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Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart calls the Golden State Warriors ‘the hunted’ heading into Game 2

Vincent Frank

Marcus Smart and the Boston Celtics were definitely hunting threes in Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors.

Boston nailed on 21-of-41 from beyond the arc in a stunning 120-108 win over Golden State. Smart hit on four from distance as Boston overcame a 15-point second-half deficit to steal Game 1 on the road.

Heading into Game 2, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year is looking to take this mentality into the Chase Center Sunday evening.

“I would probably describe it as a lion out on the prowl hunting. They’re the hunted. We’re the hunters right now. So for me, I’m just out, I’m stealth, I’m waiting for my time to strike and my opportunity.”

Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart heading into Game 2, via The athletic

For a majority of Game 1, it looked like the Warriors were about to overmatch their Eastern Conference counterparts. They outscored Boston by the margin of 38-24 in the third quarter to take a 12-point advantage into the final stanza.

That’s when Marcus Smart and the Celtics went nuclear. They outscored the Warriors by the margin of 40-16 in the final 12 minutes, stunning the Warriors and their fans in San Francisco.

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This Marcus Smart menality has defined the Boston Celtics

marcus smart
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

From a practical standpoint, Golden State definitely is the hunted here. It joined the Chicago Bulls and other dynastic runs in earning its sixth NBA Finals appearance in eight years.

Thursday’s outing was Boston’s first NBA Finals appearance since 2010. To put this into perspective, that represented Stephen Curry’s first season in the Association. Teams such as the Warriors are undoubtedly going to be the hunted.

With that said, Smart’s mentality adds credence to the idea that this moment isn’t too big for a Celtics team that didn’t have a single player with an NBA Finals appearance before Thursday.

When Golden State and Boston did battle for the first time this season back in mid-December, the Celtics were in a completely different situation.

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They boasted a 14-14 record and were trying to figure things out under first-year head coach Ime Udoka. Boston lost the game at home by the score of 111-107 with Golden State moving to 24-5.

“I know this may be hard to believe,” Smart said, “but I was even more confident in those first two months just for the simple fact because I knew everything was new.”

Now that everything is clicking for Smart and his Celtics, they can take a stranglehold on the series Sunday evening. If nothing else, there’s no lacking in the confidence department for the longest-tenured member of the Celtics.