Marcus Smart wants to play his best whenever he steps on the floor.
But as we’ve seen from the third-year guard, Smart delivers in a big way when he’s in familiar surroundings such as Oklahoma City (he played at Oklahoma State) and Dallas (he grew up in nearby Flower Mound, Texas).
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So it really wasn’t all that surprising that Smart was among the better performers for Boston in their 111-98 win at Dallas on Monday which capped off their four-game West coast trip.
Isaiah Thomas got off to a fast start with 18 of his 29 points coming in the first half.
But for a change, he had some competition for first-half scoring honors with Smart tallying 17 points.
According to NBA statistics guru Dick Lipe, it was the first time since February 22, 2009 that the Celtics had two guards (Ray Allen, 21 points and Rajon Rondo, 22 points against Phoenix) score 17 or more points in the first half of a game.
“It felt good to be in front of my family and friends,” Smart, who finished with 19 points, told reporters after the win. “And things like that and to be back in warm weather. It felt good.”
Smart acknowledged he feels a greater sense of urgency to perform well when surrounded by familiar faces, many of whom were instrumental in his growth and development into being an NBA player.
Last year at Dallas, Smart had 20 points and eight rebounds.
In his third NBA season, Smart has a career 14.2 points per game average against Oklahoma City which is his highest scoring average against any NBA team. And his career average of 6.6 rebounds against the Thunder is also tops among all NBA teams he has faced at least five games.
“I guess that’s the trend,” Smart said. “Whenever in Oklahoma or here, I play well.”
And don’t think it hasn’t been noticed by his teammates.
“Tonight, Marcus was back home, feeling good, knocking down shots,” Thomas said. “Marcus plays like that, more than likely we’re going to win the game.”