BOSTON – “Let it snow,” Marcus Smart hummed Saturday morning, brushing the sticky inches of frost from his windshield.
As every layer of dust piled onto the Boston streets, Smart could feel his three-point shot getting stronger and stronger. By the time everyone slid their way to the Garden, The Cobra was already locked and loaded.
The result was another snow day to remember in the Celtics’ 117-108 win over the New Orleans Pelicans, as he hit 5 threes for the first time since the original snow day run nearly a year ago. He helped the Celtics hit 18 threes, extending their streak of 17+ three-point performances to four games. One more game and they will tie this year’s Rockets for the NBA record.
Perhaps it was the barometric pressure, or the adrenaline rush of skidding block by block on the drive in, but Smart was as locked in as ever in the first half against the Pelicans.
It was Smart’s second career 20-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game per Basketball Reference, but it was his incredible defensive efforts picking up Anthony Davis in the post that truly marked his impact.
The Celtics eventually opened up a huge lead in the third quarter, hitting 20 at one point. The Pelicans clawed their way back in, but in the fourth quarter, Isaiah Thomas took over. His 17 fourth-quarter points kept a furious Pelicans comeback at bay, as Davis’s 36-point and 15-rebound performance was stuck on the shore with Langston Gallioway’s 20 points. Thomas finished with 38, his 10th game with at least 30 points this season.
Donatas Motiejunas made his long awaited return to the NBA for the Pels. Before the game, coach Alvin Gentry said he would like to see D-Mo work his post-up game, but also hit some open threes. It was a long-winded way of saying that it would be nice if Motiejunas was a semblance of the player he was in Houston.
Sure enough, D-Mo opened his Pelicans account by hitting an open three from the top of the key, and then scored on the very next possession. Just to make his coach happy, he got Smart in a post-up and flicked home a hook from the block. He seemed to be the only Pelican that realized the only way to score on Smart is to shoot over him. It was a solid return for a player whose rightful place in the league hung in purgatory for too long.