In which we were reminded that Marcus Smart is a monster on the defensive end:
Smart struggled to find his range, but he knocked down a pair of big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and made a spinning/screen-splitting/scooping play with his left hand that made a gym full of tired, crabby execs, coaches, scouts and media ooh and aah. Smart’s defensive impact is kind of staggering — his footwork is impeccable, he keeps his hands high, and he’s incredibly strong. Elfrid Payton, who dominated Phil Pressey in the first half, was useless against Smart.
Six rebounds for Colton Iverson was a nice improvement over his last outing. Zeller’s acquisition really hurt his chances of making the squad, but he also protected the rim better than he has in the past and even knocked down a mid-range jumper.
Chris Babb continued to attack the basket and defended really well, despite shooting poorly from 3-point range.
Yeesh, Pressey. Phil shot 1-for-15, 0-for-6 from the field and got taken out of his game almost entirely by Elfrid Payton, who shut him down defensively. I’m not sure how much Pressey hurt his actual stock (one bad game in Summer League against a noted big defender isn’t going to erase a year of good will created in the locker room and on the court), but he shot really atrociously.
Edwin Jackson was 3-for-8 but missed several wide-open jumpers that Boston needed late in the game.
The Celtics will play in the 3-4 matchup tomorrow morning at 10 am (much to the delight of every member of the Celtics’ media). Today’s win was excellent: Orlando was still in play for a spot in the SL championship, and the Celtics played a gritty, tough spoiler.
It wasn’t particularly pretty, but between Smart’s offensive contributions and his defensive performance, there’s a lot to like about today.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.