Marcus Smart, playing with heavy heart, does 'little things' to help Celtics get a big win

Marcus Smart, playing with heavy heart, does 'little things' to help Celtics get a big win

BOSTON -- Marcus Smart was not feeling great prior to Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, and it had little to do with his sore oblique injury or the cold that kept him off the floor on Wednesday against Miami. 

Smart’s mind was on his late mother Camellia Smart who would have been 65 years old today. 

“I think about her all the time,” he told NBC Sports Boston prior to Friday’s 108-95 win over Denver. “All the time.”

Smart, who had nine points on 4-for-5 shooting in Friday’s win, has spent the bulk of his NBA career playing through an array of injuries and ailments, displaying the kind of mental toughness that he credits his mother instilling in him at an early age. 

The way he plays is indeed a living testament to the influence his mother had on him, both as a person and as a basketball player. 

That’s why all the talk and questions Smart has gotten lately about maybe taking a game off here or there and giving some of the many ailments he has time to heal up, is just chatter. 

“If I can play, I want to play,” he said.

And he did just that on Friday against the Nuggets, doing the little things that for years have contributed to some of Boston’s biggest wins. 

Near the end of the first quarter, Smart was guarding Gary Harris who tried to attack him off the dribble only for Smart to be in the spot Harris was trying to get to. 

That led to Harris losing the ball briefly. 

But just as important, it disrupted the Nuggets offense which led to a miss. 

And that miss was followed by a Celtics defensive rebound that was soon converted into a lay-up for Jaylen Brown that increased Boston’s lead to 28-18. 

In the third quarter, he forced Paul Millsap to turn the ball over which soon led to a 3-pointer by Kemba Walker which increased Boston’s lead to  63-53. 

Boston steadily pulled away for the win which extended the Celtics’ home winning streak to nine in a row, and improved their record to 16-5 - only the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks have a better overall record than Boston.  

And Smart has certainly been a big part of the team’s success as he once again played a key role despite still having some soreness from his oblique injury. 

Of course, Wednesday’s game was just one of 82 on the regular-season docket. 

But every win, regardless of the opponent, should be cherished. 

Cherishing all victories? 

Chalk that up to another lesson taught by Momma Smart.

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Celtics vs. Heat start time changed to 8 p.m. ET after Lakers vs. Clippers postponed

Celtics vs. Heat start time changed to 8 p.m. ET after Lakers vs. Clippers postponed

The Boston Celtics were originally scheduled to take on the Miami Heat starting at 7:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

However, the time of the game has changed in the wake of the NBA's decision to postpone the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Los Angeles Clippers game.

The battle for L.A. was originally scheduled to take place at 10:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday and would air after the conclusion of Celtics-Heat on TNT. But with the former game no longer being played in the aftermath of Kobe Bryant's death, TNT has elected to move back the start of the Celtics game into the 8 p.m. ET window.

The Celtics will enter Tuesday night's game with a record of 30-15 while the Heat sit at 31-14, pending the result of their Monday night game against the Orlando Magic.

Pregame coverage of the contest will begin on NBC Sports Boston at 7 p.m. ET with Celtics Pregame Live.

Kendrick Perkins explains how Kobe Bryant's passing made him squash beef with Kevin Durant

Kendrick Perkins explains how Kobe Bryant's passing made him squash beef with Kevin Durant

The NBA was dealt a massive blow on Sunday afternoon when Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash.

The shocking death of the 41-year-old NBA legend prompted an outpouring of emotion from a number of Boston-based athletes. But perhaps one of the most touching ones came from former Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins.

Perkins reached out to Kevin Durant on Twitter and sent him a message of love in hopes of ending a Twitter beef that had taken place between the two in recent weeks. Here's a look at his Twitter message to Durant.

In an exclusive phone interview with NBC Sports Boston, Perkins opened up about exactly why Kobe's death prompted him to send that message to Durant.

"I'm not about to let that go another day down the drain behind a B.S. Twitter beef that's not called for," Perkins said to NBC Sports Boston's Gary Tanguay. "And our brotherhood, our friendship is more valuable."

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Perkins also hoped his message to Durant would inspire others to bury the hatchet with anyone they were having problems with but still loved.

"And I also wanted the world to see, hey, if you having problems with a loved one, a friend, a family member, whoever, hey. Life is too short. The next 60 seconds is not promised. Nip that in the bud and heal those wounds with those people that you love and get past it. That's what I wanted to do," Perkins said. "And I wanted to reach out to KD to let him know like, I love you bro. And I'm not afraid to let the world see that I love you."

Durant has yet to respond to Perkins, but the two former teammates -- and brothers, as Perkins noted -- will likely reconcile. And in a way, that's a beautiful way to tribute Bryant's untimely and tragic passing.

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