The Boston Celtics Lost More Than Just a Game Against the Lakers but Seem to Have Avoided the Worst-Case Scenario With Marcus Smart

It’s always a special night when the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics square off and Saturday night was no different. The two iconic franchises have obviously engaged in some epic battles over the years, including a dozen matchups in the NBA Finals.

While last night’s game may not have been an all-time classic, the two teams went back and forth all night long with the Lakers pulling out a one-point victory, 96-95. Anthony Davis led the way for the defending champs with 27 points and 14 rebounds while Jayson Tatum continued his stellar play for Boston with 30 points and nine boards in the loss.

The loss dropped the Celtics to 10-8 on the season but Boston lost so much more than the game as guard Marcus Smart, who’s having the best season of his seven-year career, left the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury following an awkward fall. It was almost immediately announced as a calf injury but upon further review, it truly looked as if he’d torn his Achilles. Luckily for Boston, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Marcus Smart has been having the best season of his career with the Boston Celtics

Taken by the Boston Celtics with the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft out of Oklahoma State, Marcus Smart has been a consistent piece of the Celts’ puzzle for seven seasons now. As numerous players such as Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward have come and gone, Smart has remained a constant in the green and has become a true leader in Beantown.

While Smart may not always put up the biggest numbers, he brings a lot of energy to the court and is one of the NBA’s most versatile defenders. He’s averaging a career-high 1.8 steals per game, which is currently good for a tie for fourth in the league, and he’s also putting up career bests in points (13.1) and assists (6.0), the latter of which leads the Boston Celtics.

So you can see why the injury Smart suffered on Saturday night is so concerning.

Marcus Smart took an awkward fall on Saturday night in the Boston Celtics’ loss to the LA Lakers

With 10 minutes and 31 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Boston Celtics’ loss to the LA Lakers, Marcus Smart Montrezl Harrell at the rim on defense, forcing him to miss his first shot before the reigning Sixth Man of the Year pulled down the offensive rebound and laid it back in.

Smart had gone up for the board as well but with the ball being on the left side of the rim while Smart was on the right side, things didn’t go his way. Nothing really seemed off initially but just a split second after the ball went through the net, Smart awkwardly hit the deck and was writhing in pain while holding the back of his left leg.

The Celtics immediately called for time and it took a few minutes for Marcus Smart to be able to even get to his feet, or foot as the case may be. He couldn’t put any weight on the leg as he was helped off the court. The team quickly announced that he’d suffered a calf strain but if you look closely, it really looks like he tore his Achilles.

It looked more like an Achilles tear than a calf strain

Marcus Smart Boston Celtics
Marcus Smart | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

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The Boston Celtics announced that Marcus Smart would be undergoing an MRI on Sunday and they certainly had to be hoping that it really was just a calf strain as it looked eerily similar to Kevin Durant’s Achilles tear upon further review. Now, if you’re a bit squeamish, you might want to just scroll down a bit. You’ve been warned.

Do you see where it was easy to think Marcus Smart had torn his Achilles? But it seems as if the Boston Celtics have avoided that catastrophe as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the MRI has confirmed a Grade 1 calf strain, which will apparently cost Smart only a week or two.

However, this is still something to keep an eye on. If you recall, Durant’s initial injury back in 2019 was also a calf strain, which kept him out for more than a month. And it was that first game back in the NBA Finals in which he suffered the Achilles injury that kept him out all last season.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference