Smart's smarts come into play on D

Smart's smarts come into play on D

HOUSTON — Regardless of whether you’re a Celtics fan, we all shake our heads in disbelief at that line Marcus Smart straddles more than any player in the NBA when it comes to discerning between playing good defense or flopping.

Here’s the thing.

Forget about the actual call being made when he draws a charge/flop.

Smart wins the moment he makes those plays and both players and spectators look on, unsure of what just happened.

There’s no more symbolic image of this playing out, than Houston’s James Harden looking dazed and amazed after being called for back-to-back offensive fouls against Smart in the closing moments of Boston’s 99-98 epic comeback win after trailing by 26 in the second half.

At that moment, Smart made the game more about his mental strengths than his physical ones.

“Just get up in him,” Smart said of his late-game strategy in defending Harden. “I know it sounds crazy to say with a guy of his caliber. But when he can get to dancing, feels comfortable, that’s with anybody, it’s tough to guard. When you get up in him you give him one way to go, one option to go... it’s hard.”

Those two game-changing plays by Smart were the fruits that come about when seeds of frustration are planted early.

Sometimes, Smart was aggressive on Harden, other times, not so much. When it mattered most, Harden gambled that using his physical strength against Smart was the way to go.

He was wrong in that moment; at least that’s what the game officials thought.

Let’s face it.

Smart will certainly make his share of bad decisions. None stick out more than him punching a picture frame that led to him missing 11 games (he had one piece of glass lodged in his hand, if it moved another inch or so, he could have been lost for the season) and needing 20 stitches to close the cut.

But it’s rare that he makes a bad decision in close games.

Now, could the execution of those decisions at times use some work?


But the actual late-game choices he makes, by and large, are the right ones, which is why Celtics coach Brad Stevens has him on the floor down the stretch most nights.

Indeed, it is Smart’s smarts - see what I did there - that set him apart from most of the NBA’s top defenders.

And the Houston Rockets, who host Boston on Saturday night, know this as well as any team on the Celtics’ schedule.


Celtics should get word Friday on Irving's status

Celtics should get word Friday on Irving's status

BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving has had a second opinion on his sore left knee, and a decision on what the next step will be is expected to be made within the next day or two, according to a league source.

 The medical officials involved in the initial evaluation will meet with those who examined him today, to compare notes and determine what’s in the best interest of Irving going forward.

 While surgery is a possibility, the source indicated that the current course of treatment, which consists primarily of rest, remains a consideration. 
The concerns regarding Irving’s knee are to be of the short-term variety, with the source indicating reports that there are long-term concerns with the knee are “just wrong.” 

 In his first season with the Celtics, Irving has appeared in 60 games in what has been one of his most efficient seasons as a scorer. 
He’s averaging 24.4 points per game while shooting a career-high 49.1 percent from the field. The five-time all-star is shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range this season in addition to dishing out 5.1 assists along with grabbing a career-high 3.8 rebounds.


Celtics assistant McCarty to become coach at Evansville

AP Photo

Celtics assistant McCarty to become coach at Evansville

BOSTON – The first member of the Brad Stevens’ coaching tree is about to take off. Celtics assistant coach Walter McCarty is expected to be named head coach at Evansville University.

McCarty, an Evansville, Ind. native, was selected over a field of candidates that included former Indiana University standout Calbert Cheaney and David Ragland who, like McCarty, is an Evansville native.

The 6-foot-10 McCarty, a 10-year NBA veteran with seven-plus spent with the Celtics, has been part of Stevens’ coaching staff since 2013. The former Celtic has been a college assistant coach at Louisville (2007-2010) in addition to the NBA’s Indiana Pacers (2010-2011).