Marcus Smart doesn't have to score to make an impact

Last night the Celtics put on a tremendous display of defense against the Houston Rockets and one of the best players in the NBA, James Harden. Coming off a night where he scored a career high 26 points against OKC, Marcus Smart was tasked with the unenviable job of guarding James Harden for the majority of the night. However, Smart did his job and limited Harden to 16 points, 4-10 shooting from the field and caused him to turn it over 4 times as well.

The most impressive part of Marcus Smart's performance last night was that he played so well, even though he shot 1-11 from the field and only finished with 4 points.

While Smart couldn't really get much going on the scoring end, he contributed in every other category on offense. The young guard had some unbelievable full-court passes to net some easy transition baskets and also played lockdown defense against arguably the best shooting guard in the NBA. The Celtics being a +30 when Smart was on the court shows the big impact he had on the team playing well.

What's more striking is that Smart has performed incredibly well on the defensive side in two straight games now against two of the top ten players in the NBA. On Sunday, he got into Russell Westbrook's kitchen and contained him to 5-20 shooting from the floor and forced him to commit 4 turnovers. Last night, it was the same story, Smart got into Harden's chest and suffocated the guard with his on-ball defense.

As a rookie last year, we all saw how good Marcus Smart could be on defense and it has really been on display thus far through the season. Teams are starting to take note of his ability to lockdown some of the best players in the NBA. What's even more inspiring is that this is the type of effort the young guard puts forth every night on the defensive end. While yes he does need to work on his scoring more, there's no doubt that if he keeps this up, Smart will be on an All-Defense team at the end of the year.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Pat Sullivan
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