Marcus Smart achieved two significant milestones Monday night in Chicago – both via the 3-point shot.
Late in the first quarter, Smart passed legendary shooter Ray Allen into fourth place on the Boston Celtics’ all-time 3-point list by knocking down his 799th career triple.
The veteran guard then banked in a first-half buzzer-beater for No. 800, which placed him alongside Paul Pierce (1,823 3-point makes), Antoine Walker (937), and Jayson Tatum (839) as the only Boston players to reach that mark.
Smart made one more long-range shot in the third frame, finishing 3-of-5 from deep with 11 points and game-highs of six assists, two steals, and two blocks. However, his achievements couldn’t be properly celebrated at the end of the night, as the Celtics suffered their first loss of the season in a 120-102 defeat in what was their third road game in three nights.
Smart deserves to enjoy this moment after dealing with doubters who questioned his shot-making ability for years. The truth of the matter is that he’s been a reliable long-range threat for the past several seasons and has always had a knack for making big shots.
Over the past five seasons, Smart has shot 34.1 percent from deep on 5.3 attempts per game, which is just about on par with the league average of 35.8 percent during that span. He’s also shown that when he’s hot, he can shoot with the best of ‘em – like when he knocked down a franchise-record 11 3-pointers on Jan. 18, 2020, against the Phoenix Suns.
Smart will have to keep shooting at a high rate if he wants to keep his place on the list because Jaylen Brown isn’t too far behind.
Brown currently sits in sixth place with 729 career makes, so he’s on track to pass Allen during the first half of the season, as well. Tatum will likely create further separation from Smart, considering his higher volume of attempts, and should pass Walker into second place before the All-Star break.
Mazzulla Tossed in First Loss
Every basketball player wants a coach who will have their back at all times. Joe Mazzulla showed that he was that type of coach Monday night.
Midway through the third quarter of his fourth game as interim head coach, Mazzulla was ejected after arguing on behalf of his team during its first loss of the season.
Shortly before Mazzulla’s ejection, Jayson Tatum was called for goaltending on a play that Tatum thought was a clean block. The All-NBA wing displayed some extra emotion after the play and was subsequently whistled for a technical foul.
A couple of plays later, Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was called for a foul and showed similar emotion to Tatum; however, he was not whistled for a tech. Mazzulla was not pleased by the inconsistency and wound up getting tossed.
Assistant coach Damon Stoudamire took Mazzulla's place on the sideline.
Mazzulla was soon joined by Grant Williams who was ejected early in the fourth quarter after making contact with an official while arguing against a blocking foul that had been called against him.
Mazzulla admitted after the game that he needs to do a better job in the future of keeping his composure and setting an example for his team. However, the players can certainly appreciate and respect their coach for sticking up for them, especially when that coach is just a few weeks into the job.