Boston Celtics’ Marcus Smart Expected to Return for Game 3 Despite Thigh Injury
The Boston Celtics’ point guard, Marcus Smart, known for his exceptional defensive skills, suffered a thigh contusion in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks. As a result, he was unable to play in Game 2. However, Smart is listed as probable for Game 3 and is expected to make his return.
Smart’s Injury and Impact on the Celtics
The injury occurred during the first game of the series, which the Bucks managed to win on the road in Boston. Despite Smart’s absence, the Celtics bounced back in Game 2, securing a convincing victory to even the series at 1-1. As the series now shifts to Milwaukee for Game 3 and Game 4, the Bucks will aim to regain control on their home court.
Smart’s defensive prowess has been instrumental for the Celtics throughout the season, earning him the title of the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. His absence in Game 2 was notable, as the Celtics heavily rely on his ability to switch on screens and pick-and-rolls. Notably, the Celtics have showcased the best defense in the league, allowing just 103.8 points per game in the postseason.
Smart’s Injury History and Recovery
This recent injury for Smart is uncannily reminiscent of a previous thigh injury he suffered earlier in the regular season. Smart expressed his frustration about reaggravating the same injury, explaining that injuries of this nature tend to linger. Despite the setback, Smart remains optimistic about his recovery.
He has been undergoing treatments to alleviate the pain and reduce the restriction in his knee and joint. Although there is a possibility of experiencing residual pain and stiffness, Smart believes that once the restrictions are gone, he will regain full mobility and return to playing at his usual level.
Celtics vs. Bucks – Series Odds and Game 3
Heading into Game 3, the Bucks are favored by -1.5 points according to the odds. The Celtics hold -150 odds to win the series as per DraftKings, while the defending champions, the Bucks, have +125 odds to secure their spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Looking beyond the series, the Celtics have a +450 chance of winning the 2022 NBA championship, given their strong performance throughout the season. On the other hand, the Bucks, aiming for back-to-back titles, have odds of +700.
Bucks’ Adjustments and Celtics’ Defending the Three-Pointer
It is worth noting that the Celtics’ defense has been inconsistent when it comes to guarding against three-point shots. Although they have excelled overall defensively, opponents have managed to shoot 37.9% from beyond the arc in the playoffs. Fortunately, the Bucks have not been relying heavily on three-point attempts, which played in the Celtics’ favor in Game 2, where they outscored the Bucks 60-9 from long range.
However, as the series shifts to Milwaukee, the Bucks are expected to adjust their strategy, focused on defending against the three-pointer more effectively and capitalizing on their own three-point opportunities. Consequently, the Celtics should anticipate a change in the three-point scoring dynamics in the upcoming games.
Marcus Smart’s forthcoming return to the court for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals brings hope and optimism for the Boston Celtics. While his absence was felt in Game 2, his remarkable defensive skills and leadership will undoubtedly boost the team’s performance. As the series evolves and shifts to Milwaukee, both the Celtics and the Bucks will seek to make necessary adjustments to secure their position in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. How long was Marcus Smart sidelined due to his thigh injury?
Marcus Smart missed Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals due to a thigh contusion suffered in Game 1. However, he is expected to return for Game 3.
2. Is Marcus Smart known for his defensive skills?
Absolutely! Marcus Smart is renowned for his exceptional defensive abilities, which earned him the title of the 2022 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
3. How have the Boston Celtics performed defensively in the playoffs?
The Boston Celtics boast the best defense in the NBA playoffs, having allowed just 103.8 points per game on average.
4. What are the odds of the Celtics winning the series against the Bucks?
The Celtics have -150 odds to win the series against the Bucks, according to DraftKings.
5. Can the Celtics sustain their three-point shooting success against the Bucks?
While the Celtics dominated the three-point shooting in Game 2, it is expected that the Bucks will adjust their defensive approach to limit the Celtics’ success from beyond the arc. The dynamics of the three-point shooting may change in the upcoming games as a result.