Celtics’ Marcus Smart Loves This Quote From Ime Udoka

Ime Udoka is on the same page with his team


April 29, 2022

Boston Celtics coach Ime Udoka continues to have has fingers exactly on the pulse of his team.

The latest example was how Udoka answered a question about not side-stepping opponents late in the regular season to set up a more favorable first-round matchup in the playoffs, something their next opponent, the Milwaukee Bucks, were accused of doing.

“We understood it’s the playoffs and we’re going to have to play really good teams regardless,” Udoka told reporters on Wednesday, per MassLive’s Souichi Terada. “We’re a basketball team, not a track team. We?re not running from people.”

Celtics guard Marcus Smart was in full agreement with his coach, believing he couldn’t have expressed it any better than Udoka did and that it embodied what the team is all about.

“He hit the nail on the head right there,” Smart told reporters on Thursday, via the Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy. “We’re not (running from anybody), we never have been. We’re not going to choose today or any other day to start. So I love the quote, we love it, it fits perfect for us, who we are, being (an) identity. Not only that, it speaks for him as a coach, the coach he is, the player that he was when he played.

“He takes that into the coaching as well and when you’ve got a coach like that that has the same mentality as you, it’s always a good thing to have. Like he said, we ain’t a track team and we gonna play whoever is put in front of us.”

It’s nice to see the Celtics not bumping heads with their words at press conferences anymore, which seemed to be the case early in the season. Udoka routinely called out his team at postgame press conferences in the first month of the season and Smart had no problem speaking his mind in Novemeber about Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown’s lack of passing in the offense.

But that seems all behind the Celtics now as they orchestrated a sensational turnaround in the middle of the season to set themselves up for a long playoff run.

The Celtics look to take another step in their postseason journey when the Eastern Conference semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks begin Sunday at 1 p.m. ET at TD Garden.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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