Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart suffered a right ankle sprain in the second quarter of Tuesday night’s 135-87 blowout win over the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center and did not return.
Smart drove down the lane and stepped onto the foot of 76ers center Joel Embiid, bending his ankle inward awkwardly and tumbling to the ground in a heap.
After spending several moments on the court in pain, he eventually got up and hobbled to the bench. Then he returned to the court, took his two free throws — missing both — and exited the game, going to the locker room with the help of an athletic trainer.
“Rolled his ankle pretty bad,” Celtics coach Ime Udoka said after the game. “[He] stepped on Joel’s foot on the way up, limping noticeably.
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“We’ll check him out tonight, obviously tomorrow, see how he feels. Didn’t look very good walking out, but we’ll see.”
Smart’s injury was the only thing that seemed to go wrong for the Celtics (34-25), who have won nine games in a row and 11 out of 12 after a demolition of their oldest rivals Tuesday, one in which Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had equaled Philadelphia’s 57 points scored by themselves when they checked out for the final time late in the third quarter.
Boston led wire to wire, and by as many as 51 points, shooting over 56% from the field and 55% from 3-point range while holding the 76ers (34-23) to 28.7% shooting and an 8-for-32 showing from 3-point range.
“We didn’t have much,” 76ers coach Doc Rivers said. “I thought offensively it’s as poor as I’ve ever seen us ever, and defensively, they made more 3s than we made 2s. So, they got everything all game. They were better in every way. Coaching, playing, if there’s another category, they were better in that.
“There’s not a lot you can do about tonight.”
There hasn’t been much anyone has been able to do about the Celtics since Smart returned from a quad injury on Jan. 23, which coincided with Boston’s season completely turning around. Including Tuesday’s win, the Celtics have outscored their opponents by 253 points over those 12 games — more than twice as good as the Memphis Grizzlies (124 points) over the same stretch. They’ve outscored their opponents by 21.1 points per game during that span, and according to Elias, that’s the second-largest differential in a 12-game span within a season in NBA history (trailing only the 1970-71 Bucks).
Boston also now won three straight road games by at least 30 points, the first team in NBA history to do so.
Smart, 27, who signed a contract extension this past offseason with the Celts — the only team he has played for since being drafted sixth overall in 2014 — is averaging 11.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season.
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