The Boston Celtics win basketball games when Marcus Smart gets buckets.
Smart may be an extremely polarizing figure among Celtics fans, but the proof is in the propositional pudding. Boston is 7-0 this postseason when Smart scores at least 18, yet his point prop is on the low end (13.5) thanks to a two-point, six-shot outing against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday night.
Smart made a layup about a minute into the game, then missed his next six attempts and stopped looking for his shot. The next thing you knew, Golden State was up 23 points after the third and the Celtics starters would soon be saddled on the bench for good.
Ime Udoka yanked Smart, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford and Jayson Tatum with 10:45 left in the fourth quarter and the C’s trailing by almost 30 points. Smart played only 25 minutes — 10 less than he’s averaging in the playoffs — which helped cement an awful statistical performance.
All that said, Wednesday is a new day with a new script.
Celtics Game 3 point props via DraftKings:
Tatum O/U 27.5 o-120
Brown O/U 24.5 u-125
Smart O/U 13.5 -110
White O/U 13.5 u-130
Horford O/U 11.5 u-125
Williams O/U 5.5 o-135
Odds are good that Smart plays much better at home in Game 3 and they’re even stronger that he’ll revert to his usual postseason self by shooting the rock more. It’s easy to gloss over his Sunday stat line, but let’s not forget he took 15, 22 and 11 shots in the previous three games.
Udoka must urge his best players to keep the ball moving to get secondary scorers involved. It’s no coincidence that Brown and Tatum combined to take almost 40 shots (through three quarters) and lost.
At the end of the day, Smart is Boston’s third-best scorer and his minutes and volume usually put him in a position to produce. For a player that’s averaging 13 shots per game, a point prop of O/U 13.5 seems low, right? We’ve seen Smart’s prop lined at 15.5 multiple times over the last two months and it was 14.5 last game.
I’m banking on Smart regressing to the mean and exceeding expectations in Game 3.
Marcus Smart O13.5 points (-110)
RECORD: (116-113, +30.9)