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Celtics’ Marcus Smart throws no-look, behind-the-back pass to Al Horford for the easy slam

Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Celtics

The Boston Celtics have a defensive brute in point guard Marcus Smart (currently averaging 1.8 steals per game), but it could be argued that his all-around brilliance on the floor doesn’t get enough clamor.

Smart put his court vision on display, as Boston narrowly escaped with a 114-112 win over their possible first-round playoff series opponent Indiana Pacers.

Smart recently incurred a $50,000 fine from the NBA after “shoving” Joel Embiid during the Celtics’ 118-115 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers mid-last week – making it the third time he’s been monetarily penalized in 2018-19.

“It’s hard, because you send a message to a guy that you can’t protect yourself,” Smart told ESPN last week in explaining his actions. “You’re supposed to just take that. I’m sorry, I just wasn’t raised that way. I protect myself at all times.”

It’s fair to say not many could’ve envisioned earlier in the year that Smart and the Celtics would be in the position that they are currently trying to dig themselves out of – holding a record of 45-31 and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, now knotted up with Indiana.

Granted, they have been rife with setbacks throughout the season for the second year in a row.

82 games is a long and grueling venture. But the Celtics have essentially been without one of their role players or stars on any given week this year, leaving little to no opportunity to unleash their full-fledged roster on their opposition. The “when” and “if” they are able to so for the upcoming postseason is yet to be determined, but make no mistake, they are not a team to be fiddled with “when” and “if” the injury report becomes vacant.

Marcus Smart has averaged 8.9 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.0 rebounds in his fifth NBA season.