Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

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Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by bobheckler on Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:11 am

http://www.espn.com/blog/boston/celtics/post/_/id/4725662/shots-arent-falling-but-marcus-smart-still-impacts-winning-for-celtics



Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics



11:17 PM PT



Chris Forsberg
ESPN Staff Writer



BOSTON -- There's an anticipation at the end of Boston Celtics games now, a suspense that builds as fans wonder how exactly Marcus Smart will find a way to overcome a poor shooting night to make the biggest play of the game.

It's happened so frequently this season that Celtics coach Brad Stevens has repeatedly stressed that he does not care if Smart ever scores because he's certain he will make big plays in key spots. The hashtag #winningplays is a familiar presence on social media and serves as an internet time stamp for Smart's game-changing moments.

It happened again Sunday night in a 112-108 win against the Miami Heat. The Celtics were clinging to a one-point lead with a little more than a minute to go when Jae Crowder front-rimmed a 3-pointer. The rebound shot up and ticked off the glass before starting its descent toward a pack of four players waiting near the charge circle.


Marcus Smart has a knack for making the big plays when the game is on the line. Sunday's win against the Heat was no different. AP Photo/Steven Senne


There were three red shirts and one white jersey. That Smart, crashing the glass maybe even before Crowder's shot went up, was even able to corral the rebound was remarkable. Boston's 6-foot-4 linebacker of a guard fended off Goran Dragic with his right arm and, despite having 7-foot rebound magnet Hassan Whiteside on his other hip, reached up and snagged the rebound with his left arm.

Smart lost the ball trying to go back up with a shot and, after regaining control, turned to find himself swarmed by Dragic and Whiteside while falling backward on the baseline. Improbably, Smart side-armed a bounce pass that threaded four Heat defenders and found Isaiah Thomas at the top of the arc.

The 5-foot-9 Thomas pump faked then drove and muscled home a layup over Whiteside before flexing to the crowd as he made his way back up court. The Celtics held on from there and moved Boston into a virtual tie with the Cleveland Cavaliers atop the Eastern Conference standings.

"That's what Marcus does," Thomas said. "Especially when the game's on the line, he makes the biggest plays of the game. And that was a really big play.

"He got it out to me, I just wanted to be aggressive. Those are the times -- when you get and offensive rebound and you kick it out, those are the best times to be aggressive and to try to make another play. I tried to do the best I could."

Smart admitted he was pretty much blind while trying to launch the ball back out. He had an idea that Thomas and Crowder were open beyond the 3-point arc, but getting the ball there was a daunting proposition with Whiteside's long arms clogging most passing lanes.

"First I tried to go up with [the offensive rebound], but they're kinda big and they kinda swarmed me," Smart said. "I seen [Thomas and Crowder] at the top of the key and just had to make a pass. I really just threw it and was like, 'Whoever [can] get it, get it.' The right play was to kick it out, and that's what I did."

Smart finished 1-of-5 shooting with seven points. His only make was one of his typical end-of-the-quarter prayers (this time a running 26-foot 3-pointer to end the first quarter). Smart is far and away the team leader in taking low-percentage, end-of-quarter heaves when most other NBA players prefer to wait until after the horn in order to preserve their field goal percentages.

Smart was a minus-3 in 30 minutes of floor time on Sunday and yet had to be on the court in the final stretch when the Celtics went with a familiar small-ball lineup that pairs guards Thomas and Smart with Crowder, Avery Bradley and Al Horford.

Thomas scored a team-high 30 points and has now led the Celtics in scoring in the past 36 games he's appeared in. Crowder added 25 points while Horford flirted with a triple-double (7 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists).

And then there was Smart, making all the little plays that won't always land in the highlights. Like with 20.6 seconds to play when Smart made sure to sell a push in the back while chasing a defensive rebound. Smart drew a whistle against Dragic for the sequence then made both free throws at the other end, albeit only after a video review confirmed that Whiteside goaltended the second attempt while trying to bring down the rebound before Smart's shot came off the rim.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra's sideline reaction suggested he was downright pained when Smart got the foul call on the rebound. Smart has a propensity to embellish contact, though this was one of the less egregious cases. And Stevens doesn't let that flopping reputation take away from the gritty plays that Smart routinely makes.

"Marcus makes toughness plays all the time," Stevens said.

Smart is shooting just 29.8 percent from the floor and 17.6 percent from beyond the 3-point arc for the month of March. During Boston's current four-game winning streak, Smart is averaging 8.8 points on 23.5 percent shooting and is a minus-35 in his floor time.

But Stevens can't take him off the floor.

"You know what? I've said this before. Hey, Marcus could score 30 in a game and hit every shot, or he could score zero and not hit his shots, and his two biggest strengths are still his competitiveness and his brains," Stevens said. "He's really smart, and he's really tough. And those two things mean more than any points or no points that he could score.

"And so I don't even really think about [Smart's shooting struggles]. I just want him to continue to being a leader and being contagious and competing, and his savvy's really, really good, and we've talked about that since he's been here. He's got an understanding and instincts that are just really special."

Smart, who finished with a team-best nine assists Sunday night, said his focus is simply on making his teammates better.

"My thing is, I'm looking for guys. I'm passing really well," Smart said. "I try to make plays for guys. That's my main focus, to get other guys going.

"I can impact the game without scoring and things like that."




bob
MY NOTE:  I have no problem with you scoring, Marcus, I have no problem with you shooting.  What I have a problem with is you shooting from range especially when you are not having a good shooting game.  If you can "impact the game without scoring and things like that" then please remember that when the ball isn't dropping for you.  The rest of his game, though, is magnificent.  His defense, his improved floor generalship, his infectious competitiveness, his post up game.  He is absolutely off-the-charts in those areas of the game.  He performs exceptionally during crunch time, including his shooting.  I just wish there was a way to make him think that it's crunch time all the time.

Here's the video of his BIG offensive rebound.  Note that it is 106-105 and 1 minute left and that they were in the middle of making a run after coming back from down 10, so the momentum was theirs. Bradley was in there first, practically throwing his man out of the way, and then Smart swooped in past Dragic and Whiteside to grab the rebound.  He is then swallowed up by those two and threads a bounce pass between two defenders (not including the two pressuring him out of bounds) as he is falling out of bounds.  THEN, when IT is driving, Smart jumps back in bounds and carves out space underneath for yet another offensive rebound if IT misses.  IT shoots over Whiteside with Whiteside right there daring him to go vertical on him. Unbelievable. All of it. If you love basketball you have to love this sequence.

https://streamable.com/r22wx

And here is Spoelstra's response to Smart's play.  A new classic.  Take it easy, coach, you'll blow a fuse...

https://twitter.com/B_Maine207/status/846164145611423745



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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by worcester on Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:00 pm

I am so proud of Marcus for limiting himself to 5 fga's and playing such a great game.

Danny has taken so much heat for his draft picks, but methinks Kelly, marcus, jalen. yabu. and zizc will be picks he can be proud of ...rozier, we'll see.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by sinus007 on Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:36 pm

Bobh,
The tweet with Spoelstra blowing the fuse was his reaction to Whiteside getting the ball off the rim which was counted as goaltending; crucial mistake. If I remember correctly. But still priceless.

AK
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by dboss on Mon Mar 27, 2017 2:00 pm

Marcus is a great defender with an excellent post up game and a great free throw shooter.  Poor from deep as we already know.  Everybody  does not have to be a shooter from distance to be a great team player.  Smart is probably the best example of how a player can impact the game in multiple areas (defense, rebounding, assisting  on baskets, setting solid screens, abusing  his man in the post and being a player you do not want to foul)

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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by gyso on Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:08 pm

I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side. Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by NYCelt on Mon Mar 27, 2017 3:58 pm

dboss and gyso,

Agreed X2.

Regards
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by swish on Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:19 pm

gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by gyso on Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:42 pm

swish wrote:
gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

   1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
   1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

  Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

     swish  

Swish,

Much of the "cringe-worthy-ness" of Tony's offense had nothing to do with his shooting. Every time dribbled the ball, it was an adventure. He was often caught up in the air with no idea in mind. Many of his passes seemed to be off the mark.

Even with that, many would take him back, just for his defense and toughness.

gyso

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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by jrleftfoot on Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:52 pm

swish wrote:
gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

   1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
   1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

  Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

     swish  
I don`t remember TA  so much as a bad shooter as I do a guy who was very turnover prone.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by jrleftfoot on Mon Mar 27, 2017 4:54 pm

Didn`t see gyso `s post , so I just repeated what he said jocolor
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by swish on Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:10 pm

Allen - High percentage shooter - poor ball handler - still playing starter minutes at age 35.
Smart - Low percentage shooter - good ball handler - future still to be determined.

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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by NYCelt on Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:15 pm

Regarding Tony Allen's challenges on offense:

He could drive and slash his way to the rim...most of the time.  I think I lost track of the number of times he dribbled it off his foot and out-of-bounds.

TA was also a great passer; sometimes even to his own team!

Tony Allen could be a train wreck with the ball in his hands at times, but he was a gritty and determined player when he was here.  Great defender on multiple positions and one of the better defending guards in the league.  

The kind of player I'd want on my team any time.  Tough and a real gamer.  Just like Marcus Smart.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by dboss on Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:17 pm

swish wrote:
gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

   1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
   1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

  Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

     swish  

I guess it all comes down to shot selection. Must be really really difficult to be on a Brad Stevens's coached team and turn down a 3 point shot especially when you -play out front. But that is the challenge for Marcus and a challenge for Coach Stevens to run more plays that will get Marcus isolated on the block. I have watched a ton of NBA games like you guys but I have never seen a player that literally rips the ball from anybody big or small. Marcus Smart is a beast. He does this every damn game. We are not even close to knocking on the door to the #1 seed without Marcus.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by worcester on Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:40 pm

Not bad for the 6th pick in the 2014 draft. Actually, other than Wiggins, Marcus was the plum pulled out of the 2014 draft pie by Danny. All the others were not as good, and that includes Embiid (because when you can't get or stay on the court, what good are you?).

http://www.foxsports.com/nba/story/2014-nba-redraft-draft-andrew-wiggins-jabari-parker-joel-embiid-060515

I sure wish he'd return even to his rookie form shooting three's - .335%

Best news of the week is that he limited himself to 3 three point attempts against the Heat.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by swish on Mon Mar 27, 2017 5:51 pm

dboss wrote:
swish wrote:
gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

   1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
   1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

  Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

     swish  

I guess it all comes down to shot selection.  Must be really really difficult to be on a Brad Stevens's coached team and turn down a 3 point shot especially when you -play out front.  But that is the challenge for Marcus and a challenge for Coach Stevens to run more plays that will  get Marcus isolated on the block.  I have watched a ton of NBA games like you guys but I have never seen a player that literally rips the ball from anybody big or small.  Marcus Smart is a beast.  He does this every damn game.  We are not even close to knocking on the door to the #1 seed without Marcus.  

  dboss

 As happy as you are with his defensive skills - I'm equally dismayed with Smarts taking .503% of his fga's from 16 feet on out - while shooting only .289% from that distance. So its not only his 3 point shooting that is suspect - but also his shooting in the 16 foot to 3 point line that is poor.


     swish

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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by NYCelt on Mon Mar 27, 2017 8:39 pm

Just another article in praise of Marcus Smart;

"C’s Beat Heat Thanks to Smart’s Savvy"
http://www.nba.com/celtics/news/sidebar/post-032617-celtics-beat-heat-thanks-to-smarts-savvy

Posting it since he seems to be a favorite whipping boy in some parts of late.  A great reminder of Smart's value from the article...

While Smart played a critical role on Boston’s biggest offensive possession of the night, he didn’t create much offense himself against the Heat. He shot 1-of-5 from the field and notched just seven points during 30 minutes of play.

However, his effort was a prime example of why a player’s value should not be measured by statistical contributions.

I think that what Smart does do well, more than offsets any weakness, real or perceived, that he may have.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by cowens/oldschool on Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:27 pm

Smart has his faults and strengths obviously, his strengths and style of play make him a beloved role player in the mold of Paul Silas, Tony Allen and Perk. We know we never get past Knicks in 70's without Silas, we know how much Perk added to that interior defense with KG in that recent era. Losing TA was the start of the downfall of those great KG- Pierce teams. In this era of perimeter scoring pussy small ball you need the AB- Marcus type defenders that we have that is our identity and have carried us to first in the EC.

He needs to embrace that role, don't try to shoot, 1-5 can be tolerated, but 1-14 cannot.
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by dboss on Mon Mar 27, 2017 9:33 pm

swish wrote:
dboss wrote:
swish wrote:
gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

   1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
   1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

  Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

     swish  

I guess it all comes down to shot selection.  Must be really really difficult to be on a Brad Stevens's coached team and turn down a 3 point shot especially when you -play out front.  But that is the challenge for Marcus and a challenge for Coach Stevens to run more plays that will  get Marcus isolated on the block.  I have watched a ton of NBA games like you guys but I have never seen a player that literally rips the ball from anybody big or small.  Marcus Smart is a beast.  He does this every damn game.  We are not even close to knocking on the door to the #1 seed without Marcus.  

  dboss

 As happy as you are with his defensive skills - I'm equally dismayed with Smarts taking .503% of his fga's from 16 feet on out - while shooting only .289% from that distance. So its not only his 3 point shooting that is suspect - but also his shooting in the 16 foot to 3 point line that is poor.


     swish

Swish..I get it. really I do. What I am saying is that you do not have to be a good offensive player to be an impact player. Defense wins championships.

dboss
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Re: Shots aren't falling but Marcus Smart still impacts winning for Celtics

Post by swish on Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:05 pm

dboss wrote:
swish wrote:
dboss wrote:
swish wrote:
gyso wrote:I remember how cringe-worthy Tony Allen was on the offensive side.  Even after all these years, many fans would welcome him back to the Celtics.

Now and in the future, Marcus is better than Tony.

gyso

Maybe Smart should hire Allen to give him some shooting lessons since he his a note-worthy very good shooter from 2 point range.

   1st 3 years - Smart averaging.421 on his 2 point fga's - also his career number so far
   1st 3 years - Allen averaged .505 on his 2 point shooting - Career average thus far .492

  Like Smart, Allen is a lousy 3 point shooter - but was smart enough to only average a half a fga per game to Smarts 4.0 per game.

     swish  

I guess it all comes down to shot selection.  Must be really really difficult to be on a Brad Stevens's coached team and turn down a 3 point shot especially when you -play out front.  But that is the challenge for Marcus and a challenge for Coach Stevens to run more plays that will  get Marcus isolated on the block.  I have watched a ton of NBA games like you guys but I have never seen a player that literally rips the ball from anybody big or small.  Marcus Smart is a beast.  He does this every damn game.  We are not even close to knocking on the door to the #1 seed without Marcus.  

  dboss

 As happy as you are with his defensive skills - I'm equally dismayed with Smarts taking .503% of his fga's from 16 feet on out - while shooting only .289% from that distance. So its not only his 3 point shooting that is suspect - but also his shooting in the 16 foot to 3 point line that is poor.


     swish

Swish..I get it.  really I do.  What I am saying is that you do not have to be a good offensive player to be an impact player.  Defense wins championships.

dboss

dboss

Point differential generally points to the best teams - whether it be by domination by offense or defense or a combination of the two. Of course a player can be an impact player based on superior defensive skills - but isn't there a point where offensive deficiencies can cloud the total value of his game. And of course the same holds true in a case where a player is great on offense and poor on defense. I'll wait a while longer before I pass judgement on just how Smarts career is destined to play out.


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