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Marcus Smart
Marcus Smart
Position: G
Born: 03/06/94
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:227 lbs. / 103 kg.
Salary: $17,207,142
Horford, Kornet and Griffin operate in completely different roles, yet the team’s playmakers don’t seem to have any issue keeping the offense flowing with any big. This was Griffin’s night, who was in a rhythm on the roll and had one huge and-1 dunk attacking a closeout that brought the game to life. “I know I didn’t, (but) I’m sure everybody here and in the world didn’t know Blake still had it in the tank,” Marcus Smart told reporters in Toronto. “To be able to see him come out and give the energy he’s been giving us, that’s all you can ask for. It’s no wonder why everyone loves Blake. It’s no wonder why he’s on this team and he’s still here in this league. He understands what it takes to be a vet.”
In any case, the Celtics have essentially been daring opponents to keep up with them. Sometimes, Smart said, that may mean that the Celtics give up an extra offensive rebound or two as they look to break out and run. “When you’re not really boxing out as much and having as many guys stay back, your defense is going to take a hit,” Smart said. “But we’re going to get it together.” For his part, Tatum has clearly taken another step as a defender by averaging a career-best 1.2 blocks a game. He recently described himself and Brown as “two of the best two-way players in the league.”
Their defensive rating, which is a measure of points allowed per possession, ranked 14th in the league entering Tuesday. But over their past eight games, the Celtics have produced a top-10 defense — a sign of growth as they lean into Mazzulla’s up-tempo style while compensating for the injury absence of Robert Williams III, their starting center. “Our offense is so good that it hides some of our defensive flaws,” Marcus Smart, the team’s starting point guard, said in an interview. “But we’re continuously out here working, and it’s only going to get better with time.”