If the Boston Celtics are going to tie up their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Miami Heat, they’ll have to do so without Marcus Smart.
Smart went down in brutal fashion in the third quarter, screaming in pain as he turned his ankle. Initially, it seemed to be a serious injury. In shocking fashion, Smart retured a short while later to nail a three and help keep Boston in the game.
In the end, Smart and the Celtics could not overcome the whopping 23 turnovers they committed in what was ultimately an ugly 109-103 home loss in Game 3.
Boston Celtics behind the eight-ball with Marcus Smart out
The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Smart missed Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals due to injury. Boston dropped that game in Miami by the score of 118-107.
Now down 2-1 in the best-of-seven series, a loss at home in Game 4 would pretty much end this series and set the Heat up with what will likely be an NBA Finals matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
To say that Smart is important to the Celtics’ success would be an understatement. He returned from injury in Game 2, helping Boston blow the Heat out in South Beach by the score of 127-102. That game saw Smart score 24 points while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out 12 assists in a great all-around performance.
- Marcus Smart stats (2022 NBA Playoffs): 15.8 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 42% shooting
Boston’s longest-tenured player, Smart is key to its success on both ends of the court. The Celtics are also void of a traditional point guard with the former first-round pick sidelined.
We’ll likely see a combination of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Payton Pritchard and Derrick White handle the point throughout Game 4. That’s a less-than-ideal scenario given that Boston turned the ball over 23 times with Marcus Smart on the court Saturday evening.
The good news? Stud center Robert Williams (knee) will be active in Game 4 after missing the last outing.