By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Anyone who’s watched the career progression of Marcus Smart is still, understandably, a little on edge when he pops up for a three. But even after an unbelievable barrage in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ Game 2 win over the Raptors, Brad Stevens wasn’t surprised.
Smart drained five three-pointers in a row (plus a free throw) to grab 16 straight points for the C’s to start the fourth quarter, erasing an eight-point deficit and giving Boston the lead back. Then, in the closing minute, he made an excellent strip on Pascal Siakam with the C’s clinging to a three-point lead. Despite being ruled out of bounds, the play prevented an easy layup and ultimately kept the Raptors off the scoreboard for good.
Maybe it’s become cliche to say Smart makes “winning plays,” but he most certainly did in the fourth quarter on Tuesday. Stevens will tell you it makes perfect sense that the Celtics have only gotten better and better as a team as Smart has done the same as a player.
“Marcus Smart has been a winning player since he’s gotten here,” Stevens said after the game. “We’ve been in the Playoffs every year since he’s been here and that’s not a coincidence.”
Some more select comments from Stevens, thanks to reporters on Twitter…
— Via Keith Smith: “He’s a good shooter. Good shooters should have confidence.”
— Via Smith: “Marcus has always impacted winning. He does whatever it takes to win. He makes winning plays all the time.”
— Via Jay King: “He does whatever needs to be done to win.”
“I believe in myself,” Smart said. “I always have, always will.”
In the past, that confidence has been a detriment to the team at times on the offensive end. But Smart’s three-point shooting has improved greatly, and his confidence has become more and more justified.
When they fall like they did on Tuesday, in a playoff game, it’s easy to see why Stevens has viewed Smart as a winning player all along.
LISTEN: Marcus Smart makes five straight 3-pointers
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at firstname.lastname@example.org.