Marcus Smart - a 27-second lesson in team defense

The sequence only lasts 27 seconds but it graphically demonstrates Marcus Smart's impressive defensive prowess against the Brooklyn Nets in a game won by Boston 108-105. Take a look at the video/tweet by the NBA's Taylor Snow:

I had to watch the block of the layup frame-by-frame to verify that it was Marcus and not Jayson Tatum that blocked it. It was Smart on the block, and he then quickly deflected a pass, contested an unsuccessful three-pointer and worried Tyler Zeller just enough (without fouling) to force him to miss the layup.

Marcus even did a bit of defense-direction out there, a la Kevin Garnett. In the 60's a lot of Celtics opponents missed layups because there was the fear of Bill Russell blocking the shot. This fear factor provided a benefit for Boston without the effort. Smart has a similar benefit for the current Celtics team. He plays tough, ferocious defense and the opponents have no idea where he will be or what the hell he will do. That is the subtle benefit of quiet ferocity. The sequence was terrific and fun to watch. And it all happened in 27 seconds.

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Photo via Brian Babineau/Getty Images