Sometimes, all it takes is just a little extra practice.
Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was struggling mightily with his 3-point shot in early January and at one point went 2 for 14 from deep over a four-game span. So, when the Celtics’ game in Philadelphia against the 76ers last weekend was pushed back a day due to a snowstorm, Smart used the extra time to get in some extra shooting work at the team’s facility in Waltham, Mass.
Whatever he did, it worked, because the Celtics guard has made massive improvements since then.
Smart has connected on 13 of his last 27 3-point attempts, his latest sharpshooting display coming in a 5 for 9 effort from long range Sunday night that helped him tie a career high with 26 points.
With Smart’s improved shooting has come improved confidence, as the nine 3-pointers he attempted was the most he’s hoisted in a game this season. Smart has attempted five or more deep balls in four of his last five games and has made at least 40 percent of those attempts every time.
It’s unrealistic to expect Smart to shoot at such an impressive clip for the rest of the season. But considering the second-year guard still is shooting just 26.3 percent from deep, the last few games certainly are a good sign.
Let’s hit a few other notes from Celtics-Magic:
— The Celtics took a TON of 3-pointers Sunday night.
Boston went 16 for 46 from distance, breaking a team record for attempts set in 2003, when an Antoine Walker-led crew jacked up 38 threes in one game.
— The C’s could have vaulted into the No. 3 seed into the NBA’s Eastern Conference if they beat the Magic. Instead, they dropped to No. 6 and are just 1.5 games ahead of the No. 8 seed Detroit Pistons. The lesson here: The East is very, very crowded.
— Avery Bradley made a touching gesture a week ago when he reached out to an Orlando-area father who lost his 15-year-old son in a car crash. Bradley, who lost his mother in 2013, surprised the family with tickets to Sunday’s game against the Magic and met with them before tipoff:
— David Lee hasn’t played since Jan. 10, and there’s a good chance the veteran forward could get moved before the NBA’s Feb. 18 trade deadline.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely he has had “conversations with Lee and his representatives as far as his future with the Celtics.”
Stevens said before Friday’s game his decision not to play Lee in blowouts is out of respect for the 32-year-old veteran.
— Evan Turner wasn’t too happy after getting ejected Sunday, but this news should cheer him up: The Ohio State alum and former National Player of the Year will have his No. 21 jersey retired on Feb. 16 during halftime of the Buckeyes’ game against archrival Michigan.
Turner’s jersey will join a Celtics legend’s in the Ohio State rafters, as Hall of Famer John Havlicek also is an OSU alum.
Thumbnail photo via Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) celebrates a three point basket in the closing minutes in the second half of a basketball game against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. The Magic won 119-114.