BOSTON (CBS) — Heading into the season, the Celtics had a pretty sweet nickname for their bench: “Bench With Attitude.”
Unfortunately, they needed some attitude in their starting lineup following a 10-10 start. That forced Brad Stevens (along with a nasty fall by Jaylen Brown) to insert his two biggest “attitudes” — Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris — into Boston’s starting five on Monday night in New Orleans.
It worked out pretty well, as the two Marcuses were the energy injection that Boston has needed from the opening jump. Smart’s peskiness on defense led to a slew of Pelicans turnovers and a first-quarter lead for Boston, which had been extremely rare for the C’s during their sluggish start.
Stevens has been coy about whether or not he’ll keep Smart and Morris in the starting lineup over Brown and Gordon Hayward, which has WBZ sports producer Scott Sullivan begging the Celtics head coach to keep it rolling.
“I want to plead with Brad Stevens — I know he’s a big fan of Slice of Sully along with millions of other viewers. Brad, I want you to keep this starting lineup intact, at least for the immediate future,” Sully implored during the most recent edition of “A Slice Of Sully.”
Smart played a team-high 40 minutes on Monday night, and though he didn’t put up dazzling numbers in the box score, his impact was evident from the jump.
“Marcus Smart brings such an intangible that we talk about over and over again. It’s never about scoring. It’s about his defense and his grit and his energy. Right from the opening tip he’s ready to go, ready to play defense and get in guys faces. I think that affects everyone around him and everyone plays better defense when he’s in there,” said Sullivan. “Every little thing he does is huge and it gives them more energy.”
Sully likes Morris in the starting five because of his grit and ability to spread the floor.
“He has been playing lights out; maybe the second-best player on the team this year,” he said of Morris, who is shooting 49 percent overall and 43 percent from three-point land.
What should happen to Jaylen Brown when he’s healthy, and which two players could find themselves the odd men out later this season? Sully and Steve Burton tickle the twine with all of that and more in the video above, and check out past episodes of A Slice Of Sully here.