Marcus Smart eager for the challenge

Go down

Marcus Smart eager for the challenge

Post by bobheckler on Sun May 13, 2018 12:43 pm

http://www.providencejournal.com/sports/20180512/cavaliers-vs-celtics-marcus-smart-eager-for-challenge



Cavaliers vs. Celtics: Marcus Smart eager for the challenge






By Scott Souza / The MetroWest Daily News


Posted May 12, 2018 at 8:43 PM



WALTHAM, Mass. — There was a time not long ago when Marcus Smart was simply hoping to have the chance to play again this season.

Now the fourth-year guard is relishing the idea of doing “something special” as the Celtics take to the TD Garden floor Sunday afternoon for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Smart stood with his hand heavily bandaged and his arm in a sling at his YounGameChanger Foundation bowling event on March 19 just days removed from right thumb surgery. He said he thought his year had ended the week prior when he’d been told of the ligament tear, but was hopeful that a six-week recovery timetable would have him back around the start of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

That his injury-decimated team would make it that far without him seemed no sure thing.

Yet, Smart beat that timetable and returned for Game 5 of Boston’s seven-game victory against the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. He was then involved in nearly every decisive play in the final minute of his team’s Game 5 clincher against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Now the longest-tenured Celtics player, Smart is looking forward to his second straight conference finals, and eighth playoff series overall, at just 24 years old.

“He’s a guy who has played well in the playoffs his whole career,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said following Saturday’s practice and film session. “We lean on him a lot. Even though he’s a young guy by age, he’s not young by experience. He’s been in four straight playoffs. He’s seen us have to play against all kinds of different styles. We’ve played these guys a couple of times.

“He’s a guy you certainly lean on to not only be who he is on the basketball court, but also be enthusiastic, and step up to these challenges.”

Smart was Boston’s starting point guard as a rookie in 2015 for the first three games of Boston’s sweep at the hands of the Cavaliers before Jae Crowder replaced him in the lineup for Game 4 after Smart was late to the morning shootaround.


While his NBA career has not been completely without incident since (he missed four weeks this season after slicing open his hand while punching a hotel room glass picture frame out of frustration in Los Angeles), his fire, passion and willingness to put his body on the line has made him a central figure for a franchise that has made the playoffs every year of his career.

“Marcus does a great job of getting his hands dirty, getting on the floor,” said teammate Marcus Morris. “Obviously, he made a game-winning play last game following [Jayson Tatum’s] miss. Those are the types of things that he brings.”

While Smart enters his third playoff series against LeBron James and the Cavaliers having lost eight of the first nine meetings, he did have a big hand in the one victory when he scored a career-high 27 points — including 7-for-10 on 3-pointers — as Boston rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second half to stun Cleveland on Avery Bradley’s last-second shot in Game 3 of last year’s conference finals.

Smart has been at the heart of similar comebacks this season — most notably with his two drawn offensive fouls on Houston’s James Harden in the final minute of Boston’s 26-point comeback win on Dec. 28, and the rally from down 22 against the 76ers in Game 2, the likes of which Smart said “you only see in movies.”

“Our fight picks up,” he said on Saturday. “I think we’ve shown that throughout the season. Coming back from [deficits] most teams wouldn’t come back from. You’d think it was over.

“In the playoffs we know there is a lot of physicality. We’re able to play a little bit more. That plays right into what we like to do. That’s being real physical with this team.”

Smart said after Wednesday’s clincher against Philadelphia that he wanted to guard James in the conference finals. Two months after he feared his season was over, he is more than eager to take on the challenge.

“What excites me the most is probably that this is what we dreamed of,” he said Saturday. “This is what we worked all year for. This is what we’ve worked all our lives for to be here in this moment.

“We have a chance, and a great opportunity, to do something special.”


bob



.
avatar
bobheckler

Posts : 38995
Join date : 2009-10-28

Back to top Go down

Re: Marcus Smart eager for the challenge

Post by wideclyde on Sun May 13, 2018 9:24 pm

He is still not a great shooter, but it does seem like more and more Cs fans are appreciating him more and more as this guy really has "it" as far as his leadership.

wideclyde

Posts : 1816
Join date : 2015-12-14

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum