Philadelphia — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart suffered a right ankle sprain in the second quarter of their 135-87 win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center and hasn’t returned.
Smart drove down the fairway and climbed onto the foot of Joel Embiid at the 76ers center, bending his ankle awkwardly and landing on the ground in a pile.
After spending several moments on the court in pain, he eventually got up and sat on the bench. Then he returned to the court, took two free throws – both lost – and exited the game, heading to the locker room with the help of an athletic coach.
“I rolled his ankle really bad,” Celtics coach Im Odoka said after the match.[He] I climbed onto Joel’s foot on the way, noticeably limping.
“We’ll check in on him tonight, obviously tomorrow, and see how he feels. He didn’t look very good on the way out, but we’ll see.”
Smart’s injury was the only thing that seemed to get the Celtics wrong (34-25), who won nine straight games and 11 out of 12 after defeating their older rivals on Tuesday, a match involving Jason Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Philadelphia equaled 57 points he scored when he came out for the last time in the late third quarter.
Boston led wire to wire and, at 51 points, fired over 56% from the field and 55% from 3-point range while carrying the 76ers (34-23) to 28.7% shooting and 8-for-32 wide from 3-point range .
“We didn’t have a lot,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “Offensively I thought they were as poor as you’ve ever seen us, and defensively, they made 3s more than we did in 2s. So, they got everything in every game. They were better at everything. Training, playing, if it was. There is another category thing, they were better at it.
“There’s not much you can do about it tonight.”
There hasn’t been much anyone has been able to do about the Celtics since Smart’s comeback from a four-way injury on January 23, which coincided with Boston’s season completely turning around. Including Tuesday’s win, the Celtics outperformed their opponents by 253 points over those 12 games — more than double the Memphis Grizzlies’ points (124 points) over the same run. They outperformed their opponents by 21.1 points per game during that period, and according to Elias, this is the second-largest 12-game difference in a single season in NBA history (behind only 1970-71 bucks).
Boston has also now won three consecutive games on the road by at least 30 points, the first team in NBA history to do so.
Smart, 27, who signed an off-season contract extension last season with the Celts — the only team he’s played for since being drafted to sixth in 2014 — is averaging 11.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season.