On this episode, the First to the Floor guys are joined by Barstool Sports’ Dan Greenburg, aka Greenie, to talk about the Raps win, the most stressful parts of every Celtics game, and, most importantly, Marcus Smart. This probably isn’t news, but Smart is having the best season of his career. He’s averaging 12 points, 3 rebounds, and a gaudy 7.6 assists per game. After a slip on the defensive end to start the season, he’s back to picking pockets, bullying bigs, and commanding the floor.
The stats bear this out pretty clearly. He’s at career highs in the following stats: field goal percentage, true shooting, effective field goal percentage, assists per game, assist/turnover ratio, and assist percentage. Those stats range from extremely important to critically important for a starting point guard. For the first time in his career, he finds himself in the top-10 in the NBA in assists per game. Despite being firmly in the middle of his prime at age 28, Smart has taken another jump as a player.
At no point has that jump been clearer than the 3rd quarter of the Raptors-Celtics game on Monday night. Toronto was firmly in control of the game through the second quarter, pushing their lead to 13 before the Celtics whittled it to 6 at half. Then, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum took over, 3 for 4 from the floor, 4 assists, 1 steal, zero turnovers, and a +17 — not a bad 12 minutes of game time. We got vintage Marcus in every way possible, whether it was diming up Jaylen on a broken play:
Sequence of the game? DWhite elite on ball D vs VanVleet. Bench goes crazy for the Blake rebound. Flow into some drive and kick. Smart dumpoff to Jaylen for the dunk. 13-3 run. Timeout Toronto. https://t.co/WxibsvS0kv pic.twitter.com/MdiUII3gHb— Jake Issenberg (@jakeissenberg) December 6, 2022
Running a picture-perfect pick-and-roll with Tatum:
Tatum Smart pnr - unstoppable as always. pic.twitter.com/f8UeBBUXGT— Jake Issenberg (@jakeissenberg) December 6, 2022
Using his patience and craftiness for an easy 2 and then drawing a charge on the other end:
To close the quarter. Smart cooks VanVleet and Siakam for the layup. Then draws he draws the charge on the other end. Caps a 35-18 quarter. On a b2b, no Al, no Brogdon, no Rob. Incredible stuff from the fellas. pic.twitter.com/Rxi9Rv2qU3— Jake Issenberg (@jakeissenberg) December 6, 2022
And of course, an ill-advised step back three that somehow goes down:
Lol Marcus. Time to take your ball and go home Toronto. pic.twitter.com/NCFG53fw3v— Jake Issenberg (@jakeissenberg) December 6, 2022
Any controversy surrounding the Celtics in the last few years usually centered around Marcus. Whether it was punching a picture frame out of frustration and nearly ending his career or calling out the Jays for not passing enough, it’s been a wild ride with Smart. It’s also one I don’t want to get off of anytime soon. Playing the best ball of his career, it’s time for Smart to take a victory lap — he’s earned it.
Take a listen to First to the Floor where we discuss Smart’s ascendance at length as well as a bunch of other fun stuff with Barstool Sports’ Greenie. Thanks for listening!