Smart's smarts come into play on D

Smart's smarts come into play on D

HOUSTON — Regardless of whether you’re a Celtics fan, we all shake our heads in disbelief at that line Marcus Smart straddles more than any player in the NBA when it comes to discerning between playing good defense or flopping.

Here’s the thing.

Forget about the actual call being made when he draws a charge/flop.

Smart wins the moment he makes those plays and both players and spectators look on, unsure of what just happened.

There’s no more symbolic image of this playing out, than Houston’s James Harden looking dazed and amazed after being called for back-to-back offensive fouls against Smart in the closing moments of Boston’s 99-98 epic comeback win after trailing by 26 in the second half.

At that moment, Smart made the game more about his mental strengths than his physical ones.

“Just get up in him,” Smart said of his late-game strategy in defending Harden. “I know it sounds crazy to say with a guy of his caliber. But when he can get to dancing, feels comfortable, that’s with anybody, it’s tough to guard. When you get up in him you give him one way to go, one option to go... it’s hard.”

Those two game-changing plays by Smart were the fruits that come about when seeds of frustration are planted early.

Sometimes, Smart was aggressive on Harden, other times, not so much. When it mattered most, Harden gambled that using his physical strength against Smart was the way to go.

He was wrong in that moment; at least that’s what the game officials thought.

Let’s face it.

Smart will certainly make his share of bad decisions. None stick out more than him punching a picture frame that led to him missing 11 games (he had one piece of glass lodged in his hand, if it moved another inch or so, he could have been lost for the season) and needing 20 stitches to close the cut.

But it’s rare that he makes a bad decision in close games.

Now, could the execution of those decisions at times use some work?


But the actual late-game choices he makes, by and large, are the right ones, which is why Celtics coach Brad Stevens has him on the floor down the stretch most nights.

Indeed, it is Smart’s smarts - see what I did there - that set him apart from most of the NBA’s top defenders.

And the Houston Rockets, who host Boston on Saturday night, know this as well as any team on the Celtics’ schedule.


Report: Celtics have interest in signing Euro League star

Report: Celtics have interest in signing Euro League star

The Celtics are among several NBA teams with interest in signing Euro League star Brad Wanamaker, according to international basketball reporter David Pick.

The Orlando Magic, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat also have interest in Wanamaker, according to Pick.

Wanamaker, 28, a 6-foot-4 guard, went undrafted out of the University of Pittsburgh in 2011. He's averaged 14.9 points and 4.9 assists and shot 43 percent, 36 percent from 3, in three Euro League seasons.

The Celtics got a solid season from European free-agent signee Daniel Theis of Germany last season (5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds in 14.9 minutes a game before a knee injury in March. 


Report: Miami guard Brown to have second workout with Celtics

Report: Miami guard Brown to have second workout with Celtics

University of Miami guard Bruce Brown, who's from Boston, played in the area in high school and is a possibility when the Celtics pick 27th on Thursday night in the NBA draft, will work out for Boston for a second time this week, Keith Smith of RealGM reports.

Smith, 6-foot-5, 195 pounds, saw his draft stock drop after his sophomore season ended with a foot injury in January.

The defensive-minded point guard is an inconsistent shooter (27 percent on 3-pointers last season) but Smith reports he fits the mold of Avery Bradley, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart.

Brown was born in Boston and played at  Wakefield (Mass.) High and at Vermont Academy. 

Also visiting the Celtics for a second workout, according to Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune, is Cincinnati guard Jacob Evans, another defense-first guard who's bigger (6-6, 210), but similar to Brown.