Marcus Smart just can’t catch a break.
The Boston Celtics guard has dealt with a myriad of minor injuries over the last few months dating back to the summer, and now you can add a “direct blow to the abdomen” to the list of ailments.
That’s precisely how the Celtics described Smart’s injury after a collision with Kevin Knox in the third quarter of Boston’s eventual 113-104 win over the New York Knicks. Smart went tumbling to the ground in apparent pain after Knox ran into him, clutching at his hip area for a moment while breathing deeply. The team medical staff made its way over to Smart, eventually helping him up and to the locker room.
The Celtics eventually ruled him out for the rest of the game.
Smart has served as a starter with Gordon Hayward out, so him missing any sort of time would be a tough blow to the Celtics. After the game, head coach Brad Stevens shared what he knew.
“The only thing I heard is that it was — I don’t know if it was his oblique or right in that area — and they said it wasn’t as bad as in the past, so I don’t know what that means,” Stevens told reporters, as seen on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “I don’t know if that means — I’m sure we’ll get more information in the next couple hours.”
Here are some other notes from Sunday’s Celtics-Knicks game:
— It was a good afternoon for Jayson Tatum, who hit both season- and career-highs in the victory.
The third-year forward dropped 30 points on 10-for-23 shooting, with the 30 points matching his season high. Tatum’s seven assists were a career high, beating his previous best of six, which he has accomplished twice. The 21-year-old grabbed six boards, as well.
Putting up all those figures at once is a first for Tatum, too. Check out this stat.
Jayson Tatum has recorded at least 30 points, five rebounds, and five assists in a single game for the first time in his 178-game NBA career
— Celtics Stats (@celtics_stats) December 1, 2019
Consistency has been an issue for Tatum this season, but when he
“Just being aggressive,” Tatum told NBC Sports Boston’s Abby Chin after the game. “Trying to get more consistent knocking down shots, still trying to figure it out.”
— It took some time for the Celtics to really get going on either end of the floor. They finished the first quarter up by one, tied in the second and down four in the third.
It really wasn’t until a 32-point fourth quarter, matched by just 19 points allowed in the stanza, that allowed the Celtics to take any sort of control against the Knicks. That, obviously, is a little problematic against a team like the Knicks, who are nothing short of a tire fire, and Tatum was well aware of it.
“I feel like we got outplayed the first half, and last game we lost, Tatum told Chin. “That’s what we talked about in halftime, we’ve got to get back to having fun and competing. We weren’t playing how we normally play.”
— Tatum wasn’t by himself from a scoring perspective, either. Jaylen Brown dropped 28 points of his own.
It was the fourth time in five games that Brown has contributed north of 20 points.
— Enes Kanter, a double-double machine, recorded, you guessed it, a double-double.
The veteran big man had 11 points and as many rebounds. Eight of his points and eight of his rebounds came in the second half.
— The Celtics finished their quick New York road trip at 1-1.
Considering the Celtics faced a Brooklyn Nets team that had been crushed by injuries and a Knicks team that’s a mess, it would have been an issue if they returned home winless. But now that problem has been avoided, and they’ll turn their attention to a meeting at TD Garden on Wednesday with the Miami Heat, who, like the Celtics, have a 14-5 record.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images