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Tristan Thompson excited to bring Marcus Smart-like energy at center

/ by Nick Goss
Presented By TD Bank
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Marcus Smart gives the Boston Celtics tremendous energy, intensity and physicality at the guard positions.

We often see these attributes from Smart on the defensive end of the floor, where he's earned All-Defensive First Team selections in each of the last two seasons.

Tristian Thompson is hoping to provide that same passion and grit to the center position in Boston.

The nine-year veteran recently signed a free agent contract with the Celtics worth a reported $19 million over two years. 

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Thompson held his first press conference as a member of the Celtics on Thursday, and he talked about bringing Smart-like energy to the frontcourt.

"Smart is a bulldog and he's done a great job since he's come here Day 1 not backing down from anyone," Thompson said. "I think he's done that awesome at the guard position. For me, at the big position, bringing that same energy. You guys (media) have seen me enough to know how I play, and I'm going to play the exact same way when I was in a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey playing (the Celtics) in the playoffs or in the regular season.

"I'm going to bring that same grit and toughness. You saw it in the Miami series -- their bigs were playing at a high level. For me, it's to come in there and try to slow those guys down and make it tough for them. Like Big Perk (Kendrick Perkins) would say, 'Lay that wood.'"

Smart loves the idea of Thompson playing his kind of game against opposing big men. 

 
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"Another guy where it allows me not to guard so many of those bigger guys where I exert so much energy battling with those guys, and I can battle more with those guards and conserve energy on that end," Smart said.

"Having somebody like Tristan, who comes in and brings that energy and really makes your team better, and he's very good at what he does. He doesn't back down from anybody. When you have a player like that and another player like me, who has that same intensity and competitive nature, we're definitely going to have some battles and it's gonna be some good ones."

Toughness might be a bit overlooked in today's NBA with all of the emphasis on pace and shooting. It very much matters in the playoffs, though, and there's no question that with Smart and Thompson on the floor together, opponents likely won't have an easy time scoring on the Celtics or controlling the offensive and defensive glass.