Marcus Smart

NBA playoffs: Marcus Smart injury hurts chances of Warriors-Celtics Finals

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USATSI

NBA playoffs: Marcus Smart injury hurts chances of Warriors-Celtics Finals

As recently as January, the Warriors were on record as viewing the Celtics as the most likely team to make it to the Finals out of the Eastern Conference. But after a recent development, Boston's chances of making it that far have taken a significant hit.

Celtics guard Marcus Smart will miss at least the first two rounds of the playoffs with a torn oblique, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

It's a considerable loss for Boston, as Smart ranks fifth on the team with an average of 27.5 minutes per game this season. In addition to his 8.9 points and 4.0 assists per contest, Smart brings an intensity and toughness to the Celtics that they will certainly miss during his absence.

[RELATED: Kerr provides positive update on Curry's right foot sprain]

As the East's fourth seed, Boston will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. That'll be the first step in what just became a much tougher path to the Finals. It remains to be seen if either the Celtics or Warriors will indeed make it that far, but at this point, you'd have to give one side a substantially greater chance of getting there than the other.

Brad Stevens dubs two poor-shooting Celtics 'our Splash Brothers'

Brad Stevens dubs two poor-shooting Celtics 'our Splash Brothers'

Sorry, Brad Stevens, but the Splash Brothers reside in Oakland, not Boston.

After the Celtics beat the Nets on Monday, the Celtics coach was asked about the 3-point shooting of guard Marcus Smart and backup center Aron Baynes.

"Those are our Splash Brothers," Stevens told the media, which laughed at the comment. "Yeah, I mean, those guys have been shooting it [well]."

That depends on your definition of "well."

Smart made 4 of 10 from 3-point range against the Nets, but on the season, he's shooting 36.5 percent from 3-point range. That's fifth among Celtics who play more than 10 minutes per game. With that percentage, Smart is tied for 69th place among qualified NBA players.

Smart has made 74 of his 203 attempts this season. Some guy named Stephen Curry has made ... wait for it ... 203 3-pointers this season.

Baynes is even worse, albeit with a smaller sample size. After making 2 of 5 3-point attempts Monday, Baynes now is shooting 32.6 percent (15 of 46) this season. Baynes hasn't taken nearly enough 3-pointers to qualify for the NBA leaderboard, but he would be tied with Miami Heat forward Kelly Olynyk for 127th place.

When Stevens' comment was relayed to them, Smart and Baynes got a chuckle out of it.

"I just heard it," Smart told reporters in Boston. "That's funny. Nah, we're nowhere near that."

"I've heard it, but not referring to myself," Baynes said.

In case you're curious, Curry is shooting 45.1 percent from 3-point range, the fifth-best percentage in the NBA this season. Klay Thompson is shooting 37.9 percent, but that's because of an early season shooting slump. In January, he's lighting the nets on fire to the tune of a 47.5 3-point percentage.

So, Brad, we understand you probably were trying to be funny. But please don't disgrace the Splash Brothers nickname like that ever again.

NBA rumors: Marcus Smart, Celtics finalizing hefty contract extension

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AP

NBA rumors: Marcus Smart, Celtics finalizing hefty contract extension

It appears the Celtics are willing to pay up for Marcus Smart.

Boston is finalizing a four-year contract with the combo guard in the range of $48 million to $52 million, Yahoo Sports' Jordan Schultz reported Wednesday, citing a source.

The restricted free agent averaged 10.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals over 54 games last season. He shot below 37 percent from the field overall and just over 30 percent from deep.

Smart missed the final 15 games of the regular season and the first four games of the playoffs after tearing the UCL in his right thumb.

Boston is widely considered the best team in the Eastern Conference heading into the 2018-19 season.

The 76ers should provide a formidable challenge, and the Raptors could give the Celtics a run for their money if Kawhi Leonard is fully healthy and chooses to suit up this season.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller