Stars, studs and duds: Smart delivers with clutch layup

Stars, studs and duds: Smart delivers with clutch layup

BOSTON – Marcus Smart doesn’t shoot the ball well from the field.

And when you throw in the fact that he hadn’t played in a regular season game all season, well you can imagine his shooting struggles would be magnified more than usual.

CELTICS 107, Bulls 100

But the thing about Smart during his time with the Boston Celtics is that as much as he may struggle, he does from time to time deliver when a big shot is needed. 

That was indeed the case during his regular season debut on Wednesday when he scored on a swooping hook shot with 25.2 seconds to play that essentially sealed a hard-fought, 107-100 win over the Chicago Bulls. 

Smart finished with seven points, but missed six of his eight field goal attempts. 

But he made the one that really mattered. 

“It kind of just happened,” said Smart who returned after suffering a sprained ankle injury in the preseason finale on October 19. “I was supposed to get the ball right to Isaiah (Thomas), but he was getting double (teamed) so I just made a play.”

It would be one of several plays made by Smart who had five assists off the bench in addition to grabbing five rebounds. 

Indeed, Smart contributed in several categories – mostly good but not all. 

There were his six turnovers which represented half of Boston’s overall team total. 

Still, head coach Brad Stevens was pleased overall in what Smart brought to the floor in his first game of the season. 

“I thought Marcus had a good first game back,” Stevens said. 

And while the plan initially was to have Smart’s minutes close to what they’ve been in the past (low-to-mid 20s), Jae Crowder’s injury forced Boston to play Smart just under 34 minutes. 

Welcome back, young fella!

“To be honest my lungs are on fire,” Smart said. “But it felt good being the first game back and being able to come out with a victory is always a good thing.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Wednesday night’s game.



Amir Johnson

It was a career night shooting the ball for Johnson who hit all four of his 3-point attempts - a career-high for 3-point makes and takes for Johnson – as part of a season-high 23-point night. Johnson also had five rebounds and an assist.

Isaiah Thomas

Thomas was once again leading the charge down the stretch for Boston while finishing with a double-double of 23 points and 10 assists along with three steals and a blocked shot.

Jimmy Butler

He has had plenty of better-shooting games than Wednesday, but Butler was huge for the Bulls down the stretch as he scored 11 of his team-high 23 points in the fourth quarter. 



Nikola Mirotic

He missed a couple of huge free throws in the game’s final minute, but still had a nice game with 17 points on 3-for-6 shooting. 



Dwyane Wade

The most decorated player on the floor, Wade was a non-factor when it mattered most for the Bulls. A lot of that had to do with the defense played by Avery Bradley and the Celtics as a team. Wade still managed to score 15 points on 5-for-13 shooting with four assists.

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

Jayson Tatum comes up big vs Paul George, Thunder

BOSTON – Jayson Tatum had another strong performance for the Boston Celtics, doing so against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Paul George, a player Tatum has acknowledged on more than one occasion he has looked up to. 

That admiration didn’t get in the way of Tatum delivering a big-time performance in helping Boston rally from six points down with 12.7 seconds to play, to knock off the Thunder 100-99.

Tatum tallied a double-double of 23 points and 11 rebounds. And doing so at 20 years and 17 days old, Tatum became the youngest player in franchise history to tally at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in the same game.

“It feels good,” Tatum said when asked about his first 20-plus point, 10-plus rebound game in the NBA. “But honestly, I’m just glad we won. That was a big win against a great team and it was fun playing out there today.”

Impacting the game on multiple levels offensively along with being a defensive and rebounding force are qualities often associated with George who became familiar with Tatum prior to last June’s NBA draft which is when the Celtics selected him with the third overall pick. 

“I reached out to him before he was coming into this draft and I got to talk to him,” said George, who had 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against the Celtics. “It’s an honor when you see young talent. I‘ve been inspired by many in this league so it’s great to inspire the younger generation in this league.”

And while Tatum may be young, he continues to prove himself up for whatever challenges await him. 

“We are going to keep throwing to the wolves and keep going to him in those moments,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

Boston closed out the game with an 8-1 spurt in the final 24.7 seconds, with Tatum either scoring or assisting on five of those points which includes assistant on Marcus Morris’ game-winner.

Tatum’s composure down the stretch comes from being influenced by many, including George who considers it “an honor” that Tatum holds him in high regard. 

“At the end of the day, us veteran guys want the younger guys to take the game further and advance much farther than what I was,” George said. “There’s going to be kids looking up to Jayson (Tatum) that are probably already looking up to Jayson (Tatum).”


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kyrie Irving getting second opinion on injured knee

1:15 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss Kyrie Irving getting a second opinion on his injured knee and what the Kyrie’s options are for the remainder of the season.

5:53 - Kyle Draper and Brian Scalabrine break down the Celtics stunning last second comeback win over the Thunder with multiple key players sitting out.

10:27 - Tom Curran and Jerod Mayo stop by Early Edition to play a game of Fill in the Blank that involves Gronkowski’s contract and the Patriots best offseason acquisition.