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Marcus Smart learning NBA ropes, seeing crunch time minutes with Celtics

Marcus Smart is being thrown to the NBA fire, but doesn't mind at all just days into Getty Images

There was a moment late in Wednesday's game against the Raptors where Marcus Smart probably felt on top of the world.

Then, he felt the weight of that world crashing down on his shoulders.

The Celtics rookie had just hit the game-tying 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining in the game, when on the Celtics' next possession - with the score still tied - he turned it over, leading to a Raptors three-point play. The latter play left Smart feeling down in the dumps after the game, a 110-107 loss that lowered the Celtics’ record to 1-3 on the season.

"Just one of those nights for me," Smart said. "It's part of the game. Obviously it hurts because we were right there. It's going to take some time to get over it, but definitely have to let it go and get ready for Friday night's game.

"Everyone goes through it,” Smart said. “Everybody has to pay their dues to it. There's nothing you can really do. Just can't get too high, can't get too low."

There's an optimistic and pessimistic way to view the outcome. Let's keep it cheerful this time, shall we? What does it say about Smart that Brad Stevens already trusts him in crunch-time situations like Wednesday night’s, and in Dallas last Monday night?

It's rare for a rookie to be put in those big moments, and though Smart did get his pocket picked by Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry (who is quickly becoming a thorn in his side), he hit a pretty gutsy 3-pointer shortly before that to put Boston in that position to begin with.

Smart’s teammates understand he’ll hit some turbulence as his career takes off.

"We're on his side,” Jared Sullinger said. “He made a big-time shot the play before and he was trying to make another play. The shot clock was going down. You live and die with mistakes like that.”

The important thing is that Smart learns from all the situations he’s put in and how those situations turn out, good or bad. There was a bit of both this week.

“I’d rather he learn from the [3-pointer], but you can’t put the ball in front of a guy that good, and Kyle Lowry’s value does not just consist of him scoring 35 points,” Stevens said. “It consists of him making plays like that night-in, night-out. So he’ll learn that, he’ll grow up from that.”

 
 
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