Marcus Smart should be a key player for the Boston Celtics in their NBA Eastern Conference semifinals matchup with the Washington Wizards — if he allows himself to stay on the court.
The Celtics defeated the Wizards during Game 1 of their best-of-seven series Sunday, but Smart pulled himself from the game during the fourth quarter after his mistakes led to a Washington rally, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg.
“I just decided to take myself out. Things were going wrong and I was making a couple mistakes,” Smart said, per Forsberg. “Everyone else was playing good, so I decided to take myself out and let those guys keep going, and really calm myself down and get ready to go back into the game to finish the game.”
Smart played a pivotal role during the C’s comeback from an early 17-point deficit. He scored six points, dished out three assists, pulled down three rebounds, blocked three shots and was a plus-12 in 31 minutes on the court.
But the hard-nosed guard had a rough stretch during the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Smart committed two fouls and two turnovers in the first two minutes of the frame and was subbed out for Isaiah Thomas.
He would re-enter the game less than a minute later, but after fouling Bojan Bogdanovic on a 3-point shot, Smart elected to take himself out of the game in favor of Terry Rozier.
“The turnovers and the silly fouls, I know I can’t make those mistakes. I just wanted to take myself out, get myself together, and cheer my team on. Those dudes were rolling and keeping me going. I didn’t want to mess up the groove. I just really re-gathered myself and got ready for when Brad called me back in.”
The Celtics and Wizards will play Game 2 at TD Garden on Tuesday night.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images