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LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 01: Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics and Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics react to a shot during the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on September 01, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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.”

Sep 1, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) makes a three point basket over Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) during the second half of game two of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart turned Game 2 around for the Celtics singlehandedly. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

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 matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.