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Another trade deadline has passed, and Marcus Smart is still a member of the Boston Celtics. Not only is he still here, he’s playing well too.
So will the Celtics, who will put their eight-game winning streak on the goal line against Joel Embiid and the 76ers on Tuesday night.
The Smart and Celtics have both come a long way from the first swing weeks and months of the season, with veteran guardsmen calling out Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the press and people wondering if Im Odoka was on a swing.
The guard, who spent eight years of his career with the Celtics, said retired shooter-turned-host JJ Riddick during a live taping of the “The Old Man & The Three” podcast, said he “feels relieved” to stay in Boston despite a business talk. continuous.
“You know, I never lose sleep [about trade rumors],” he said. “Some of my teammates do. Every year, they look at me like, “How do you do that while you’re still here?” And I’m like, “I told you: I let my game do the talking.” But there is a feeling that I can finally go play ball. You don’t have to worry about these things anymore. All your energy can go into what you’re supposed to do on the field.”
Smart has been doing really well lately. His 14.2 points per game, his shooting percentage (45.2), his offensive rating (118) and his defensive rating (99) so far in February are his best monthly averages this season, across the basketball reference.In particular, his efficiency near the basket is arguably the biggest improvement. Over his last eight games, Smart has fired 71.4% in attempts less than 10 feet from the basket compared to 54.8% for the entire season, according to NBA.com.
Of course, his three-point strokes are still somewhat of an adventure: He’s only fired marginally over his last eight contests (31.8 percent) from his seasonally average of 30.5 percent. However, don’t expect him to stop shooting the ball.
“I mean, we can sit here and talk about my shooting, I’m probably not the best shooter in the world,” he admitted. “But let’s not forget that I still hold the record for most triples in a Celtics uniform match. But it’s a popularity contest. People have men they like the most, so no matter what those people do, they will always be right, and no matter what those people do.” They’ll always be wrong… I play the game to win, and individual stats will come with it, but for me, it’s just about winning. Those people who calculate stats, that just tells you their knowledge of basketball.”
But even if the criticism of his offensive game is a little annoying, Smart has nothing but respect for the Celtics’ followers who show up every night to cheer for the team. In fact, he told me Redick Boston fans are “the most loyal fans you’ll ever play against.”
“The way they cheer us up in the park, the way they boo your ass when we’re not doing what we’re supposed to – they tell us,” Smart said. “They keep us grounded. Only the best fans do. It’s like a good friend: You don’t want the person who always says yes; you want the person who will be honest with you no matter what. And that’s Boston fans.”
The best part of the interview, though, was probably only when Redick hacked a video of Smart’s greatest ever failures on the field and had the goalkeeper break down why he did them. Never change, Marcus.
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