Celtics

Marcus Smart 'ecstatic' about All-Defensive selection, but wants a championship even more

Marcus Smart 'ecstatic' about All-Defensive selection, but wants a championship even more

Marcus Smart's reaction to being named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team was not all that surprising.

“I was ecstatic,” Smart told NBC Sports Boston in a phone interview. “I’m definitely appreciative of being recognized for what I do defensively. But I’m not in this for awards or accolades. I want to win games, win a championship.”

And that made for a bittersweet time for Smart, happy for his own individual accomplishment but more than willing to trade it in for another round or two of basketball for the Celtics. 

Smart also tweeted his appreciation and his desire for a title rather than individual honors.

With each passing day since their playoff exit, there has been a growing sense of discord surrounding the Celtics' season, which ended with them being eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals in just five games by the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Smart has been vacationing since the season ended and said he has not heard or paid much attention to the talk surrounding what happened and didn’t happen with the Celtics' season.

In his end-of-the-season interview with the media, Smart didn’t hesitate in defending Kyrie Irving from criticisms that his leadership was a problem for the team. 

“That’s bull[expletive]," Smart said at the time. "Not one of us on this team knows what Kyrie’s been through. Probably a few people in this world know what Kyrie goes through. It was hard for him as well. He was forced into a situation where it was business over the friendships, where he had to come into a situation knowing that this is a group of guys that had something going before I come here, how will I fit in? He didn’t want to disrupt that. And that says a lot.

Smart added, “This is Kyrie Irving we’re talking about. And he’s talking about coming in and disrupting us. We took him in with full arms and we tried to understand it. Like I said, we never really understood. We’re not in his shoes. So that’s just a bull(expletive) statement to say his leadership killed us. There’s four other guys out there, there’s 12, 13 other guys on the team, coaches and everything. So to blame it on one guy is bull[expletive].”

Another heavily talked-about criticism of the Celtics this past season centered around them having too much talent and not enough playing time or prominent roles to go around to keep most of the players happy. 

Smart acknowledged the team’s overflow of depth was among the challenges the players and coaching staff tried to work through, to no avail. 

“We had a lot of talent; we were stacked, one through five,” Smart said. “It just didn’t work.”

As the longest-tenured Celtic, Smart, who was drafted fifth overall in 2014, has been around the organization long enough to know that Danny Ainge, the team’s president of basketball operations, will not stand pat this summer. 

Smart said he has no idea what changes will be made, but Ainge’s track record makes it pretty obvious that the Celtics will have a different look when training camp opens in a few months. 

Smart said his confidence level in Ainge is “real high” when it comes to adding talent,  but said, “That's Danny’s job. That’s for the front office to figure out. But I do believe Danny and those guys will figure out what we need to do to be better next season.”

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Celtics get swimming lessons from Olympic medalists Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel

Celtics get swimming lessons from Olympic medalists Cullen Jones, Elizabeth Beisel

Sunday was an eventful off-day for several of the Boston Celtics' stars, who got to hang with some of the finest American swimmers we'll see this summer in Tokyo.

Kemba Walker got some schwag from Olympic gold medalist Cullen Jones and Elizabeth Beisel:

 

Elsewhere, Grant Williams got in the pool and took some lessons:

The swimmers teamed up with the Celtics to encourage more youths to pick up swimming. The benefits, as Williams explained, are manifold:

"It’s not only about learning a skill, but it’s just fun. I enjoyed being in the water," Williams said. "It felt pretty cool to be able to say you know how to swim, and it’s a workout. Some people hate lifting weights. Some people hate running. Swimming is one of those things that gets your whole body into it — your arms, your legs — and you’re breathing, so I think it not only allows you to live longer, but look a little bit better as you get up there in age."

Even Danny Ainge was getting in on the fun . . .

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Jaylen Brown (thumb) and Kemba Walker (knee) questionable for Celtics vs. Lakers

Jaylen Brown (thumb) and Kemba Walker (knee) questionable for Celtics vs. Lakers

The Boston Celtics are going to be facing a tough task on Monday afternoon as they look to snap a three-game losing streak. They'll be taking on the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers in the Lakers' only trip to Boston of the regular season.

But in the game, the Celtics may be down a few key players.

According to the team's official Twitter account, both Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker are questionable for the game while Robert Williams will once again be out with a hip injury.

Brown has missed the last two games, both losses, with a thumb injury while Walker missed Saturday night's loss to the Suns with a sore right knee. The team would probably like to get at least one of them back given their recent struggles (2-6 in their past eight games).

Brown has averaged 20 points, 6.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals per game this season for the Celtics and is shooting an efficient 49.2 percent from the field. Walker, meanwhile, is the team's leading scorer and he has averaged 22.1 points per game to go along with a team-high 4.9 assist per game. If both miss the game, the C's will seriously miss their respective presences. 

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That said, the Celtics could benefit from the Lakers not being at full strength for the contest. They have a couple of key players that will be questionable in the lead-up to the game and that includes Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

Davis has missed the last five Lakers games with the injury and the fact that he didn't practice on Sunday morning could make him truly questionable for the game. So far this season, Davis is averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game for the Lakers and has served as a perfect superstar complement to LeBron James.

As for Rondo, the former Celtic has been a great bench option for the Lakers and is averaging 7.6 points, 5.4 assists, and 3.8 rebounds per game as the team's sixth man. Rondo has missed the past three games with his finger injury and it remains to be seen if he'll be ready to return in front of the TD Garden crowd.

We'll have more updates on these players as tip-off for Monday night's game draws nearer.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Lakers, which begins Monday at 6 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.