Smart Continues Hometown Success Trend in Dallas
DALLAS – Marcus Smart plays with an extra boost of adrenaline whenever he returns home to Dallas.
That worked in Boston’s favor Monday night, as Smart erupted for 17 first-half points and helped give the Celtics a lead they would never relinquish en route to a 111-98 win over the Mavericks.
“It felt good to be in front of my family and friends,” said Smart who finished with 19 points, three rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. “And to be back in some warm weather; that felt real good.”
As warm as it was outside in Dallas – peaking at around 70 degrees Monday afternoon – it was even hotter inside American Airlines Center, thanks to Smart.
The third-year guard came out on fire as he hit a trio of 3-pointers during the first quarter and finished the opening frame with 11 points.
“He came out aggressive, and that’s what we needed,” said Jae Crowder. “He was very, very good with the ball in his hands in pick-and-rolls and taking what the defense gave him. It really helped us out.”
Smart’s early scoring spree especially helped out Boston’s top scorer, Isaiah Thomas. Having another high-scoring contributor by his side out of the gate helped open up the floor for Thomas.
“That’s always big,” said Thomas, who also hit three triples during the first quarter and finished with a game-high 29 points. “This is a team where guys step up each and every night. And tonight, Marcus was back home and he was feeling really good.”
Playing well at home seems to have become a trend for Smart. During three career games in Dallas, he has averaged 15.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
To take it a step further, Smart also plays extremely well in his home away from home – Oklahoma City, where he attended college at Oklahoma State University. During three career games on the Thunder’s home court, he has averaged 20.7 PPG, 7.7 RPG and 5.3 APG.
By comparison, his career stats to this point average out to be 8.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG and 3.5 APG.
Could Smart’s performances in his hometown locations perhaps be influenced by the boatloads of friends and family members that are supporting him in the stands?
“Everybody’s there cheering you on,” answered Smart. “I guess that’s the trend. Whenever we’re in Oklahoma or here, I play well. So I’m going to say yes.”
While Smart noted his trend of performing well at home, Thomas pointed out another, more important inclination that revolves around his backcourt mate’s level of play.
“He was knocking down shots, and he played a really good game for us,” said Thomas. “And when Marcus plays like that, we’re more than likely gonna win the game.”
Such was the case Monday night for Smart, as he put on his typical homecoming show for his family and friends in Dallas while propelling the Celtics to a win. Now it’s back home to Boston for Smart and the red-hot C’s, who will look to build off of their 3-1 Western Conference road trip Wednesday night when they host the Philadelphia 76ers.