Celtics

Ginobili shows C's he's still as clutch as ever

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Ginobili shows C's he's still as clutch as ever

The days of San Antonio’s Manu Ginobili scoring a ton of points are long, long gone. 

These days he’s a selective sniper, an aging star who can still rise to the occasion when the game matters most and time on the clock is running down. 

Boston saw this play out first-hand on Friday in a 105-102 loss to San Antonio with the game-winning basket coming from – who else?  - Ginobili. 

He would finish with 11 points, including a 3-pointer just before the half and then the game-winner with five seconds to play. 

“The two plays made at the end of the half and the end of the game were vintage Manu,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “I said before the game, he’s one of the best players at the end of quarters I’ve ever seen. And now I wish I hadn’t said it.”

With the score tied at 102, a fade-away jumper by LaMarcus Aldridge was off the mark only to be rebounded by Ginobili. 

Defended by Jayson Tatum at the time, the Spurs were able to get a switch with Ginobili being defended by Al Horford. 

Horford, one of the better big men defensively when it comes to switches, contested Ginobili’s shot about as well as you can. 

It didn’t matter. 

Ginobili’s shot hit nothing but the bottom of the net, lifting the Spurs (18-8) to victory while handing the Celtics (22-5) their first loss after four consecutive wins. 

While disappointed with the result, Stevens had no issues with how the Celtics defended what turned out to be the game-winning shot by Ginobili.

“We did a great job of guarding it,” Stevens said. “Al went out; Al challenged high. They ended up, Jayson tried to push him over the screen … and Al challenged (the shot). Hat-tip to Ginobili; that’s all that is. That’s great defense.”

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Celtics achieve their biggest offseason goal: Re-signing Marcus Smart

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File photo

Celtics achieve their biggest offseason goal: Re-signing Marcus Smart

BOSTON -- Mission accomplished.

The Celtics went into the offseason planning to bring back all their core players from last season’s squad, which came within a victory of getting to the NBA Finals.

The last bit of business is now taken care of with Marcus Smart coming to terms on a four-year, $52 million contract.

A restricted free agent this summer, Smart was unable to secure an offer sheet from another team. The Celtics had maintained all along they would match any offer within a reasonable amount. 

They never put a specific number on how high they would go, but most league executives believed a team would have to sign Smart to an offer sheet of at least $15 million in order for the Celtics to allow him to walk.

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Signing Smart solidifies what’s shaping up as one of the deepest backcourts in the NBA. All-Star Kyrie Irving and Jaylen Brown are the starters, with Smart and Terry Rozier coming off the bench.

There were moments during negotiations when Smart was reportedly disappointed and frustrated by the lack of attention the Celtics were paying him through the process. But Boston maintained all along that re-signing him was its No. 1 priority, and that position never changed.

Even when Smart’s return was far from a given, the Celtics still had a roster that was viewed by many as one of the best in the NBA. When LeBron James left Cleveland to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, that instantly catapulted the Celtics to the top of the Eastern Conference. (Story continues below.)

 

At 1:26 mark: A. Sherrod Blakey, Kyle Draper, Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek discuss the Smart deal prior to its finalization

 

Now with Smart set to return, Boston’s position among its Eastern Conference brethren remains strong as ever, even with the Raptors trading for two-way standout Kawhi Leonard.

The Celtics' journey towards the NBA Finals will involve them leaning on a variety of players with a varying amount of strengths and skills. That's why re-signing Smart was so important.

The recipe for postseason success is an unpredictable one; it requires having as much elite versatility on the roster as possible. That's what Smart brings: An ability to impact games when there’s a great need for toughness defensively, which is often in the closing moments of matchups.

DJ BEAN

That’s why you’ll often find Smart on the floor in close games, regardless of how well or woeful he might be shooting that night.

Because as much as the analytics folks of the world would love to see better numbers by Smart when he’s on the floor, it always comes back to winning games for the 6-foot-4 guard.

And as much of a head-scratcher he may be when it comes to shooting, he never loses sight of the ultimate goal -- winning -- which is why Boston’s quest towards Banner 18 is even more alive and well with his return.

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kawhi Leonard finally traded; Marcus Smart back to the Celtics?

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NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Kawhi Leonard finally traded; Marcus Smart back to the Celtics?

1:26 - Marcus Smart and the Celtics are reportedly finalizing a 4 year contract. A. Sherrod Blakey and Kyle Draper join Gary Tanguay and Trenni Kusnierek to discuss the deal and debate if the Celtics are overpaying for Smart.

6:17 - Kawhi Leonard has finally been traded. The Spurs shipped him to the Raptors in a package centered around DeMar DeRozan. Cedric Maxwell breaks down who got the best end of the deal and if he was surprised Kawhi got sent to Toronto.

11:18 - Darrelle Revis has officially retired from the NFL after 11 seasons, including one season with the Patriots where he won his only Super Bowl ring. Chris Gasper along with Tanguay and Trenni discuss Revis’ legacy.  

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