(CTN News) – It was originally published on NBC Sports Boston that Marcus Smart returned to Boston after being away for a year.
On Sunday night, Jayson Tatum’s impressive performance was overshadowed by Marcus Smart’s return to TD Garden.
After being traded to the Grizzlies last summer, Marcus Smart played at his former arena for the first time. There were many tributes paid to the longtime Celtics guard on an emotional night.
The Garden crowd greeted Marcus Smart with cheers before the opening tip and gave him a standing ovation as he walked onto the court. In the first quarter of the game, the Celtics celebrated Smart’s nine-year tenure with a heartfelt tribute video.
The Celtics later recognized Marcus Smart as a “Hero Among Us” for his countless charitable contributions. Standing ovations and enthusiastic chants of “We love Marcus” and “Thank you, Marcus” were heard throughout the night.
In Tatum’s return, Smart was showered with love. In an interview with Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston, he discussed the special occasion after the Celtics won 131-91.
Tatum told Chin, “It was great to see the reception he got.” After being here for 10 years, he was the heart and soul of this organization. Obviously, I miss him, but it was great to see him.
As Smart walked off the stage after Tatum’s interview, fans gave him another thunderous ovation. Tatum is aware how important Marcus Smart was to the city.
The cheers for Smart are only right, Tatum said. “He gave his blood, sweat, and tears every single night. He left it all on the floor. He was part of our success for so many years. He was rightfully the favorite Celtic for so long. The fact that Marcus Smart got the love he deserved was great. Though he didn’t suit up against his former team because of a finger injury, it was undoubtedly a night he will never forget.
Tatum also enjoyed the evening. In three quarters, the five-time All-Star scored 34 points, including six from 3-point range. Just two rebounds and three assists separated him from a triple-double.
In order for Smart to face Tatum and his former team next season, this was the Celtics’ last meeting with the Grizzlies this season.
Before hosting the Atlanta Hawks at TD Garden on Wednesday, the Boston Celtics will enjoy two days off.