Celtics' Marcus Smart took himself out, could start in Game 2

WALTHAM, Mass. -- Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart admitted Monday that he pulled himself from the fourth quarter of Sunday's Game 1 win over the Washington Wizards after a series of miscues that helped Washington rally.

"I just decided to take myself out. Things were going wrong and I was making a couple mistakes," Smart said. "Everyone else was playing good, so I decided to take myself out and let those guys keep going, and really calm myself down and get ready to go back into the game to finish the game."

Smart played a key role in helping Boston rally from a 17-point first-half deficit and started the second half in place of Gerald Green. Boston outscored the Wizards by 20 in that third quarter and took a 15-point lead to the fourth quarter.

Smart finished with six points, four assists, three rebounds and three blocks. He was plus-12 in plus/minus over 31 minutes. In typical Smart fashion, his energy and versatility were key to Boston taking control of the game. But two rough stints early in the fourth quarter left him on the bench for the final seven minutes of play.

Brad Stevens said Isaiah Thomas will play in Game 2 despite missing practice Monday. "He's finishing up the dental work that he's had," said Stevens. "It's pretty significant as you can imagine. So he's still in a dentist's chair and will hopefully be able to come over later in the afternoon, kinda go through what we did, and go from there."

Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer4y ago

Smart committed two turnovers and two fouls in the first 97 seconds of the fourth quarter and was subbed out for Isaiah Thomas. Smart subbed back in just 40 seconds later but again struggled. With 7:08 remaining, Thomas fouled Bojan Bogdanovic while he made a 3-pointer and -- while he initially questioned the whistle -- he soon went to the bench. Terry Rozier subbed in with Washington within four points.

While Celtics coach Brad Stevens was coy on possible lineup changes for Game 2, there is the chance that Smart could shuffle into the starting five given the success of Boston's small-ball lineup in the third quarter.

Boston's lineup decision could ultimately hinge on the availability of Wizards forward Markieff Morris, who remained adamant Monday that he would play in Tuesday's Game 2 despite spraining his ankle.

Smart said he's had moments in the past when he has asked out of games in order to compose himself and said he would have been ready to re-enter the game had Stevens called on him.

The Celtics leaned on rookie wing Jaylen Brown, who provided quality minutes despite having played sparingly this postseason.

"Some people probably think it was a little selfish of me. They'd think I was really mad at myself. But it really wasn't," said Smart. "I just felt like, at that moment, we were up and my plays with the two turnovers back-to-back and the two fouls, fouling a 3-point shooter -- something we all know you're not supposed to do, especially then he gets the and-1 that gets them rhythm and they keep going -- I just felt like at that time for me and my team I wasn't really doing anything to help.

"So those guys, everybody else was in there playing. It wouldn't be fair for them and to this team for me to keep going and not give guys who've been playing well and things like that to just keep going and allowing myself to keep making mistakes. So I think it's from a maturity standpoint. Other people might look at it differently."

Smart commended Brown's play and said he had talked to Stevens about the reasons he asked out of the game.

"The turnovers and the silly fouls, I know I can't make those mistakes," Smart said. "I just wanted to take myself out, get myself together, and cheer my team on. Those dudes were rolling and keeping me going. I didn't want to mess up the groove. I just really re-gathered myself and got ready for when Brad called me back in.

"I think that was a selfless act to be able to understand, obviously, right now things aren't going well for you, but this guy, he's been playing really well. So why should he come out when he's playing really well and not you? So I decided to take myself out."