Celtics' Marcus Smart Out for Game 4 vs. Heat with Ankle Injury

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVMay 23, 2022

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - MAY 21: Marcus Smart #36 of the Boston Celtics warms up before Game Three of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals against the Miami Heat at TD Garden on May 21, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Boston Celtics announced Marcus Smart will miss Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals with a right ankle sprain.

The team confirmed Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams III will both be available against the Miami Heat on Monday night.

Smart also missed Game 1 because of a mid-foot sprain. The Celtics suffered a 118-107 defeat in his absence.

The 28-year-old put together perhaps his best ever regular season in 2021-22. He averaged 12.1 points, 5.9 assists and 1.7 steals, and he dethroned Utah Jazz big man Rudy Gobert as the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year.

Smart has carried that over into the playoffs.

Through 12 contests, he's averaging 15.8 points and 6.8 assists. The 6'3" guard has helped Boston play suffocating defense at times, too. Per NBA.com, he's holding opposing players to 32.7 percent shooting on three-pointers.

Beyond the raw numbers, Smart is a tone-setter. As much as Derrick White has helped since arriving before the trade deadline, he can't provide the leadership on the court the Celtics typically get from Smart.

A 2-1 deficit is far from insurmountable for Boston, and it will have the benefit of a hometown crowd in Game 4. The complexion of the series will shift dramatically if things are level ahead of Game 5 in Miami.

Should the Celtics falter Monday without Smart, though, their hopes of reaching the NBA Finals would be hanging by a thread.