BOSTON — Marcus Smart might see his role diminished for the Celtics as they look to stave off elimination Sunday at TD Garden.
Smart arrived late to the team’s shootaround ahead of Game 4 of Boston’s first-round playoff series with the Cleveland Cavaliers after oversleeping, head coach Brad Stevens said in his pregame news conference.
Stevens said the rookie point guard’s tardiness did not play into the decision to remove him from the starting lineup (Jae Crowder will start Game 4), but it might keep him on the bench for longer than usual.
“Marcus may not play early with that (second) group,” Stevens said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do. … As I told Marcus, I’m not worried about him at all. This is not a big Marcus thing, and Jae Crowder would have started anyways. So, we’ll see when Marcus’ opportunity comes.”
Smart said he arrived about 15 minutes late.
“I just overslept,” he said, noting it was the first time he had done so this season. “Alarm didn’t go off. And by the time I looked at my phone and the clock, it was time to be (at the arena), and I had to push it.”
Smart, who’s averaging 9.3 points per game through three playoff games, also said he agreed with Stevens’ punishment. Being a rookie, he said, he’s lucky to be playing at all.
“Coach is doing what he’s supposed to do,” Smart said. “It’s not acceptable, especially when you’ve got everybody here. And me being a rookie, for me to even play at all is going to be a lot. I think Coach did make the right decision. It was my fault. Like I said, I went and apologized to this team and the coaching staff about it, and I’ve got to take the consequences like a man.”
Forward Jared Sullinger, who sat out practice Saturday after injuring his tailbone during Thursday’s Game 3 loss, confirmed Sunday that he was ready to go for Game 4.
“I went through a workout (Sunday morning), shot my shots, moved around a little bit, and I’m able to go,” Sullinger said.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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