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Ime Udoka's unseen assistant on the bench

 She is not seen around the Celtics bench because Marcus Smart's late mom, Camilla no longer has a physical presence on this earth - but her spirit lives on in the body and mind of the man I love to call The Wolverine. She is present in the mind and spirit of her son.

In seasons-gone-by, Marcus would occasionally erupt over an incident or no-call on the floor, and on at least one occasion, Camilla Smart told her son, "Calm your ass down." Coach Udoka takes the same approach when Smart makes a bonehead play on the court - chiding Marcus with, "What the f---k was that!" I view Ime and Camilla as like-minded, tough love proponents.

Tough love works. In Boston's Game 1 victory, The Wolverine was under control on both ends of the court, coming away with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. He shot 7-of-11 from the field and 4-of-7 on 3-pointers. I can not remember such a stabilizing performance from the gritty point guard.

So Marcus expects to hear the occasional reprimand from the always-direct rookie coach, but the voice and thoughts of his beloved mom will always resound in his mind. He is the man and basketball player he is today in large part because of Camilla Smart. She will always be a positive psychological presence for him and would be proud of what he has accomplished. 

Author's Note: I lost my mom to cancer when I was 22. She was 47. My great grandson, Carson, lost his mom when he was only 7. Loving mothers never totally leave us when they pass away. Camilla wold have loved what took place in Game 1 of the Finals. Ime Udoka is lucky to have her spiritual presence in this tough series.


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