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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Marcus Smart giving Warriors bulletin-board material?

Marcus Smart dribbles the ball

Jan 28, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) dribbles against the Atlanta Hawks in the second half at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Marcus Smart may already be playing his role as the instigator, and the NBA Finals have not even started yet.

Appearing on JJ Redick’s “The Old Man and the Three” podcast, the Boston Celtics guard Smart made some comments about how his team would have fared against the Golden State Warriors in the 2018 Finals.

“We definitely thought that we had a great chance,” said Smart, per Bleacher Report. “And to this day, we still [think] that if we went to the championship instead of LeBron [James] and [the Cleveland Cavaliers], we definitely would have beat Golden State that year.”

Smart and the Celtics took James and the Cavs to seven games in the 2018 Eastern Conference Finals. Cleveland ultimately prevailed in a Game 7 nailbiter but got swept by the Warriors in the NBA Finals.

Few would probably agree with Smart’s assertion that Boston would have knocked off Golden State that year. The Celtics were missing some heavy hitters in the postseason due to injury (namely, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward), while their dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown were still just 20 and 21 years old, respectively. Boston ended up getting eliminated by what had to be by far the weakest Cleveland team of James’ second stint there. The Warriors also still had Kevin Durant, while Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and (pre-injury) Klay Thompson all remained close to their apexes.

The merits of Smart’s comments aside, they could serve as bulletin-board material for this year’s NBA Finals. After all, Golden State still has Curry, Thompson, Green, Andre Iguodala, and Kevon Looney from that 2017-18 squad. But the Warriors may not actually need any more motivation to get back at Smart after what happened the last time they played the Celtics.

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