The Boston Celtics returned home to TD Garden on Wednesday night, blowing the doors off of the Utah Jazz in the process 125-97. Boston was in control from the opening tip, leading by as many as 32 points at one point in the contest.
In addition, the Celtics recorded their best field goal percentage of the season (59.5-percent) and also shot a whopping 52.8-percent from deep. But another, more impressive number to note is 37 - the most assists the team has recorded all season.
Leading the charge was Boston’s starting point guard. Marcus Smart was diming up his teammates left and right, en route to a 13-assist masterclass where he only took three shots. When asked about whether a performance like this gives him gratification, Smart said that it doesn’t, because he’s always known how to be a point guard.
“I know, knew, known what I can do and who I am as a point guard, as a player. My whole career I’ve been a point guard. Went to college as a point guard. Got drafted as a point guard. And to be actually used as a point guard. That’s just what it is. I’m probably in the right position that fits me and also helps this team.”
Not only did he notch a career-high in assists, but he also tied a franchise record. Smart doled out nine assists in the first quarter, tying Rajon Rondo (who did it in 2014) for the most in a single quarter in Celtic history.
Jaylen Brown was asked about Smart’s role as a point guard after the game, and he showed nothing but love to his long-time teammate.
“Marcus has been great, man. Marcus has been running the show. We trusted him to be the point person and he’s made it easier for everybody. Tip my hat off to Marcus. Marcus has done a great job.”
Throughout his career in Boston, Smart had never gotten the chance to play point guard before this season. First, there was Rondo ahead of him, then Isaiah Thomas, then Kyrie Irving, then Kemba Walker. Even Dennis Schroder was getting point guard touches over him at the start of this season.
But since taking over as the full-time starter, Smart has been incredible. He’s been so great, that Brown credited him as a main reason behind Boston’s surge since the turn of the new year.
“We believe in him, we empower him. What he does on both sides of the ball has been great for us. It’s a big reason why our team has really, really turned it around. So, give credit where credit is due. Marcus has been a huge anchor on offense and defense for us that has led to the results that we see now.”
In the month of March, Smart is averaging 13.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 8.0 assists while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three-point land. That’s more points than Seth Curry, more assists than Luka Doncic, and a better three-point percentage than Kevin Durant this month.