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Marcus Smart Got His Redemption In Another Big Time Thriller Against The Kings

OK I just have to ask, what the hell is with the Kings/Celtics that keeps taking years off my life? I get both teams are good, the Kings are playing well and all that, but my god two of these types of games in a matter of 8 days? Honestly dating back to the Wizards game on November 13th, every time the Celtics have taken the court they have done nothing but stress us the fuck out. The 5 point win in GS, the 1 point loss in SAC, the 3 point OT loss in LA, the 4 point loss after coming back from 19 in DEN, and now this. I know this is a team that never makes it easy on themselves or us, but would it kill them to just blow someone out already, christ. Especially when you've been rested for two days and are at home and the Kings are on a B2B. But nope, they are going to make us sweat it out because that's what life is like when you live and die with this team.

Thankfully, we have a happy blog today because lord knows we needed it after the dick stomping that happened on the West Coast. If MIL is going to keep winning like they are, and teams like TOR and MIA aren't going away, the Celts can't really afford any big time skids and while they were close losses, they still had lost 3 of their last 4. It was good to see them finally execute well down the stretch of a close game, and you have to be happy for Smart who was essentially the hero after it was his floater and shooting performance that did the Celts in against this team the last time they played.

We have a lot to get to, so we may as well dive right in.

The Good

- Redemption is a funny thing. My guess is most Celtics fans didn't have a problem with all the shooting that came from Marcus Smart in this game, probably because he was 7-12 from the field. That's the thing with Marcus, he's had a bunch of games that looked more like last night than the time he went 1-11 from three this season. Shooters shoot, and Marcus Smart has turned himself into a shooter

even in another game that came down to big offensive possessions late, with the outcome in the balance, it was Smart to took a jumper and had a nice little spin floater to seal the deal. This is why I had no problem with him taking the floater in SAC. You ride with your captain and if Brad loves and trusts him then so do I. He came up just short in SAC, he came through last night not just with his scoring, but with his defense. Winning plays coming out of his asshole. It's why you live with the off nights shooting, for the 5 steal, 1 block, and huge crunch time plays. It really felt like the Basketball Gods did him a solid given what happened last week, and as long as his left knuckle is OK then we have nothing to worry about.

Also, is this good?

- One of my favorite parts of this game was the second Jaylen Brown realized there was not a Kings defender on the planet that could stay in front of him. When the team needed an offensive jolt the most, it was Jaylen who put his head down, used his athleticism and took I dunno, something like 50,000 layups. Not only that, but he made them!

Buckle up folks because Jaylen is taking the leap right before our eyes. Between his aggressive approach and a shot chart that will make any Celtics fan blush, he also had that HUGE jumper with 1:26 left to respond to a huge SAC three. Not only that, but Jaylen also went 4-5 from the line which is music to my ears. I feel myself starting to trust Jaylen from the charity stripe and it feels weird but I also kinda like it. I also love how he didn't turn the ball over which tells me his handle has not only improved, but he's also playing with more control.  

It feels great to say Jaylen is playing at an All Star level and have that be fact and not hyperbole. A nice 19/7/2 on 47/36 with 1.8 3PM on the year, in a game down three starters it was great to see Jaylen step up.

- But we can't forget our other beloved son. You know the other wing on this team who is younger and also playing at an All Star level. Again fact, not hyperbole.

we all agreed that if the Celts were going to win this game, they were going to need their two Jays to step up offensively and I'd say 44 from the two of them qualifies. With Tatum it was a similar approach, a lot of it was at the rim, he got to the line 7 times which was great, and while he didn't hit a three he also didn't let his offensive struggles at times impact his defense which is the type of growth I can appreciate. He led the team in fourth quarter points with 7, most of that coming from the line but whatever that's good enough for me. 

I even didn't mind his brutal end of game shot considering he just made that exact play against the Knicks, but maybe not the best ATO from Brad in that specific moment. I also continue to enjoy the work Tatum is doing on the glass, shorthanded it all mattered.

- Speaking of on the glass, I think a few of you owe Enes Kanter an apology. I'm not sure what you expect from him, but for me it's legit low post scoring, great offensive rebounding, and being wildly inconsistent on defense. Isn't that exactly what he's been? So what's the problem? Guess what, they lose this game if not for the effort from Enes Kanter. Fact.

I honestly cannot remember a time the Celtics had an offensive rebounding big like this. It's a crazy concept for my brain to accept that this team can actually have more than one possession on an offensive trip. Early in the game it was Kanter's offense on the block that kept the Celts on life support considering they once again couldn't stop shooting like assholes, and honestly from what Kanter has given in his limited role, I can't imagine having a problem with him.

- Celts won the points in the paint battle 50(!!!)-26, had nearly double the fast break points, went 20-23 from the line, only turned it over 11 times, and actually won the rebounding battle including on the offensive glass. I don't know who this team is but I fucking like everything I just typed.

- With Kemba sidelined it was a no brainer to call Tremont Waters up since he'd been tearing it up in Maine, and naturally he stepped right in and made an immediate impact. By immediate impact I mean saved the game

so he airballed his first shot, like you wouldn't be nervous as hell. From that moment on though it was nothing but greatness from the true point guard. He was creating for others, his pocket passes kinda stunk but whatever, this team made their huge second quarter run in the 5 minutes he played to end the half, and we lived in a world where Brad Stevens trusted him with REAL fourth quarter crunch time minutes. When have we EVER seen Brad do that with a rookie point guard? Not only that, Tremont was tied for the team lead in 4th quarter FGA!

Watching him play he's so crafty and despite his size he kinda gets to wherever he wants and has that pass first mentality that is exactly what I want from a backup point guard. Hell of a debut for Tremont and I think we'll be seeing more of him this season for sure.

- I also love how Carsen and Tremont pressure the ball. I mean they get right up in their opposition's face and have the quickness to stay with them. They'll be picked on because of their size, but I love what they bring defensively. Oh and it was nice to see Carsen make a couple threes too.

- Admit it, Semi wasn't terrible. Brad's curveball works again!

The Bad

- It's hard to pick a place to start here, so how about the shooting. Don't let that 44% fool you, it was not that pretty for a large portion of this game. The Celts came out rested and put up a stellar 19 points on 42/14% shooting to start, and any sort of momentum they had was shot with their 41/14% performance again in the third quarter. I get guys were out, but the outside shooting on this team is getting pretty damn hard to watch. They finished 7-30 which is not good, and on the season rank 17th in 3PM and 21st in 3P%. For something so important to this team's offense, they sure do suck at it right now.

- Another game getting down by double digits mostly due to an early hole. The Celtics are playing with fire, even if it's been working for them lately

I'm sorry this is not a trend I want to see continue. Things will even out and the Celts won't be able to keep coming back from these deficits. Just don't start games like complete assholes and this shouldn't be a problem. A tall order I know, but just try and see what happens. 

- 22 lead changes and 7 ties. Can you pull away for me one time? 

- I don't really understand how a team can make 18 3PM against you and still win, but the Celts caught a break there. Just some piss poor closeouts, leaving legit shooters wide open, not exactly the lock down perimeter defense we're used to seeing and honestly it was an everyone problem. 

The Ugly

- It's time to say it. Buddy Hield owns the Boston Celtics. He owns Marcus Smart, he owns Jaylen Brown, he owns Jayson Tatum, I don't care who you throw at Hield, he owns them. What else can you say after he backed up his huge performance in SAC with a career night of 41 points and 11 3PM? If we want to celebrate everyone this team shuts down, we also have to acknowledge when someone absolutely manhandles them. It was shocking to see them allow this to happen again, but I suppose I didn't factor in the reality that Buddy Hield turns into Khris Middleton whenever he faces the Celtics. 

I here by officially enshrine Hield in the starting lineup of big time random Celtics killers. I have seen enough and I do not like it, but it's the truth. He owned them every step of the way, all game long.

- OK so the bench scoring is a problem, we can all see that right? Just 22 points total, outside of Timelord nobody was all that efficient, and it makes me a little nervous I can't lie. I get being shorthanded and all that, but this team is relying on a ton of young second unit players, and when Wanamaker goes 0-8 and won't stop turning it over it does not make me feel good.

- Grant is still 0-fer from deep on the season, a cool 0-20. If this doesn't prove to you he really is Marcus Smart 2.0 then I don't know what will. Seriously though, need him to make a three so he can just get it over with.

It was stressful, but a win is a win. It's too bad Kyrie is a little bitch and won't be here on Wednesday, but to me that means those Nets games are going to be harder than you think. They are 5-1 without Kyrie in the lineup and are playing well right now, and as you know home and homes can be tricky. Win both and I'll forget all about the 2-3 West Coast trip. At 12-4 this team is still in a great spot in the East and remain a perfect 6-0 at home. Not bad for a team missing three starters but then again, a scrappy overachieving underdog team is what I like to call the Brad Stevens special so I'm not even remotely surprised.