Marcus Smart comes up with a key steal to help Celtics beat Thunder

A. Sherrod Blakely
NBC Sports Boston

OKLAHOMA CITY - Marcus Smart had good looking shots that didn't go down.

He picked up some early fouls that sent him to the bench earlier than usual and would be whistled for a technical foul to start the third quarter. 

It wasn't exactly the kind of homecoming the former Oklahoma State star was looking for, for sure.

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But Smart is the ultimate gamer, a player who tends to rise to the occasion when a big play is needed for the Celtics

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And Sunday's 112-111 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder would be no exception, as Smart came up with the play of the game in helping Boston (37-15) extend its winning streak to seven in a row. 

Clinging to a 111-108 lead in the fourth quarter, Boston's Gordon Hayward had his shot at the rim blocked by Dennis Schroder, rebound by Steven Adams

With the ball in the hands of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and a chance to tie it up with a 3-pointer, the Thunder had every reason to feel good. 

But Gilgeous-Alexander had a rare moment when he wasn't as careful with the ball as he had been all game. 

And Smart made him and the Thunder pay by stealing the ball, getting it upcourt to Kemba Walker who was fouled. 

Here's a look at the play, courtesy of the Celtics on NBC Sports Boston's Twitter account.

Walker made one of two free throws with 2.5 seconds left, which turned out to be the game-winning point after Chris Paul drained a 3-pointer as the final horn sounded. 

"Great play, huge play obviously," Celtics' Brad Stevens said of what turned out to be Smart's fourth steal of the game. "We had a couple of possessions there where we were either rushed or whatever the case may be. We made some mistakes, but that was an unbelievable steal by Marcus."

Especially against Gilgeous-Alexander who had been flawless with the ball up to that point. 

In fact, Smart's steal was the only turnover Gilgeous-Alexander committed all game. 

"Shai kind of left the ball out in front," Smart recalled. "I was close enough and I did what I do and came up with the steal. And like I said, I just felt like I needed to make a play and it was right there for me to make it, so I just made the decision to go for it."

The entire Celtics squad was happy with Smart's play, but no one more than Tatum whose 26 points on 10-for-19 shooting would have been a side note to what could have been a loss fueled by Tatum's miscues in the closing seconds as Tatum committed two turnovers in the final 70 seconds of play.

"He (Smart) definitely saved us today," Tatum said. "Saved me from the (two) turnovers I had late in the stretch, so that was a big-time play by him."

Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Celtics-Rockets, which begins Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live followed by tip-off at 9:30 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.

Marcus Smart comes up with a key steal to help Celtics beat Thunder originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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