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Marcus Smart says Celtics tried to make James Harden uncomfortable all night

The Boston Celtics completed a remarkable comeback against the Houston Rockets, and they have Marcus Smart to thank. Smart was instrumental in drawing two offensive fouls against Harden late in the game to allow the Celtics to seal the improbable win.

After the game, Smart revealed that he was just following the Celtics’ gameplan in those two crucial plays, which was to make life as hard for Harden all night long.

Per the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen:

“The first one, we were just trying to deny him the ball. We were just trying to make it real uncomfortable for him the whole night. He lost it and gave me a little nudge, and it was kind of right in front of the official, so he called it.

“Then Al (Horford) scores it, and they were getting ready to take the ball out and he’s bumping me chest to chest. I’m just standing there in the spot just getting ready to play defense again. My hands are up, and then once again he does the same thing. He loses it again, and the ref was right there again and called it.”

There are very few players in the league better equipped to carry out the Celtics’ goal of harassing James Harden than Marcus Smart. Smart is one of the most dogged defenders around today, and he’s not afraid to mix it up with anyone. He proved that once again with the way he drove Harden to the point of committing those two costly mistakes.

The Celtics got a huge slice of fortune to be able to come all the way back from 26 points down to win. Nevertheless, they deserve credit for clawing their way back. Smart, in particular, deserves special recognition for successfully executing what they set out to do, which was to harry Harden right until the final buzzer.