The results for the battle between Marcus Smart and Russell Westbrook in, and they're pretty favorable.
There was a moment in the second quarter last night where you could almost visibly see a light bulb go off for Marcus Smart. Whether it be him being back in Oklahoma City or seeing his shot fall three straight times, you could see Marcus Smart remembering how good he can be offensively. Or, as our own Keneth Gagnon called it, the re-emergence of the 'Oklahoman Swag Machine' capped off by a beautiful running floater in the lane.
Smart finished the game with a career high 25 points, shooting 7 from 12 from downtown (the most 3's ever by a Celtics rookie) to go along with 9 rebounds and 5 assists. While that stat line is super impressive (as was this chase down block) the biggest takeaway for him might've been what he didn't do.
"Just one of those nights for me. But we probably did settle more than we should have instead of going to the rim."
And he's absolutely right. Because as hot as he was, he needed to be more assertive. During a scoring drought, with the team in desperate need of someone to step up Smart needed to step up and didn't. Consider this, Smart went nearly an entire quarter without a field goal attempt; After successfully hitting a 3 with 7:28 left in the third, Smart's next attempt didn't come until 6:35 left in the 4th. To be fair, that includes a decent stretch where he was on the bench for rest/foul trouble, but that's still a very long time to go without an attempt.
What's nice about that quote is the immediate recognition of the issue. Smart realizing he needed to go back to trying the things he knew he could do during his scoring surge in the second without having to review the tape, or having to hear Brad Stevens give him the Olynyk treatment. I'm sure the late scoring surge helped, but it's nice to see that immediate awareness out of a rookie.
Now to see if he can remind himself of that Friday against San Antonio.
Start Your Morning Off With... ROOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
ICYMI - Mike Dyer, Eric Blaisdell and myself discussed Rajon Rondo on Celticslife live last night. Knowledge bombs were dropped, laughs were had, and one of us... DIED
Vintage WTHHT: What the Hell Happened to... Derek Strong
A 6'9 forward from Xavier....James Posey...I mean Aaron Williams...I mean Brian Grant...I mean Tyrone Hill...I really mean Derek Strong.
Ok so Posey's prob 6'7 and Strong may have been 6'8 but you get my drift. Former Xavier Musketeer Basketball Players seem to be around the same height. In this week's segment of "What the Hell Happened To" we look back on the illustrious career of one Derek Strong.
Strong was picked 47th overall in the 1990 draft and actually stuck around for 10 seasons, a big credit to his work ethic. He had a cup of coffee with the C's in 1995 when they made the playoffs and nearly upset the Magic before closing down Boston Garden. His best season came with the Magic in 1998 when he averaged 12 ppg.