Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart, the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, missed Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks with a thigh injury, but he’s listed as probable for Game 3 and expected to play.
Smart suffered a thigh contusion in Game 1, which the Bucks won on the road in Boston. He sat out Game 2, but the Celtics blew out the Bucks to even the series at 1-1. The series switches to Milwaukee for Game 3 and Game 4, and the Bucks look to regain control of the series on their home court.
The Bucks are -1.5 favorites heading into Game 3 on Saturday afternoon.
The Celtics are -150 odds to win the series according to DraftKings’ series markets. The defending champion Bucks are +125 odds to win the series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Celtics are +450 odds to win the 2022 NBA championship, and the Bucks are +700 odds to win back-to-back titles.
Smart: Injury Reprise
Smart missed time earlier in the regular season with an eerily similar thigh injury.
“It’s literally the exact same one in the exact same spot,” said Smart. “Just reaggravating the same injury I’ve been dealing with. Injuries like that, they kind of linger.”
Of course, this is worst time for this injury to linger. Even if he’s feeling good on Saturday, there’s still a high probability that the pain and stiffness returns.
“We’re just dealing with getting that restriction off of the knee and the joint so I can be able to bend,” added Smart. “Once that goes away, I should be back to myself. Everything else is healing up the right way.”
Smart underwent treatments all last week, but was not ready to play in Game 2 ue to the thigh injury and fluid above the knee. He’s feeling much better the last 48 hours, which is why the Celtics upgraded Smart to probable for Game 3.
The Celtics had plenty of other players that can pick up Smart’s scoring slack, but it’s impossible to replace their top perimeter defender. With the best defense in the NBA, the Celtics have the ability to switch on ever screen and pick-and-roll, and Smart is the defensive floor general in that sense.
The Celtics allowed just 103.8 ppg in the postseason, but opponents are shooting 37.9% from 3-point range. They’re lucky that the Bucks do not attempt a high-volume of 3-pointers. The Celtics outgunned the Bucks 60-9 from 3-point range in Game 2, but expect those numbers to dramatically change with the Bucks on a mission to do a better job defending the trey, while hoisting more 3-pointers on their home court.
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