In an essay on The Players’ Tribune website titled “A Great Time To Be A Celtic,” Marcus Smart writes that for this playoff run, the C’s are “better” and more disciplined” and “way hungrier” than the two previous Boston playoff teams he’s played for.
The Celtics open the postseason Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at TD Garden against the Chicago Bulls.
Smart recalled an incident with teammate Isaiah Thomas at practice earlier this season that told him this playoff run will be different after first-round exits the past two springs.
Smart said he reflexively gave Thomas a few pats on the head as they were walking off the court and Thomas’ mood changed.
“I already knew what I’d done,” Smart wrote. “I’d crossed a line.
“He looked up at me and said: ‘Don’t ever do that again.’
“He was very calm about it. Then he nodded. I nodded. And that was it.
“And that’s how I know this year’s team is different. That’s how I know this team is ready.
And just like you don’t mess with Isaiah (lesson learned), you don’t mess with Boston, either.”
As for the Celtics less-than-heralded starting lineup of Thomas, Avery Bradley, Amir Johnson, Al Horford and Jae Crowder, Smart writes that “we joke as a team about this kind of thing all the time — a lineup you’d make if you didn’t know what you were doing in your NBA fantasy draft.”
Still, Smart writes that lineup, along with Smart and other key players off the bench, are ready for a deep playoff run.