"There's only one Marcus Smart," Walker told reporters. "I'll tell you that much right now. There's only one. Different beast. That dude is unbelievable. He's a monster."
Smart was everywhere Boston needed him Tuesday in the 102-99 victory. The Oklahoma State alum finished with 19 points (6-of-11 from deep), three rebounds, two blocks, one assist and plenty of glares from the Raptors. A force both on the ball and on defense, Smart was crucial in disrupting Toronto's rhythm and helping put the defending champions in a bind early in the series.
Smart scored 16 of those points in a three-minute span early in the fourth quarter, hitting five of his three-pointers and sparking his teammates down the stretch.
Boston went from down eight at the start of the quarter to up one with nearly eight minutes remaining.
"I ain't never played with somebody like Smart," Celtics star Jayson Tatum told reporters after the game. "I ain't never met somebody like Smart. He is one of a kind."
Tatum led all scorers Tuesday with 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists, but that might've not been enough had Smart not erupted early in the fourth quarter.
The guard explained his mentality—and what it will take to win the series—after his performance.
"We have to continue to play desperate," Smart said. "Even though we're up, we have to play like we're down. We have to play games to win, not to lose. A lot of teams at this point, they play not to lose."
Not many depth players would continue to challenge their teammates following a playoff win. That Smart was willing to shouldn't be a surprise since he's constantly pushing to find an edge at all time. It's what makes him as difficult to slow down as anyone.
No further proof was needed Tuesday than Walker's comments.
The key acquisition of Boston's offseason—the guy who helped sink the Raptors in Game 2—couldn't help but gush over Smart.