One of the most important plays that Marcus Smart had in this game is not actually shown in this video. With 22 seconds left in the game and the Celtics inbounding the ball down by one point, Marcus Smart drew an away-from-the-play foul, netting the Celtics a single free throw which tied the game and allowed them to run out the clock in a relatively stress-free fashion, knowing that the game would go to overtime.
Tatum ended up front-rimming a three from deep on the final play in regulation, and then the Celtics went on to lose, but Marcus Smart did what he had to. He is blameless here. His clutch foul-drawing ability (some people would call it “flopping”) could have very well been the turning point both in the game and in the series.
The reason I didn’t show the play was because it doesn’t meet my very precise definition of a “highlight play”. Getting fouled when you don’t even have the ball, when the ball isn’t even in play, is not a highlight play. It may have taken skill to get fouled, but in most such scenarios, the foul is a result of the defender being a dummy rather than any particular skill on the part of the foulee. If Smart had taken the free throw, that would be a different story. But he didn’t. All he did was stand there and get run into by Derrick Jones Jr. Anybody could do that. I could do that (if I wasn’t afraid that, by getting run into by a full-size NBA player, my body would literally disassemble itself right there on the court, sending detached limbs skittering across the hardwood leaving grisly streaks of blood).
P.S. Can somebody explain to me why Smart only had one field goal attempt in the final eleven minutes of this game? Look at me coming to his defense here. The DTB of three years ago would be appalled.