Draymond Green on facing Marcus Smart, Celtics in NBA Finals: ‘It’s like a chess match’

BOSTON — Draymond Green and Marcus Smart have found many similarities, and it just has nothing to do with their product on the court. They often get under the skin of opposing fans, while both are known as players whose impact can be seen beyond box score stats.

That was the case throughout the NBA Finals as the Warriors led 3-2 against the Celtics. Both Smart and Green are considered great basketball players — especially as defenders. Smart got his flowers this year when he was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year, while Green won the award in 2017.

The Celtics finished the regular season 1st in defensive standings while the Warriors finished 2nd. So there was quality defensive basketball throughout the finals, and Green had words of praise for Smart.

“You have a guy over there in Marcus Smart who’s extremely smart, and it’s like a chess game going against him,” Green said. “He’s kind of the brains of this team. I think every team has that guy, that’s the brains of that team, and they have that in Marcus Smart, a guy I have tremendous respect for and his basketball IQ. So it’s a challenge.”

The Celtics are on the verge of being eliminated for the fourth time this season and so far they are 3-0 in such contests. They came back from a 3-2 deficit in series against the Bucks and then beat the Heat in Game 7 on the road to reach the final. The Celtics hope to win their season if they want to win Banner No. 18, although against the Warriors it will be a difficult task.

While Boston coach Ime Udoka said the defense has mostly worked well, Boston’s offense has been lackluster so far. The Celtics have only 88, 97 and 94 points in their losses. They scored 120 and 116 points in their wins. Turnovers and other problems continue to plague the C’s where, when they play clean balls and make the right plays, offense comes naturally.

Do-or-die Game 6 takes place Thursday at 9 p.m. at TD Garden. The Celtics haven’t been great at home in these playoffs, but they’ll try to defend their home turf and keep their season alive.

“We’ve been doing that all season for the simple reason that we were really at the back end catching everyone else,” Smart said. “We were kind of forced to play with our backs to the wall. We’ve really gotten used to it where it’s kind of a part of us now, in our nature. It’s nothing new to us. It’s a different game. It’s another tough game. We are in our house.”

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