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May 19, 2022

Marcus Smart

Boston Celtics

Game 2: Postgame

Celtics 127, Heat 102

Q. Marcus, in Game 1 you were standing on the floor at the end of the bench for what looked like most of the game. Did you pretty much know you were coming back at that point?

MARCUS SMART: It was a very high hope that I could get back. My body just -- as long as my body kept responding the right way for me. And it did. I got to shootaround, tested it out, and it felt good. It felt good that day, as well, but better safe than sorry. I didn't really get a chance to try it out that morning before that game, Game 1. We didn't want to risk it, and it wasn't feeling too well. I just kept telling myself, Game 2, you're playing. I don't care how hurt you are, you've got to give it a shot.

We were very aggressive with treatment, two-a-days. I was in the pool doing pool workouts and just everything I could to speed this recovery up.

Q. How difficult was it to sit and watch what happened in Game 1, and what was your mindset coming into this one? Looked like you were aggressive pretty much on both ends of the floor out there tonight.

MARCUS SMART: Yeah, it was a lot for me. I was very frustrated with that because I couldn't get out there and help my teammates. I had to sit there and watch us struggle the way we did and knowing that I probably could have helped was very painful. But at the same time, it was good for us. It was good for our team and our guys to play through some more adversity, and that's not having two of your starters, and you've got to find a way.

We led three quarters and they had that one big quarter, and that was a teaching moment for us.

Then for me today, it was just come out and be as aggressive as you can and not let the same mistake happen. We're playing against a really, really, really, really good Miami team, and when you make mistakes, they make you pay for it. We've got to limit those mistakes. That was my mindset coming in, get Jayson and Jaylen the ball, Al, get them their shots open and take what the defense gives you.

Q. Tonight you defended Jimmy Butler for 31 possessions and held him to only nine points, according to Second Spectrum tracking data. What are the challenges in defending a guy like Butler and what is your assessment of your individual play with that matchup?

MARCUS SMART: It's tough. Jimmy is a warrior, man. Jimmy has been doing this for a long time. He understands the game. He understands his strengths. He understands his team's strengths. So when you have a guy who has an IQ like Jimmy, it's always going to be a tough matchup. It's a good one. I love going up against Jimmy any time I can. As a defensive player, as a competitor, he's going to make you work and he's going to make you better.

We knew it was tough. For me my assignment was just to make everything tough for him. We knew he was going to hit some shots. If he did, he had to work for where them. That's just where I came in.

It was a full team effort, it wasn't just me. I had some help from everybody. We all threw some guys at him, and we all had a chance. That's what it comes down to. Everybody is all pros, we're all good, we are going to make tough shots, we just want to mark it as hard as possible for them.

Q. Because of injuries and stuff you haven't had the opportunity to have you and Rob and Al kind of at full strength, having that defense that you've had in the regular season. How good did it feel to be out there and know that you had those guys behind you and you had that regular season No. 1 defense kind of intact in this game?

MARCUS SMART: Oh, felt amazing. The beauty about this team is we got to play through adversity early on in the season with the injuries and stuff like that, COVID, and we got to see what we were really made of. We got to learn from it.

For us it was always next man up. But it did feel good to have that unit out there that we know when we're out there what we can do, and it showed tonight.

Q. In Game 1, especially in that third quarter, there were just a ton of turnovers real fast where every time you guys had to move the ball, it was a little lax and they'd just pounce on it. Tonight there were a lot of those moments where they almost turned you over but you held strong or you dove and moved it. What was that little extra edge you tried to bring tonight?

MARCUS SMART: Just what I always do, be an energy guy that I am, being the point guard that I am, I take a lot of pressure off our guys so they don't have to try to force it as much, so they can be who they are, and that always helps. Tonight that was the main goal. We can't let them out-hustle us, beat us to loose balls, offensive rebounds where they killed us in transition and turnovers. So we cut those down, and our defense did what it does.

We just wanted to come in and be the harder-playing team tonight, and we did that.

Q. I know you spent a lot of time trying to get the Defensive Player of the Year award, you also spent a long time trying to be the point guard of this team. To come back tonight after the turnovers you had the other night, have 12 assists and one turnover, down during the game, how much pride do you take in your ability to kind of run the team the way you've always said you had the ability to?

MARCUS SMART: A lot of pride. That's what I've been doing my whole career. That's what I got drafted here to do. I just waited my turn. I'm blessed to be in the situation I am to have the opportunity to go out and show what I can do, and I think everybody in the organization, in the world is seeing what I can do at that point guard position.

Q. I know you spoke on it just a second ago, but that third quarter tonight after what happened a couple nights ago, you broke a couple ankles there in that third quarter, you hit a couple of threes. What kind of locked in for you to make sure that you guys held that lead tonight?

MARCUS SMART: Just be who I am. Come out and be that leader, stay on top of my guys. It was a little bit tougher in Game 1 to do it because you weren't out there, and as a player sometimes when you're on the court and the guys who's not on the court are trying to tell you, you just kind of really don't want to hear it. You're listening, but it's tough. There's a different type of energy and feel when I'm out there on the court able to bark out the commands and really get into my guys and get them motivated because now it's like, okay, if he's going to go out there and do it, I don't want to be the guy that's slacking, so I've got to come with it. And that's the beauty of having me on the court, to do that, to settle us down, to get us what we need to do and make plays for my teammates.

Q. How does Al Horford change the way that you guys defend, and what was the difference that he brought between Game 1 and Game 2?

MARCUS SMART: His energy. I mean, Al is -- what is he, 35, 36? And he's still moving like he's 22. That's been an advantage for us. He's an athletic long guy who can get out and switch on to those smaller, quicker guards, and it really keeps our defense compact, and it's not really a mismatch that teams can really try to go after, especially with me and Al on the floor. That's big for us. Al has always been big for us. He's a great leader, he's a great vet, and that's what we expect from Al.

Q. You take a lot of hits on the court and you're often on the court. When did you learn that you could absorb all that? What were the circumstances that led you to know you can be a tough player on the court?

MARCUS SMART: I'm the youngest of four boys. My whole life, I've got to fight. You've got to be tough, or you might as well keep it pushing. My whole life that's how I've been. I'm from Texas where football is the prominent sport. I played football, and you build that. Like I said, being the youngest, you ain't got no choice but to be tough, and that's just how it was.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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