Marcus Smart returned to the Celtics starting lineup on Wednesday after missing 11 games due to an ankle injury and immediately made his presence felt, helping Boston secure a 127-109 win over the Detroit Pistons. The Celtics, at 42-17, now have the best record in the NBA heading into the All-Star break.
Smart finished the night with a stat-sheet-filling nine points on 4/6 shooting, seven rebounds, six assists and a season-high six steals, the latter of which matched the total for the entirety of the Pistons team. Smart has now dished out at least four dimes in seven straight games.
The impressive stat line was the first 6/6/6/6 game of Smart’s career and an accomplishment that put him in the same company as Larry Bird, Antoine Walker, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, and David Wesley as the only players in Celtics history to produce such a stat line.
The Celtics team and coaching staff expressed their gratitude for Smart’s return to the starting lineup in the post-game, with coach Joe Mazzulla stating, “I think we missed him a lot. We missed his joy. He brought a level of joy to the game tonight.”
Malcolm Brogdon, who had 25 points and six assists off the bench said of Smart’s return: “Huge. Defensively, I think it was clear. I think he made some tremendous defensive plays that really got us going. Helped turn the game around when they were getting momentum.” He added, “He’s a facilitator… he has chemistry with everyone.”
Of his return, the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year himself said, “It feels like something was missing in my life. So, it feels real(ly) good to be back out there with my team, my coaching staff and just the energy that we brought… It felt like I haven’t missed a beat.”
Were you surprised to see a six/six/six/six game in Marcus Smart’s return from injury in his first game back for the Boston Celtics? Let us know what you think in the comments.