Celtics

Marcus Smart has successful return to the Celtics, his basketball family

Marcus Smart has successful return to the Celtics, his basketball family

BOSTON – The past few weeks have been tough on Marcus Smart, trying to navigate the delicate balancing act between being there for his family following the death of his mother Camilla Smart, while also making sure he’s there for his basketball family.

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston prior to Boston's 115-112 win over Charlotte, Smart acknowledged he thought long and hard about missing the first couple days of training camp to attend to some family-related matters.

Instead, he decided to start training camp with the Celtics, knowing he would miss some time during camp to take care of some additional family-related matters.

His reasoning for being with the Celtics at the very start of training camp was simple.

“I missed so much time with the guys (this summer),” Smart told NBC Sports Boston. “They had played pick-up and everybody was here but me, and I just wanted to get back.”

Before making the decision, Smart said he discussed the matter with his family.

“My family emphasized and encouraged me to get back (to Boston),” Smart said. “Especially with my mom (Camillia Smart); that’s what she would have wanted.”

As his mother Camillia Smart put up a strong, valiant effort in her fight against cancer, there were very few days where Smart wasn’t by her side.

That time with her meant everything to him.

But it also meant time away from working out in preparation for this season.

So for Smart to come into training camp in less-than-ideal condition, would have come as a surprise to no one.

But to his credit, Smart made a point of doing other things to ensure he would not have any significant added weight to his 6-foot-4 frame.

“I’ve been eating right,” he said. “It’s big, especially when you’re not playing and not exerting as much energy. You really have to watch what you eat. That was a really big focus for me this summer. When my mom went to the hospital, that’s where most of my time went; I was with her. I wasn’t doing much on the court, so I had to do more off the court and that was mainly watching what I was eating and just eating right.”

And the result has been Smart coming into training camp at around 220 pounds which Smart says has been pretty close to what he has played at weight-wise, for most of his career.

In his first preseason action on Sunday, Smart showed no signs of being sluggish by doing Smart-like things such as deflecting passes, contesting shots and committing timely fouls that put poor free throw shooters (Bismack Biyombo) on the line.

And in the second quarter, Smart got the ball on the block with a smaller defender on him. Rather than force the action, he drew the defense closer which allowed Jayson Tatum to spring free.

Tatum made the Hornets pay with a 3-pointer (Smart on the assist) that tied the game at 35 as the Celtics.

Later in the quarter, Smart’s pressure defense on Jeremy Lamb led to a Charlotte turnover with Boston ahead 48-43 at that time.

Smart wasn’t flawless, such as the possession in which he lost control of his dribble and turned the ball over.

But in addition to his usual hustle plays, Smart will knock down an occasional 3-pointer, like the one he drained in the second quarter that pushed Boston’s lead to 51-45. For the game, Smart finished with four points in 18 minutes of court time.

Overall, there was plenty for Smart to improve upon going forward.

But him being back on the floor with his family – his basketball family – made Sunday’s game a success regardless of the final score.

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How Tremont Waters fared for Maine Red Claws vs. Lakeland Magic

How Tremont Waters fared for Maine Red Claws vs. Lakeland Magic

With Tacko Fall out due to a toe injury, Tremont Waters was the center of attention for the Maine Red Claws on Thursday night.

Unfortunately for Maine, Waters was unable to propel them to victory as they fell to the Lakeland Magic, 106-103.

It was a rather inefficient day for Waters, as the Boston Celtics rookie had 14 points on 5-for-17 shooting to go along with 11 turnovers.

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.

He did provide a few nice highlights, though, which you can watch below:

With Waters struggling, it was Bryce Brown leading the way for the Red Claws with 27 points and 5 rebounds.

Waters and the Red Claws will look to bounce back Saturday at 7 p.m. with a home matchup against the Erie Bayhawks.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.

Kemba Walker explains keeping No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant: 'We want to keep his legacy going'

Kemba Walker explains keeping No. 8 to honor Kobe Bryant: 'We want to keep his legacy going'

Whenever Kemba Walker looks down at the No. 8 on his jersey, he'll be reminded of the Mamba Mentality.

While others in the NBA switched their jersey numbers in the wake of Kobe Bryant's tragic death, Walker instead decided to honor the Los Angeles Lakers legend by keeping his No. 8. The Boston Celtics guard spoke with ESPN's Rachel Nichols about what it means to wear that number going forward.

"Now, that number means even more. So every time I step on the court, I just want to give 100 percent for him," Walker told Nichols. "That's my goal for the rest of the year and for the rest of my career."

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.

In the immediate aftermath of Bryant's passing, Walker considered a number change. Evidently, he decided the best way for him to honor Bryant was to continue wearing No. 8 while putting 100-percent effort into every game, just as Kobe would.

"I had a talk about it with some close people in my circle," Walker said. "I definitely thought about giving it up but then I thought, I think Kobe would want me and allow me to wear it. We want to keep his legacy going. I know of a few of us that's kept it. We're all just going to go out there and do what we can to play as hard as possible for Kobe."

Watch below:

In 46 games this season, Walker has averaged 21.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.0 assists while earning his fourth All-Star selection.

A knee injury has kept Walker out of commission for the last few games, but the Celtics are hopeful they'll have him back in the lineup sooner rather than later.

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Rockets-Celtics, which begins Saturday at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live. You can also stream on the MyTeams App.