Despite his comeback from a very severe-looking ankle injury in what many described as a Willis Reed moment in Game 3, Marcus Smart will be unable to suit up for the Boston Celtics tonight in a pivotal Game 4 against the Miami Heat as the Celtics trail the series 2-1 so far. On the bright side, Robert Williams III, who’s been day-to-day after a bone bruise from the second round brought soreness, is set to play tonight after missing Game 3.
Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) – OUT
Jayson Tatum – AVAILABLE
Robert Williams – AVAILABLE
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 23, 2022
Essentially, the Celtics are in the same place they were entering Game 1 of the series when Smart had to miss a game due to his mid-foot sprain. The Celtics came out hot but had a historic meltdown in the third quarter as they surrendered a huge lead.
This is certainly not ideal, given the circumstances. However, similar to Game 2 in the Milwaukee Bucks series, the Celtics can overcome the loss of their floor general if they play without being so careless with the ball. The Celtics as a team amassed 24 turnovers, with 6 of those coming from Jayson Tatum (who also only put up 10 points) and 7 coming from Jaylen Brown (detracting from his 40-point game). Without Smart out there, the Celtics will need a much more error-free outing from both of its stars.
Ime Udoka said Marcus Smart is testing things out pregame, but that his ankle is “quite swollen”.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 23, 2022
According to head coach Ime Udoka, Smart’s ankle swelled up after the game. Hopefully the fact that he was ruled out after trying to warm up means that he will only need to miss tonight’s game. Getting Robert Williams back will help, considering how Bam Adebayo had little resistance at the rim on his way to 31 points on Saturday.
Payton Pritchard has played remarkably this series even as he’s been hunted by Jimmy Butler. He has to continue spreading the floor tonight with Smart out. Derrick White has been very solid for the Celtics since he came back in February, but he’s been very tentative in the two games he’s played this series. If there was ever a time for an offensive explosion, it’s now.
The Celtics will tip off against the Heat tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN to try to tie the series 2-2.