The Boston Celtics have been dealt a brutal end of the season blow, as guard Marcus Smurt has suffered a torn oblique. Smart will miss 4-6 weeks, which likely means the first two rounds of the playoffs, at the least.
Official release on Marcus Smart injury: pic.twitter.com/842BJRVugA— Amanda_Pflugrad (@Amanda_Pflugrad) April 11, 2019
Brad Stevens says Marcus Smart’s potential return in four weeks may be aggressive, from what he’s been told.— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) April 11, 2019
Smart has played a huge role for the Celtics this year, especially since entering the starting lineup midway through the season. Though his rate stats aren’t remarkable (8.9 points and 4.0 assists per game), he’s been arguably the best perimeter defender in the entire league.
Boston has the league’s seventh-best defensive rating, and Smart has been an enormous part of that.
The Celtics will face the Indiana Pacers in the opening round of the playoffs, and are scheduled to take on the Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. The lack of Smart will be a huge factor in that series, as Boston will need to play incredibly well to have a chance against Milwaukee.
This is interesting for the Golden State Warriors, who have made it clear that they respect and fear the Celtics more than any other team in the Eastern Conference. Boston had a slightly disappointing season, and now their path to the NBA Finals just got even more difficult.