Pregame Post-Ups: Smart and Special
Wednesday, September 9 - Game 6 - Raptors at Celtics
Pregame – Yet Another Celtic Calls Smart "Special"
BOSTON – Kemba Walker has said it multiple times throughout these Playoffs, and Brad Stevens said it again Wednesday night: Marcus Smart is special.
Smart was named Tuesday to the All-Defensive First Team for the second consecutive season, joining Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo as the only Celtics to do so in recent history. His coach spoke about why he was deserving of the accolade prior to Wednesday night’s Game 6 against the Toronto Raptors.
“He’s special in his ability to guard individually and guard as a team,” said Stevens. “You could see that from the moment he got here, and he makes us all better.”
Stevens then pointed in Smart’s direction while discussing the reasons behind Boston’s surprisingly dominant defense this season.
“Going into the year I don’t think many people thought we were going to be a very good defense, but we still had a ton of versatility and a ton of guys that really knew how to play, and we had one of the best defenders in the league to lean on,” the coach said. “I think that that is contagious.
“I think that his instincts make our whole team better. They help when we make a mistake as a team. He’s in the right place. He sees the game. He can direct people where to go. He knows how to play.”
Smart puts more and more evidence behind these statements every time he takes the court for the Celtics. His defensive impact has been felt throughout this postseason, as he has stepped into a starting role in the absence of Gordon Hayward.
There aren’t many players in the league like this guy. Smart can defend all five positions at a high level, he makes game-changing plays at an alarming rate, and he brings top-notch energy to the court every time he steps onto it.
That combination, as Smart's teammates continue to point out, is special.
- Marc D'Amico