Celtics sting Hornets, Marcus Smart erupts, and vintage Blake Griffin

Boston Celtics. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Celtics. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /
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Boston Celtics
Celtics guard Marcus Smart. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports /

Celtics player of the game: Marcus Smart erupts

While there were several players to choose from as the player of the game, it is hard to ignore the game Marcus Smart had.

The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year continues to show he is more than just a defensive stud with his opportunistic scoring and his passing.  Both were on full display in this blowout victory over the Charlotte Hornets Monday night.

Smart not only joined in on the fun behind the stripe with 22 points, including 6-of-9 shooting from beyond the stripe, he distributed a career-high 15 assists.  It is the assists that has proved Smart as a more than steady point guard in the NBA.  His vision of the court is also a reason why the team is the top offensive team in the league.

In all, setting up his teammates with good shots and picking his own spots to score is what has made Smart an even more impactful player this season.  In averaging 7.5 assists this season, Smart is doing his part in getting all his teammates involved in the offense.

"“Trying to get everybody the ball at the right time when they need it, where they like it and just get us some easy baskets by doing that,” Smart said following the game, via MassLive.com.  “It gets everyone’s confidence up.  And when people’s confidence is up, they tend to play a little harder on both ends of the floor.  We got a lot of great players and for me to be able to just find them and that’s what I’m trying to do.”"

In that respect, Smart’s vision and passing is a reason both Tatum and Jaylen Brown have become more lethal scorers so far this season.  The Celtics stars are already great at creating their own shots but having someone like Smart and also Brogdon distributing the rock where they like it makes them that more dangerous.

As to what Smart said about the confidence of other players on the court, you can see that in players like Grant Williams, Luke Kornet and Sam Hauser who have each become valuable contributors off the bench just adding to the depth of this Celtics squad.