After a 57-25 season, the one focus of the C’s is winning Banner No. 18 and Trae Young, the Hawks or any other team in the way of their pursuit back to the NBA Finals better watch out. At least, that is what Marcus Smart is saying.
With the talent and depth this team has, there is a tendency to let down which is why they are not the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but that same talent and depth is why they can beat any team, anywhere.
Boston Celtics have the mental mindset to accomplish their goal
While Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have established themselves as superstars, the key motivation with this Celtics squad is proving they can and will get over the hump.
In other words, it’s all business for the Boston Celtics, right Marcus?
"“We’re back to p***ed off,” Smart told reporters on Thursday, via NBC Sports Boston. “Yeah, we’re happy and we’re smiling here, but we’re getting ready. We’re having fun with it, but Saturday when we step on that court, you’re not going to see many smiles.”"
Going up against a sharpshooter like Trae Young and a Hawks team feeling themselves a bit after upsetting the Miami Heat in the NBA play-in tournament, Smart and the Celtics need to be all business to deliver a message to the Hawks that this won’t be a series.
To do that, they obviously can’t let up in any game. The defensive energy must be there, and the offense has to be efficient while not depending on too many 3’s. That is where Smart is an X-factor in this series.
His defense will be key on Young, and his playmaking skills must exceed his tendency to shoot too many 3’s. There is also health. Energetic big man Robert Williams will be ready to go and Jaylen Brown says he is ready after nursing a right hand laceration.
Want your voice heard? Join the Chowder And Champions team!
Smart, who has been battling his own injuries, says he is not 100 percent, but good enough to stamp his mark on this series.
"“My neck is doing fine,” Smart said. “Still a little sore, but I’m keeping up with my treatments and strengthening my neck muscles to make sure this doesn’t re-occur.“…Physically, I wouldn’t say 100 percent, but pretty close. I haven’t been able to say that in a while. It feels good to say that.”"
The one thing the Celtics didn’t have last year when entering the playoffs is the depth they have this season. Even if Smart has a setback, they have Malcolm Brogdon who can carry the load and don’t count out Payton Pritchard in this series.
In all, this is the kind of series a player like Marcus Smart thrives in. He will be out to set the tone and get in the head of Young. If the Boston Celtics as a team adapt to Smart’s mentality, it will be a fun ride for fans and a weary one for the rest of the NBA.