Boston Celtics 5th quarter: Marcus Smart sets tone in team’s 8th straight win

CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 21: Marcus Smart
CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 21: Marcus Smart /

The Boston Celtics extended their winning streak to eight straight games Sunday night with a 104-88 victory over the Orlando Magic.

The Boston Celtics continue to find different ways to win basketball games this season.  Led by Jaylen Brown’s 18 points, the boys in green won their eighth consecutive game in a 104-88 victory over the Orlando Magic Sunday night.

In defending the Magic, the Celtics didn’t need to bring their best offensive game as the defense stepped up and held Orlando to 36.3 percent shooting.  Of course, the defensive effort was led by the intensity of Marcus Smart.

The guard out of Oklahoma State scored 11 points, but it was his near triple double that set the tone and really put the game out of reach in the second half.  Smart finished the game with a very impressive plus-32 in just 29 minutes.

"“We set our tone,” Smart said, via the Boston Herald.  “We made them do what we wanted them to do.  Then on the offensive end we moved the ball and we got to our spots quickly.  We just kept them on their heels all game.”"

Smart added eight rebounds, 8 assists and 3 steals to his stat line, but the one area that can’t be shown in the numbers is his hustle and the way he inspires those around him to pick up the defensive effort.

In holding the Magic to 88 points, the Boston Celtics as a team has held the opponent under 100 points in all 8 games of their current winning streak.  For the season, the team is the No. 1 rated defense.  No one would’ve thought the defensive cohesion would all come together this quickly.

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Impressively, the Celtics did not need much from Kyrie Irving, who scored just 11 points.  Al Horford added another double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.

What was said after the game

With the team’s defense playing at a high level, Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens is looking for the offense to catch up when it comes to consistency.

"“If our offense catches up to our defense, hopefully we’ll be better,” Stevens said following the game, via  “But our offense, we still leave way too many points on the board.”"

It is pretty scary to think how good this team will be once the offense does come around for complete games.  The ball movement is there, but they have been missing open looks, including make-able layups. 

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Next up, the Atlanta Hawks

The Boston Celtics travel to Atlanta to take on Dennis Schroder and the Hawks Monday night.  The team will look for its ninth straight win against a 2-8 team coming off an upset victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.