It was an absolutely heartbreaking Game 6 loss in double overtime that now evens the series up at three games a piece. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Kemba Walker all played over 51 minutes with Marcus Smart logging over 49 minutes and Daniel Theis with just over 47 minutes on the court. However, one big takeaway that was unfortunately wasted in the loss was Marcus Smart having one of his best post-season performances with a complete game triple-double.
Smart was the most consistent player on the floor. He finished the game with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists which was the Boston Celtics’ first playoff triple-double since Rajon Rondo in 2012.
To start the game, he fired up the offense scoring the first 9 points on three consecutive three-point makes. Then, he played disciplined basketball learning his lessons from some of his turnover woes from the first few games. He only had two turnovers to his ten assists.
When the Celtics needed a bucket, Smart answered the call. He lives for that corner three-pointer and buried this one here at the perfect moment in double overtime.
Early in his career--and heck even just last year--Smart would have never been able to up-fake, side-step, compose himself, and then drill a three-point basket. Now, this is his go-to move in the corner. Smart has gotten so much better as a three-point shooter which was not fully expected in his development. It fits this Celtics offense well and has given the team a great boost with Gordon Hayward still out with an injury.
It cannot be stated enough; he just made the correct play on most of his possessions that were a struggle for him in Games 3 and 4. It is the confidence and swagger that Smart plays with that stands out in strong performances like this.
Both of these passes are not expected by Smart. They were both forward looking, high IQ plays that showed an understanding of the missteps in the defense. Smart caught Marc Gasol in no man’s land after he got around Pascal Siakam and found Daniel Theis cutting to the basket for an easy layup. Then, Smart made a cross court pass perfectly to Theis after watching OG Anunoby trying to jump the entry pass to Tatum. Both were great reads that got the Celtics an easy basket.
By now, everyone knows Smart for his defense, but this Game 6 offensive performance from him had to be highlighted even in a tough loss. He is the versatile player that every team wants that brings the intangibles that aren’t always seen in the stat sheet. However, even with the offense being the focus, I had to include at least one First Team All-Defense clip.
At the end of the day, the popular opinion of Marcus Smart comes from his flopping and dramatics, but he will always have his team’s back when going into battle. He wears his heart on his sleeve and will do everything for the win. Smart also understands how bad some of these officials are, so he takes advantage of the circumstances (it’s ok, Kyle Lowry does the same thing). It will make some people angry, but it is also what makes Boston love Marcus Smart.
Game 7 is Friday night, and Smart is going to have to find that intensity once again with the season on the line. These are the games Marcus Smart lives for, so let’s see what he can bring to a team in a win-or-go-home situation.