Celtics

Danny Ainge seemingly approved of Marcus Smart's hustle play in overtime

Danny Ainge seemingly approved of Marcus Smart's hustle play in overtime

The Boston Celtics weren't able to emerge with a win against the Los Angeles Clippers despite fighting hard throughout the evening. They came up just short in the 107-104 loss, but they had several notable hustle plays.

That said, no play was more notable than Marcus Smart's in overtime. With just over 30 seconds left and the Celtics trailing by three, the Clippers took the ball up the court. Lou Williams was holding the ball and attempting to get it to Kawhi Leonard, but Smart guarded the dribble handoff well.

Williams attempted to make the pass but Smart got a hand on it. And before the ball went out of bounds, Smart dove after the ball and successfully threw it back at Leonard's foot while just inches off the ground. The ball skittered out of bounds and it became Celtics ball.

The play created an extra possession for the C's and gave them the opportunity to tie the game up once again. It also drew the attention of Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who seemingly gave the play his stamp of approval on Twitter.

Smart is no stranger to hustle plays. He usually makes at least one or two a game with his elite instincts. This play was particularly timely, so it's no surprise that Ainge was happy with it.

Against the Clippers, Smart totaled 15 points, eight assists, three rebounds, and two steals. He has been a big part of the Celtics' success so far this season and will continue to be a key part of the team's core moving forward.

WATCH: Jayson Tatum nails clutch, game-tying three>>>

Don’t miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Nuggets, which tips off Friday at 8 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live, then Mike & Scal have the call of the game at 9 p.m. You can also stream the game through the MyTeams App.

How Tremont Waters, Romeo Langford fared for Red Claws vs. Westchester Knicks

How Tremont Waters, Romeo Langford fared for Red Claws vs. Westchester Knicks

The Maine Red Claws came into the Westchester County Center Saturday night looking to extend their win streak to three. No strangers to furious late-game rallies of late, Maine got another such scare just when things were looking comfy. 

The Westchester Knicks seized control in the fourth quarter, using a 14-2 run to take a 97-94 lead with six minutes to go. But that momentum was short-lived. Sparked by a three-pointer from 2019 second-round pick Tremont Waters, the Claws closed the game out on a 16-6 run to give them their 10th win in 11 games.

Here's a look at Waters and 2019 first-round pick Romeo Langford’s best highlights, and their final stat lines.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

TREMONT WATERS

As usual, the rookie from LSU — who grew up in New Haven, just an hour north of the Knicks’ arena in White Plains, N.Y. — was one of Maine’s steadiest. With an effective field goal percentage of 63 and a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, he took command when the Claws needed him most. He finished with 21 points and six rebounds, all of them defensive.

ROMEO LANGFORD

It wasn’t a pretty night for Langford, who started the evening 2 for 10 from the floor and finished 33 percent shooting for 14 points. But despite the lack of stat sheet appeal, he was a team-high plus-14 in 33 minutes.

After Waters, the two most productive nights belonged to Yante Maten and Kaiser Gates. Maten, the former SEC Player of the Year at Georgia, was 8 for 12 from the floor for a team-high 23 points and nine rebounds despite being a team-worst minus-6. Gates was 3 for 8 from three-point range and a plus-10, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds.

The Red Claws are now 8-1 in January, good enough for second in the G League’s Eastern Conference. Optimism continues to bloom with this young but talented roster.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Enes Kanter out, four other Celtics dealing with injuries before game vs. Pelicans, Zion Williamson

Enes Kanter out, four other Celtics dealing with injuries before game vs. Pelicans, Zion Williamson

The one consistent thing about the Boston Celtics season so far has been their injury situation. Week in and week out, key players on their rosters have been dealing with injuries.

And ahead of the C's Sunday night game against the New Orleans Pelicans, five players are listed on their injury report.

Two Celtics have already been declared out, big men Enes Kanter and Robert Williams. Here's a look at the rest of their injuries per the Celtics official Twitter account.

The good news is that Marcus Smart appears to be okay and barring a setback, he should play. Smart has been scoring more of late and his tenacious defense and energy have provided the C's a boost during their three-game winning streak.

LIVE stream the Celtics all season and get the latest news and analysis on all of your teams from NBC Sports Boston by downloading the My Teams App.

And Smart's presence will be needed with Brown and Tatum questionable again.

Brown and Tatum both missed the team's win over the Magic with their injuries. Tatum is dealing with a groin injury that he suffered against the Memphis Grizzlies and though his injury designation of "questionable" indicates that this shouldn't be a long-term issue, the C's will still be cautious in bringing him back.

As for Brown, he has dealt with an ankle sprain and a thumb injury over the course of the past couple of weeks. He has missed four of the team's last five games but played a part in the Celtics' 32-point win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

If the Celtics are without their questionable players and Kanter, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis will be in the spotlight once again. Both played well against the Magic but the team would still benefit from getting some of their depth back, especially in a matchup with an energetic New Orleans Pelicans team that just got Zion Williamson back from injury.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Pelicans, which begins Sunday at 5:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 6 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.