Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart spoke extremely highly of Jimmy Butler following Game 2 versus the Miami Heat, calling him a warrior. Butler is known as one of the strongest characters in the NBA and he has always been about hard work.
Smart certainly respects that and he acknowledged that defending Butler is one of the most difficult tasks in the NBA. Smart, who missed Game 1, returned to the Celtics lineup on Thursday night and guarded Butler. Butler exploded for 41 points in Game 1 but scored 29 points in Game 2.
Not allowing Butler to explode for another monster performance was one of the keys in the Celtics' 127-102 Game 2 victory. "Jimmy is a warrior, man," Smart said, per ESPN. "Jimmy has been doing this for a long time.
He understands the game. He understands his strengths. He understands his team's strengths. So when you have a guy who has an IQ like Jimmy, it's always going to be a tough matchup. "For me my assignment was just to make everything tough for him.
We knew he was going to hit some shots. If he did, he had to work for them. That's just where I came in."
Smart delivered for the Celtics
Not having Smart in Game 1 was a big blow for the Celtics, who ended up losing in double digits.
In Game 1, the Celtics scored 107 points and surrendered 118 points. In Game 2, everything looked much better for the Celtics both on offense and defense. On offense, the Celtics did much better and dropped 127 points. On defense, they also played much better and the Heat finished with 102 points.
Smart had a great all-around performance as he fell just short of finishing with a triple-double. Smart scored 24 points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out 12 assists in a Game 2 win. The series now shifts to Boston.