Smart returns, scores 3 in Celts' loss vs

The days of Marcus Smart just being a spectator for the series against Milwaukee could be over. The Celtics catalyst was upgraded to questionable for Monday’s Game 4 at TD Garden

Celtics' Smart cleared for full-contact practice, hopes to play Game 4

With Boston trailing top-seeded Milwaukee in the second round of an Eastern Conference playoff series, 3-1, Las Vegas believes Irving's future is not with the Celtics. In a game-defining third quarter, Milwaukee outscored the Celtics, 33-23. He set the tone for them, I think when he came in, they were playing harder and they were moving the ball.

Of the game, and the series. "And I try to utilize their aggression against them, and still try to put my teammates in great positions, while still being aggressive".

But thanks in large part to the aggressiveness of the second unit, and bench savior and de facto leader George Hill, Milwaukee was able to build a nine-point lead late into the end of the game-defining quarter of the 1 vs. 4 battle.

In Game 4, Irving picked up five fouls, he got beat on fast breaks, and he ended up getting switched on Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is never going to be a favorable matchup, far too often.

But beginning in Game 2 of the conference semifinals, the Bucks began to befuddle Irving by switching off screens, something they'd done in only limited stretches during the regular season. And just being more communicative.

Boston led by as many as 11 points before Connaughton made a long three at the first-quarter buzzer to make it 30-22. The Celtics, trailing 2-1 in this best-of-seven series, were desperate. "Their bench comes in, they've had no dropoff".

In the past three games - all Celtics losses - Irving has shot a combined 19 for 62 from the field (30.6 percent) and 4 for 20 from behind the arc (20 percent). With about five minutes left in the second, the Bucks scored eight straight points to tie it. The Celtics are 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings in Milwaukee and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.

Runs-Milwaukee has had a bunch of them in this series-have killed the Celtics.

"Yeah that was killer", Stevens said. That meant the Celtics were in desperate need of evening things up, and were getting Marcus Smart back in their effort to do so and shift pressure back onto Milwaukee. They challenged Irving to attack mismatches in isolation.

Taken out of context, those two words neatly sum up what life with Kyrie Irving's Celtics have been for the last two years. The Knicks remain hopeful they can pair two elite stars with their promising young core, but they haven't been given any assurances from anyone, including Irving, according to sources close to the Knicks.

"The game was over", Irving said.

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