clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Stevens: Celtics are “hopeful, but not certain” Marcus Smart returns for Game 3

Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers, 2018 NBA Eastern Conference Finals Set Number: X161937 TK1

On his weekly visit with 98.5 The SportsHub’s Toucher & Rich, President of Basketball Operations Brad Stevens gave an update on Marcus Smart and his quad contusion with three more days before Game 3 in Milwaukee.

“Marcus was in the gym yesterday on an off day for the rest of our team and got some work in the weight room. It looked like he had a little better bend,” Stevens said.

In the opener, Smart left the game just before halftime with a shoulder stinger, but ultimately, it was two hits to his thigh that limited his movement and forced him to miss Game 2.

“That was the thing — he had enough swelling in his quad that he didn’t have ideal ability to really get low and bend that knee. It looked like he was doing a little bit better yesterday. I don’t know what he’s going to be cleared to do in practice today, but we’ll see as the days go on,” Stevens said. “We’re hopeful, but not certain.”

Even after just two games, it’s already been a very physical series, but after seven postseasons as a head coach, Stevens knows that “it’s just the playoffs” and partcularly because of the Bucks size in the paint, “a layup against Milwaukee is not a real layup.”

The Bucks pack the paint and invite opposing teams to shoot from the perimeter. In Game 1, the Celtics settled and shot 50 three-pointers; two days later, they trimmed it down to 43 3FGA’s and were much more efficient at the rim (11-for-21) and in the mid-range (7-for-16).

Much of that shot improvement came from Jaylen Brown. After a sub-par performance in Game 1, Brown exploded for a team-high 30 points, including 6-for-10 from behind the arc and tone-setting 25 in the first half. Unfortunately, Brown is also dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, too.

“I think that even after Game 1, he was a little sore the next day. He played 38 minutes, so that’s to be expected,” Stevens said. “I saw him reach for it a couple times in Game 2, so we’ve been in constant communication making sure we are going about the next few days appropriately with him. We are all over it and hopefully good to go as we continue through.”

Game 3 tips off on Saturday at 3:30 pm EST.