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Marcus Smart's 3-point shooting - aberration or reality

I never thought I would be writing this. Marcus Smart setting a franchise record for 3-pointers in a game? Well, it's true. In last night's 123-119 loss to the Phoenix Suns, Marcus poured in a team-high 37 points, 33 of which came from beyond the arc. He also had team-highs in assists (8) and steals (4).


In his last two games, Smart has hit half of his treys, 16-of-32 for 50%. The question is whether this is an aberration that will disappear soon, or will his long-range accuracy continue.


Marcus was in a zone last night, and he took advantage of it. But this was not simply a 1-game fluke. We are looking at two games in a row (per NBA's Taylor Snow):

“It’s a different feeling,” Smart said of the zone he was in. “It’s like you’re out there by yourself and no one is out there with you. And once you get in that zone, it’s kind of hard to get out, and you play like that.”

Smart has taken a beating in the past, often deserved, for his erratic shooting. That may be mostly behind him. If Marcus can maintain a semblance of the 3-point accuracy we have seen in the last two games, the boost to the Celtics' success going forward will be significant (per NBA;s Taylor Snow):

Once Smart started shooting, he didn’t stop. He knocked down a franchise-record 11-of-22 from downtown, surpassing the previous 3-point mark of nine which had been shared by Isaiah Thomas and Antoine Walker. The 25-year-old guard also set a career-high in the scoring department with 37 points, though it wasn’t enough to propel his team in the end.

“I’d rather have the win than the record,” said the selfless vet, who became just the 11th player in NBA history to knock down at least 11 3-pointers in a single game. “I mean obviously it’s a great accomplishment. It just shows the hard work that I’ve been putting in is paying off. But I’d rather trade that in for the win.”

Still, Smart’s hard work should be appreciated.

There was a time when Smart faced criticism for his 3-point shooting, as he went through some minor long-distance struggles early in his career as many young players do. But he made sure to put all of that talk to rest through hard work and dedication.

Smart often defers to the Jay Team, Kemba Walker and Gordon Hayward when it comes to putting points on the board, but with Kemba and Jaylen out of action last night, he got the start once again, got into a zone, and let it fly. Don't expect another explosion like we witnessed last night, but his play the last two games may force opponents to pay more attention to him as a threat shooting the long-ball.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet and Facebook


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