The Celtics trailed early in the first half by eight against the Heat and Jayson Tatum went scoreless, missing all five shots. Marcus Smart initially labored too, failing to convert on three open looks behind the arc in the opening frame and tossing a pass away in traffic.
He made up for it all in the second half, leading a defensive effort where the Celtics forced 10 turnovers and 3-of-13 shooting by Miami. Smart reached the lane twice for four free throws and another time for a floater, but the two plays around his cutting make had to be the Smart plays of the night.
Smart hit a cutting floater then forced back to back turnovers. pic.twitter.com/z3Dh38DZqe— Bobby Manning (@RealBobManning) November 5, 2021
Credit Aaron Nesmith for at least three hustle plays that would qualify for the Smart play of the night in their own right. It’s refreshing to see some defensive consistency strung together over the last two nights, including noticeable progress in the switching scheme. Two young players in Romeo Langford and Nesmith factored heavily into the defensive uptick.
Last time we awarded this, the night didn’t end so pleasantly for the Celtics or Smart, so we do so knowing the risks.