Smart heads into the offseason as a restricted free agent, and fresh off a Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers on Sunday, both Smart and general manager Danny Ainge expressed clear interest in one another during their exit interviews Monday. That's all well and good, but as time passes, finding a way to fit him onto the payroll might be an issue unless the Celtics would be willing to dip into the luxury tax.
Smart eked out four points (1-10 FG, 0-4 3Pt, 2-4 FT), seven assists, four rebounds and one steal across 31 minutes in Sunday's 87-79 ECF Game 7 loss to the Cavaliers.
Smart's ugly shooting line contributed to a stagnant Celtic offense that shot only 34 percent from the field. Youngsters Smart, Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown shot a combined 8-for-42. Sunday night was possibly Marcus Smart's last game in a Celtic uniform. He'll enter the off-season as a restricted free agent and knows Boston needs minutes to both develop Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and leverage returning stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. It remains to be seen if another NBA squad will lavish Smart with a difficult to match contract offer. On the positive, Smart displays game changing defensive skills, is versatile enough to play three different positions, and racks up a surprising amount of assists. But Smart continues to struggle with his shot, shooting 37 percent from the field during his four seasons in Boston.
Smart mustered 10 four points (4-7 FG, 0-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), eight assists, one steal and one block across 21 minutes in Friday's 109-99 ECF Game 6 loss in Cleveland.
The Marcus Smart roller coaster received extra run during this lopsided loss on Cleveland. With Boston trailing for the last three quarters, coach Brad Stevens turned to Smart and Marcus Morris for major minutes, hoping to spark a comeback run that never quite materialized. Smart was his usual erratic self, with a breathtaking block of a LeBron James dunk attempt, three ugly turnovers, questionable shot selection, but eight impressive, team-leading assists. Smart and his teammates now return to Boston for a battle royale, winner-take-all Game 7 on the parquet floor. Look for Smart to again receive monster minutes for the injury decimated Celtics.
Smart contributed just eight points (2-8 FG, 1-5 3Pt, 3-4 FT), five rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block in 30 minutes during Monday's 111-102 loss to the Cavaliers.
Smart did a bit of everything once again Monday but was far from spectacular in the loss to Cleveland. After a magnificent Game Two, Smart has had two sub-par efforts in a row as the Celtics continue to struggle on the road. Game Five is back in Boston and Smart will undoubtedly be looking to feed off the crowd as he looks to turn things around for both himself and the team.
Smart finished with 11 points (3-9 FG, 1-3 3Pt, 4-4 FT), nine assists, five rebounds and four steals in 30 minutes during Tuesday's 107-94 victory over Cleveland.
Smart was at his best Tuesday, frustrating the Cavaliers on both ends of the floor in arguably one of his best performances of the season. While the numbers don't jump off the page, the four steals are very nice and his ability to impact the game by being in the right place at the right time is uncanny. He is sure to receive a hostile reception in Game Three on Saturday in Cleveland and the Celtics will hope that this motivates him to produce a similar performance as they look to steal an away game.
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