## The Algebra of the Marcus Smart Effect: “We got this, Boys!”

Though physicality and energy seem to ooze from his every pore, Boston Celtic General Nuisance Marcus Smart is also – to steal a phrase from Pro Rasslin’ parlance – a Cerebral Assassin.

For instance, just over four minutes into Q2 of Tuesday's Game 5 with Milwaukee, Smart back-rimmed a short jumper. The ball caromed out toward the foul line, into a little pocket of space occupied by only Smart and Marcus Morris.

Perhaps my perception is way off, but it appeared as if Smart yielded both the rebound and the easy scoring opportunity sure to come with it to a teammate who had struggled through a miserable 6-for-22 shooting weekend in Wisconsin.

Right on cue, Morris cashed in the bunny, extending the C’s lead to eight and inducing a Buck Time-out.

Summative Equation:

Bos – 44 Conversions + [+2 “Stripes”] {10 treys “minus” 8 missed FT’s “equals” 2 stripes}
Mil – 39 Conversions + [+3 “Stripes”] {9 treys “minus” 6 missed FT’s “equals” 3 stripes}
Expected Outcome -- +5 Conversion2 + [-1 Stripe] = C’s win by 9 points
Actual Score: Boston 92, Milwaukee 87

Where does Marcus Smart rank in Coach Brad Stevens’s pecking order?

In his first game action in a month-and-a-half, Marcus was a member of the unit that “closed” each and every Quarter of play.

Smart’s strong drive and two FT’s were all that prevented a 15-point lead to slip to single digits in Q2’s last five possessions. (For the record, Boston start to Q2 was equally lousy, allowing conversions on five of Milwaukee’s first six tries.)

The Algebra of the Game

Marcus Smart on the Court

FG: C’s – 15 - 40, .375 / Mil – 19 - 49, .388
3FG: C’s – 4 - 16, .250 / Mil – 6 - 23, .261
FT: C’s – 17 - 21, .810 [10] / Mil – 7 - 12, .583 [5]
TO: C’s – 9 / Mil – 7
OR: C’s – 5 + 2 (team) / Mil – 6 + 2 (team)
Poss: C’s – 52 / Mil – 53
CV%: C’s – 25 / 52, .481 / Mil – 24 / 53, .453

Marcus Smart logged 24:55 of court time in Game 5, participating in 52 of their offensive possessions and 53 of their defensive stances.

He entered the a tied (13 - 13) game at the 4:08 mark of Q1, checking out at 7:40 of Q2 with his team in front by eight (33 -25). The Celtics shot 8-for-15 during that stretch.

The advantage had grown to that 15-point bulge when Smart reentered at 3:16.

Boston’s 11-point intermission edge had slipped to six (58 – 52) when Smart was inserted with 4:52 left in Q3. The C’s converted six of their last eleven possessions of the quarter.

Marcus played the first 4:27 of Q4, then reentered for the final 3:52. Courtesy of five trips to the charity stripe, seven of Boston’s final 10 opportunities were successful in the course of this stint.

Marcus Smart on the Bench

FG: C’s – 14 - 29, .483 / Mil – 13 - 38, .342
3FG: C’s – 6 - 15, .400 / Mil – 3 - 10, .300
FT: C’s – 7 - 11, .636 [5] / Mil – 7 - 8, .875 [2]
TO: C’s – 9 / Mil – 5
OR: C’s – 0 + 0 (team) / Mil – 1 + 3 (team)
Poss: C’s – 43 / Mil – 41
CV%: C’s – 19 / 43, .442 / Mil – 15 / 41, .366

Without MS on the floor, the Stevens Gang did not capture a single Offensive Rebound, not even a cheapie “team” OR.

The Bucks connected on four of their first nine Q3 shots, 2-for-3 from deep. Over their final 11 possessions, with Smart on the floor, they shot 3-for 10 (1-for-6 on treys).

Full Game
FG: C’s – 29 - 69, .415 / Mil – 32 - 87, .368
3FG: C’s – 10 - 31, .323 / Mil – 9 - 33, .273
FT: C’s – 24 - 32, .750 [15] / Mil – 14 - 20, .70 [7]
TO: C’s – 18 / Mil – 12
OR: C’s – 5 + 2 (team) / Mil – 7 + 5 (team)
Poss: C’s – 95 / Mil – 94
CV%: C’s – 44 / 95, .463 / Mil – 39 / 94, .415

Note re Calculations:
The number of “possessions” is an accurate count, not a formula-based estimated value.

For purposes of clarity, the bracketed digit following the FT% is the exact count of “conversions” represented by those FTA’s.

“Possessions” calculation: FGA’s + FT conversions + TO’s – OR’s (including Team OR’s)

“Conversions” calculation: FG’s + FT conversions

I’d never watched Khris Middleton play much prior to this series. Though It didn’t pop to mind immediately, his game had a familiarity – an “old school” familiarity – to it.

It finally hit me – those up-and-under moves where he’s surprisingly clear.

It might have all added up sooner if I’d known the dude hailed from South Carolina. Khris has an Alex English smoothness to his game.

Eric Bledsoe, on the other hand, conjures up images of Lloyd “World B” Free.

images: wcbv-tv, fox, getty

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