The Boston Celtics have been led by their star duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown all season, yet neither of them took the lead during Game 6 versus the Philadelphia 76ers. Instead, guard Marcus Smart stepped up in a big way to help Boston extend the series during the 95-86 win.
Over the course of 82 regular season games, Smart never led the C’s in scoring once. In fact, he hadn’t in any of this year’s postseason games either until Thursday night. The longest-tenured Celtic had a team-high 22 points on an efficient 8-of-15 shooting from the field. He also had seven rebounds, seven assists, two steals and the highest plus-minus rating on the whole team.
First-year Celtic Malcolm Brogdon spoke to the media about Smart’s clutch performance and showered him with some high praise:
“He’s a vet guy, a fringe All-Star in this league,” Brogdon said, per Celtics reporter Chris Forsberg. “He’s been leading this team for years, led them to the Finals last year. So he’s ready for these situations. He made big shots [in Game 6]. He’s the point guard we need.”
Prior to Game 6, Smart wasn’t having a great series. In Games 1 through 5, he went 24-for-58 from the field (41%) and had 12 turnovers. Yet, when Boston needed him most in Game 6, he answered the call.
This play was the definition of Marcus Smartpic.twitter.com/aqSly6Drvc
— CelticsNation (57-25) (7/16) (@CookedByCeltics) May 12, 2023
Jayson Tatum couldn’t get anything going for the first three quarters of the contest, and Jaylen Brown was having a quiet night himself. So, Marcus Smart’s heroics on offense gave the Celtics some much-needed buckets when their stars were stalling.
For the best shot at making it past the Sixers, the C’s will need Smart to be on his A-game again on Sunday for a monumental Game 7.
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