Stephen A. Smith opines DPOY winner’s absence for Boston Celtics in Game 1 could be a costly miss

Following their impressive Game 7 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Boston Celtics are moving on to the Eastern Conference finals. The final roadblock between them and a shot at the championship is Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.

For the Celtics, injuries continue to take a toll on their roster in the postseason. Robert Williams III has been in and out of the lineup and now Boston could be without one of their most important pieces.

While their is optimism he can play, Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart is questionable for Game 1 in Miami due to a right foot injury.

Smart underwent an MRI today on that right foot and the imaging returned clean, sources tell ESPN. There’s hope he’ll be ready for Game 1 and Celtics will see how it feels on Tuesday in Miami. twitter.com/timbontemps/st…

As the heart and soul of Boston’s lineup, not having Smart is a big loss. The grittiness and intensity he plays the game with will be crucial for the Boston Celtics against a team like the Heat.

Following this news, Stephen A. Smith gave his thoughts on ESPN’s “First Take.” He feels potentially being without Smart puts added weight on the Celtics’ All-Stars, stating:

“That puts more pressure on Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on both ends of the floor.”

Smith also admitted that he does not like Boston’s chances in this series if Smart is forced to miss an extended period of time, saying:

“You need him in this series to advance to the NBA Finals.”

Can the Boston Celtics take down the Heat without Marcus Smart?

Boston Celtics vs.  Milwaukee Bucks: Game 7
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks: Game 7

Marcus Smart is the X-factor for the Celtics. Between his defense and improved playmaking, he has been a major catalyst in the Boston Celtics making it this far.

Smart not being 100% certainly throws a wrinkle in things and begs the question if Boston can advance past the Heat without him. Stephen A. Smith might not think so, but a case can be made in their favor.

For starters, Miami is also dealing with injuries. Kyle Lowry has looked like a shell of himself and leaves the Heat without one of their championship veterans. Both sides missing key players arguably puts them on an even playing field.

By far the biggest thing going for the Boston Celtics is that they have the best player in the series. Jayson Tatum has taken his game to new heights and has been one of the top players in this postseason. The pressure will be on without Smart, but he is more than capable of shouldering the load until he can return.

After going toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tatum should fare well against Jimmy Butler. Even if Smart can’t take the floor, Boston looks well on its way to reaching the NBA Finals for the first time in over a decade.