By Paul Flannery
BOSTON — Behold, the perfect Marcus Smart line: 11 points on 3-for-9 shooting, with five rebounds, nine assists, four steals, zero turnovers, and a plus-21 in 31 minutes. What’s not captured on the stat sheet was were all manner of Marcus Smart Plays (™) within those 31 minutes of action.
Like the times he dove into the Cleveland bench to save possessions. Or when he wrestled with some big man trying to establish position and denied an entry pass. Or when he ran the offense in the fourth quarter when things started to bog down in the halfcourt.
“People talk about him all the time,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Sometimes they focus on things that don’t matter, and the other times they focus on that he impacts winning. We are really glad he’s on our team.”
You can talk about cross-switches, tactical counters, and pick-and-roll coverage adjustments all night and all day. This was very simple: The Celtics were the tougher team in Game 2, a game they beat the Cavaliers 107-94 to take a 2-0 series lead in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Smart was the toughest player on the court....