Marcus Smart earned praise from Brad Stevens, LeBron James and probably many others for his performance in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals Tuesday night. But one plaudit stood out above the rest.
Smart was the backbone of the Celtics’ comeback victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, a win that has Boston two games from the NBA Finals. The guard was all over the place, diving on loose balls, grabbing rebounds in traffic, setting up teammates and also chipping in with 11 points.
His all-around effort even caught the attention of Celtics legend Bill Russell. Most notably, Russell was impressed with how Smart defended Al Horford, who went crashing to the floor after a dirty two-handed shove from Cavs no-show J.R. Smith.
Russell congratulated Smart and the Celtics with a series of post-game tweets after the win.
Not a bad feather in the cap for Smart and the rest of the Celtics.