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In the 117-101 win over the 76'ers in Game One of the Eastern Conference semi-finals, Marcus Smart started the game and exhibited great control of the ball.

He tallied nine assists with only a single turnover. And he accomplished this with his right hand still in a brace. He played a total of 32 minutes and played his usual intimidating, in-your-shirt defense.

Marcus took a few shots to his surgically-repaired right hand, and it looked like he was hurting a bit. He also took a Joel Embiid leg to his groin and was in obvious discomfort from that contact.

A dust-up with Ben Simmons under the basket got Marcus a bit perturbed, but he didn't totally lose his cool. He definitely had his anger under control. We lost him for a while to injury. We can't afford to lose him to ejection and/or suspension.

Smart only scored nine points for the game, but he was 2-of-8 on three-pointers, a possible indicator that his shot is coming around. He also had three rebounds, and the one shown in the tweets below was a beauty. He took the rebound away from Joel Embiid, skying for it and bringing it down with his good left hand and then nailing a put-back.



As for Embiid's flying-leg-to-Smart's-groin, Marcus was not thrilled with the incident and said so (per MassLive's Tom Westerholm):

What Smart didn't appreciate was Embiid's flying leg right before halftime. The Sixers center missed a heave at the buzzer and kicked his knee into the air, catching Smart between the legs. Smart stayed doubled over for several seconds near half court before walking slowly to the locker room.

"Next subject," Smart said when asked about it post-game, but he continued when the reporter followed up. "They've been calling that foul all year. They tell me he was fading away so his leg naturally came up. Draymond Green did it, and he got technicals, thrown out and things like that. Like I said, it's been called all year. But it's part of the game. You move on."



With the current injury crisis with the Celtics, we know things will get chippy with Philly, but ejections and suspensions would be costly. Marcus has to be commended for his control in last night's game, not just of the ball, but of his emotions. We seem to match up quite well with the 76'ers, but that edge may dissolve with the loss of any more players.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images
Video via TB1




Tom Lane 5/01/2018 09:15:00 AM Edit
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