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Marcus Smart's flop shouldn't overshadow his Game 3 performance

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

BOSTON -- Twitter is still giggling after Kyle Korver tapped Marcus Smart, who was sent soaring into outer space in the Celtics 111-103 win over the Hawks. Of course, Korver doesn't have Superman-like strength. Smart simply flopped as an attempt to draw what would've been a crucial foul call (at the time of that play, Korver had five fouls). But the refs didn't take the bait, and the NBA fined Smart $5,000 for the flop.

And that's a real shame, because Smart was spectacular in the win. Please click here to read my full article on Smart's performance. Here's a quick snippet:

Marcus Smart's flop shouldn't overshadow his Game 3 performance
Smart was all over the floor from start to finish, like a magnet with an attraction to action.

The 22 year old guard scored an efficient 11 points, with five assists and four rebounds. He played lockdown defense on a number of different Hawks players, and his energy was contagious to his Celtics teammates.

"When Marcus Smart is out there, the defensive energy he brings is kind of contagious," Hawks wing Kent Bazemore told reporters after the game. "And tonight, like I said, the energy from them was much different, and they ramped it up. They definitely took their game to another level and flied around. The block [Smart] had in transition on Al [Horford] was huge. Those are plays that win games."

Here's the play Bazemore referenced.

If Smart ever makes that type of play in the NBA Finals, it'll be a highlight shown in Celtics videos forever.

Smart also did a terrific job facilitating the ball, with five assists and a handful of hockey assists. I asked Brad Stevens after the game about Smart's progress as a passer, and here's what he said:

"I think that his ability to run pick-and-rolls and his ability to make passes and kick across or have an act and finish are all improving. And he's worked hard on them; that was probably what he worked the hardest on in the off-season, along with his shooting, which I think will continue to improve in both of those areas. But I thought he did a good job, and it helps when the other point guard makes a couple threes too. You know, Terry (Rozier) came in and gave us great minutes again, so that's a real positive when you look at you've got two guys under 22 making big plays in big moments."

Stevens often goes out of his way to mention Smart's youth, I believe because he's aware that Smart gets criticized for some of his mistakes.

But Smart is just 22 and in the second season of his career. He's improving at a rapid pace for the Celtics, and it will take more time for his weaknesses to get ironed out. His strengths from college have translated and are now being enhanced in the NBA. And he's doing it in huge playoff moments for the Celtics. Seriously, what more can you really expect?

Please click here to read the full article, and then comment below with your thoughts on Smart's performance against the Hawks.

Contact me on Facebook and Twitter @KevinOConnorNBA. Do you like the NBA Draft? My 2016 NBA Draft Guide can be ordered here.

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