BOSTON — Are we starting to see more of the Marcus Smart that the Boston Celtics expected when they selected him with the sixth overall pick in 2014?

Smart scored only four points Wednesday night in a victory against Dallas but is still averaging career highs of 11.8 points and 3.6 assists. Defense has always been Smart’s strength, but early this season he’s also shot the ball better.

Even after making only 1 of 6 shots against the Mavericks, Smart is shooting 40 percent overall and 32.5 percent from beyond the arc. Neither is lights out, but both are career highs by wide margins.

As a rookie, Smart shot only 36.7 percent, including 33.5 percent on 3s, and last season shot even worse, 34.8 percent and 25.3 percent. Even in his two years at Oklahoma State, Smart shot only 41.3 percent and 29.5 percent on 3-pointers.

“I’m just taking better shots,” Smart said, “and really being more confident in my shot.”

“I think he’s played pretty well,” Coach Brad Stevens said, “and he’s always been really good competitively. He’s making shots, he’s doing a lot of tough things. He’s playing undersized almost every night he steps on the floor by four inches a night usually. So he’s really doing a good job.”

Smart, at 6-foot-4, thrives on defending taller opponents. He plays one-on-one with 6-7 teammate Gerald Green to get used to it.

Smart isn’t a pure point guard nor a true shooting guard. But he does make his presence felt on the court.

Smart is probably the most physical Celtic. He has no problem mixing it up with players close to a foot taller.

Smart missed the first three games of the season after spraining his left ankle in the Celtics’ preseason finale, then came off the bench for four games before starting the last four. After Jae Crowder sprained his ankle, the Celtics struggled defensively with rookie Jaylen Brown in the starting lineup, so Stevens turned to Smart even though he’s not a forward.

Smart figures to return to the bench once Crowder returns, which could be as soon as Friday against Golden State. Celtics fans probably expected more than a contributing bench player when the Celtics selected Smart out of Oklahoma State with the sixth pick in 2014.

To be fair, Smart is still only 22, but he doesn’t figure to start as long as Thomas and Avery Bradley are around. After next season, Thomas and Bradley are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and Smart will be a restricted free agent, so the Celtics have some decisions to make.


WIZARDS 119, KNICKS 112: John Wall scored 23 points and had 11 assists, and Otto Porter added 21 points as Washington, at home, won for just the third time in 11 games.

The Wizards, who had lost three straight, took the lead late in the first quarter, led by 10 at halftime and by 27 late in the third quarter.

HEAT 96, BUCKS 73: Dion Waiters scored 23 points and Miami won at home to end a six-game losing streak.

Josh Richardson added 18 points, and Hassan Whiteside had 12 points, 17 rebounds, and eight blocks. The losing streak was Miami’s longest since 2008.

ROCKETS 126, TRAIL BLAZERS 109: James Harden had 26 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds for his third triple-double of the season to help Houston win at home.

Harden completed the triple-double in the third quarter. The Rockets rebounded a night after scoring just three points in the final six minutes in a 105-103 loss at Oklahoma City.

TIMBERWOLVES 110, 76ERS 86: Andrew Wiggins had 35 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to lead Minnesota at Minneapolis.