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WALTHAM, Mass. – Wednesday night will not only feature a rematch between the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors. More importantly to Marcus Smart, it will also feature a rematch between himself and Kyle Lowry.
Smart walked away from Friday night’s visit to Toronto with a sour taste in his mouth after allowing Lowry to dominate the game. Smart was hard on himself after the contest, noting that he took the wrong mindset into the matchup.
“I gave Lowry the respect that he deserves instead of just going out there and just playing,” Smart said after the contest, which Boston lost 116-109. “With that being said, he kind of made me take a step back a little bit and not play the way I usually play.”
Smart finished the game with zero points, two rebounds and seven assists. Lowry, meanwhile, racked up a game-high 18 points to go along with three boards and six helpers.
Boston’s prized rookie had seemingly replayed the matchup in his head numerous times before speaking with the media that night. He has since replayed the matchup multiple times in front of his own eyes, confirming his initial suspicions.
“You could see me being lenient at times,” Smart said on Tuesday, recalling what he has seen on tape. “At times when I picked him up it was very effective. I kind of interrupted him and speeded him up at a different pace that he didn’t want to play at. In the game you could see that’s not what was going on. I was letting him dictate the game and he controlled the game.”
He certainly did, mostly while Smart was defending him. Toronto’s floor general scored seven points and dished out five of his six assists while Smart was his primary defender.
That one-sided matchup is considered by Smart to be a lesson learned. He now knows what he can’t do against the league’s best, and more importantly, what he must do in order to succeed.
“These guards in this league are too great to just let them sit back and take the game,” said Smart. “It’s going to be hard, but you’ve got to try to make them play at your pace, the way you want them to play.”
Brad Stevens knows how Smart can make that happen.
“He’s got to play in an attacking mentality at both ends of the floor,” Stevens said of Smart. “That’s what Marcus does.”
He didn’t do it Friday night, and that fact has been burning in Smart’s stomach for the past four days. That’s why Wednesday isn’t all about the Celtics and Raptors. It’s also about Smart versus Lowry.