The Celtics didn’t need to hide their point guard defensively, with Kemba Walker out Wednesday on the second night of a back-to-back. And that was fortunate, as their shots were falling at just 41.9% and Boston was forced to make some stops to save the game.
So with Smart getting more ball-handling responsibilities, he orchestrated both sides of the ball in the victory. Especially in the fourth quarter when his string of clutch plays included what ended up being the game-winner.
Smart flirted with a double-double scoring 17 points with nine assists, four rebounds, a block and assist. Fourteen of those points came in the final quarter when his team needed it most.
“This has been a really hard year in a lot of ways, but I just believe in his resolve,” head coach Brad Stevens said postgame. “I believe in who he is as a competitor. I know because I’ve been around him. I know that sometimes we get caught up in some of his home run swings he takes and, you know, I think those get over-analyzed, and everybody misses the fact that he’s got the courage to do it. He’s tough. He helps you win. And tonight he made a ton of big plays.
The Celtics are back in action Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves.