Following the Celtics' impressive 122-100 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday, Tatum couldn't help but gush over his team's best 3-and-D guy.
“Yeah, it’s no secret, Marcus is the heart and soul of the team,” the Celtics All-Star said in the post-game interview, per NESN.
“He brings so much more to the team that doesn’t shows up in the stat book. So, just hearing his voice, and him talking on the court, off the court, it can only help us. When he’s doing that, we’re a better team.”
The Celtics ended the defending Raptors' unbeaten streak in the bubble, thanks in large part to Smart's uncanny ability to anchor their defense.
The 6-foot-3 guard struggled shooting the ball on Friday, making just one of his eight total attempts from the field. He only had two points, two rebounds, five assists, and two steals in 24 minutes.
However, Smart did all the right things that do not reflect in the scoreboard, allowing Boston to send a statement against the league's hottest team.
While much could be said about the Raptors' defense all season long, it was the Celtics who excelled at that end of the floor during their match-up. They held Toronto to just 42 percent from the field and just 26 percent from past the arc.
Marcus Smart has been a godsend for head coach Brad Stevens this season, tallying 13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 4.7 assists, and 1.7 steals in 58 games so far. While behemoths like Anthony Davis and Rudy Gobert are currently the front runners for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, there is no doubt Smart's name should be included in the conversation as well.