Marcus Smart's play in Game Five - "He's made for these moments"
Coach Brad Stevens said it best. Marcus Smart is made for these moments!
Smart's stat line, as usual, doesn't contain any numbers that stand out. In 33 minutes he notched 14 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals with only two turnovers and two personal fouls. The one number that does stand out is the plus/minus of +10, highest on the Celtics and second-highest for the game.
And actually, the three steals stand out if you watched the game. His defensive anticipation is unmatched in the NBA. Even his interception of a long pass by Philadelphia in the closing seconds to seal the game was masterful.
Marcus didn't start the game and came off the bench to add some play-making to the second unit. Excuse me, but I don't think we can rely on Marcus Morris to handle that duty. Smart came up with six assists, and Brad Stevens plan worked very nicely.
Smart seemed relaxed and confident throughout the game, but played with his never-waning intensity throughout. At the one-minute mark of the fourth quarter he tied the game at 109-109 with an offensive rebound followed by a put-back for two points.
Shortly thereafter, he was fouled and missed his first free throw but made the second after trying to miss it. Then with 22 seconds left in the game, he assisted on a successful hoop by Jayson Tatum. After a J. J. Redick 3-pointer, and the score at 114-112 in favor of Boston, Ben Simmons attempted a court-long pass that had no chance. Marcus Smart was waiting for it and collected his third steal. Game over. Boston wins 114-112 and moves on to the Eastern Conference Finals against LeBron James' Cavaliers.
Jaylen Brown on Marcus Smart’s game-sealing interception: "That’s a Marcus Smart sequence. … He didn’t care if he got hurt, he was coming down with the ball. If anybody is going to come up with it, everybody’s got their money on Smart."