After an impressive Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics are advancing to the Eastern Conference finals. The last man standing between them and a shot at the championship was Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.
As for the Celtics, injuries continued to affect their squad in the post-season period. Robert Williams III has appeared in the lineup and now Boston may not have one of their most important pieces.
While they are optimistic he can play, Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart is suspected for Game 1 in Miami due to a right foot injury.
As the heart and soul of the Boston squad, not having Smart is a huge loss. The grit and intensity with which he plays the game will be crucial for the Boston Celtics against a team like the Heat.
Following the news, Stephen A. Smith gave his thoughts on ESPN’s “First Take.” He feels there is a possibility that without Smart will add weight to the Celtics’ All-Stars, stating:
“That puts more pressure on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on both ends of the floor.”
Smith also admitted that he doesn’t like Boston’s chance in the series if Smart is forced to miss a long stretch, saying:
“You need him in this series to progress to the NBA Finals.”
Can the Boston Celtics cool off without Marcus Smart?
Marcus Smart is the X-factor of the Celtics. Between his defense and improved play, he has been the main catalyst in the Boston Celtics’ rise to success to date.
Smart isn’t 100% sure to throw a wrinkle in everything and raise the question of whether Boston can get through the Heat without him. Stephen A. Smith may not think so, but can make a case in their favor.
For starters, Miami is also dealing with injuries. Kyle Lowry was like a shell of himself and left the Heat without one of their champion veterans. Both sides lack key players that are supposed to put them on an even playing field.
By far the biggest thing for the Boston Celtics is that they have the best player in the series. Jayson Tatum has taken his game to the next level and has been one of the top players this season. The pressure would have increased without Smart, but he was more than capable of carrying the load until he was able to return.
After facing off against Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tatum will be up against Jimmy Butler well. Even if Smart couldn’t make it through the ring, Boston looked good on its way to the NBA Finals for the first time in more than a decade.
https://www.sportskeeda.com/basketball/news-stephen-a-smith-opines-dpoy-winner-s-absence-boston-celtics-game-1-costly-miss?utm_source=feed&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=sportskeeda Stephen A. Smith opines DPOY winner’s absence for Boston Celtics in Game 1 could be a costly miss