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Of course it's only four games, but the numbers are surprising. For the season, Marcus Smart is hitting 39.8% of his field goals, and Klay Thompson is shooting them at a 45.6% clip. On 3-pointers, they are close - with Marcus at 33.3% and Klay at 35.9%. Things change if we look at only the past four games.


In the previous four games, Smart is at 55.6% field goal percentage and Thompson is at 45.3%. For 3-pointers, Marcus hits 52.9% and Klay hits 36.0%. I have previously written that Smart really needs to get his field goal percentage up to at least 40% on a consistent basis. His career average is 36.2%. His percentage this season is 39.8%. He is at 55.6% over the past four games. Looks like he will make that 40% mark.



It also seems Marcus' injection into the starting lineup has added to Boston's defense of the 3-point arc (Per NBCSports' Max Lederman):

So what’s different between the team of the last three games and the .500 squad from the first 20? Their scorching hot offense is certainly a factor, but another statistical indicator that deserves monitoring is the percentage of opponents' three-point field goals the Celtics are contesting. During the first 20 games of the season, the C’s contested 80% of opponents' threes, but in the last three games that number has jumped to 89%. For context, the Denver Nuggets lead the NBA with an 86% three-point contest rate.

One of the main reasons for the higher contest rate is the additional minutes Marcus Smart has received since entering the starting lineup. The Celtics' cyborg ninja is averaging 7.0 contested threes per game as a starter (Draymond Green leads the NBA with an average of 5.6), helping prove he is, in fact, a defensive alpha.

The Celtics face the Knicks tonight, and Jaylen Brown is expected to play, either back in the starting-5 or from the bench. It would be foolhardy of Brad Stevens to return immediately to his original starting unit with the recent success with the two Marci (Smart and Marcus Morris) starting the game. We need to keep that winning streak going.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC, @CelticsSentinel and Facebook

Photo via Maddie Meyer/Getty Images


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Tom Lane 12/06/2018 06:27:00 AM Edit
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