BOSTON — Marcus Smart has been a difference-maker on the court for the Celtics this season.
Smart scored 11 points in Boston’s 107-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, but as is usually the case, Smart’s impact was felt in places other than the score sheet. Smart was diving for loose balls and making important plays all night, leading to head coach Brad Stevens labeling him a “true competitor.”
“He matches his intensity with a physical toughness,” Stevens said. “We talked about it before the game. People talk about him all the time. Sometimes they focus on things that don’t matter, and the other times they focus on that he impacts winning. We are really glad he’s on our team.”
Smart also showed a playmaking ability, setting the tone early with some heady passing.
“He’s a really good ball-handler. He’s a good playmaker. He’s a great passer,” head coach Brad Stevens said after the game. “He’s great at the running lob with Al (Horford).”
Stevens wasn’t the only one who realized Smart’s true Game 2 impact. Cavs star LeBron James also heaped praise on the Celtics sparkplug.
“His ability to play multiple positions, but they put the ball in his hands and they trust him to take plays for others,” James said after the game. “He has a really uncanny ability to get into the lane and either creates for himself or create for others, and he did that tonight with nine assists and also had some offensive rebounds … he’s been very productive for their ballclub.”
Smart will look to provide a similar boost Saturday when the C’s travel to Cleveland for Game 3.