Marcus Smart returned to Game 3 after suffering ankle sprain; Celtics assume he’ll be OK for Game 4

Smart finished with 16 points in the Celtics' Game 3 loss.

Marcus Smart made a dramatic return in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Marcus Smart had his Paul Pierce moment in Saturday’s Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

Early in the third quarter, the Celtics’ starting point guard injured his right ankle when he landed awkwardly after trying to get an offensive rebound. Smart laid on the court for a few moments, screaming in pain before walking off the court with some assistance.

Smart remained in the locker room for a few minutes, running in the hallway between the bench and the locker room to remain loose. After he was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain, Smart was cleared to return.

Smart returned to the bench and was immediately subbed back into the game with 6:52 remaining in the third quarter. In his first possession back in, Boston forced Miami to commit a shot-clock violation. On the ensuing offensive possession, Smart got the ball in the corner, pump-faked an attempt before pulling the trigger and nailing the 3-pointer.

Unlike Pierce in the Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals though, Smart’s dramatic return wasn’t enough to lift the Celtics to a win. Smart’s 3-pointer cut the Heat’s lead to 10 after Miami led by 15 at halftime and as much as 26 in the first half. Boston slowly continued to cut into the Miami lead, getting within a point with less than three minutes left in the fourth. But the Heat were able to make some key buckets and clutch stops at the end to hold on and win, 109-103, giving them a 2-1 series lead.


Smart finished Game 3 with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting with seven assists and four rebounds but had four turnovers before fouling out.

After the game, Celtics coach Ime Udoka told reporters that he didn’t have specifics on Smart’s injury, but assumed he’ll be OK to play in Game 4 on Monday.


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