entire floor is crazy. No pun intended, but he might be on the smartest defensive players I've ever seen. He just makes plays no one else would even try.”
Those are just the highlights. Smart seems to strike like that two or three times a game, but it’s the presence and threat of The Cobra on every play that makes Marcus dangerous. In that sense, he’s more like a boa constrictor. When he switches onto taller players, he gets low and changes his center of gravity. When he works around a screen, he invites contact, turns the screener into a hinge, and swings around the pick like a pelota in a jai alai cesta. And yes, when he’s trying to sell a call, he’ll flop.