While it wasn’t as bad as their disastrous third quarter made it seem, Tuesday wasn’t the Celtics’ night, falling to Miami by double-digits without starters Al Horford (health and safety protocols) and Marcus Smart (sprained foot). As they have throughout the season, the Heat, led by a dominant performance from All-Star Jimmy Butler (41 points, nine rebounds, five assists, four steals and three blocked shots, including this absolutely ruthless rejection of Jayson Tatum), put on a defensive clinic, limiting the Celtics to two third-quarter field goals as Boston watched an eight-point halftime advantage quickly morph into a 20-point deficit.
Whether due to exhaustion from their previous series against Milwaukee, an uncharacteristic off night, or some combination of the two, the shorthanded Celtics were fed a generous helping of humble pie, learning the hard way that the Heat (and Butler, in particular) are not to be trifled with. When the going gets tough, teammates can usually expect an earful from Smart, the Celtics’ longest-tenured player and de facto captain. Tuesday was no different in that regard, though the veteran’s message didn’t seem to resonate the way it usually does, and it doesn’t take a Harvard degree to know why.
Sideline pep talks just don’t carry the same “oomph” factor when the one giving them is dressed to the hilt in loungewear, looking like he’s about to board a cruise to the Caribbean. Predictably, Smart’s beach aesthetic was the talk of social media, garnering both praise—and mockery—in equal proportion.
They say to dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Following that logic, Smart wants to retire to Key West, sipping tropical drinks (with a cocktail umbrella, of course) between rounds of golf. Smart made a similar splash with his outfit choice prior to a game against Brooklyn earlier this postseason, dressing in a custom boxing robe after being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
The Celtics are hoping to have Smart back in uniform for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals Thursday night in Miami, with coverage beginning at 8:30 PM ET on ESPN.
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