Sportress of Blogitude

Marcus Smart says it’s ‘tough’ to play while mother undergoes chemo

Marcus Smart played 24 minutes with nine points, six assists and three rebounds in the Boston Celtics’ 108-83 thrashing of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Sunday’s Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. But Smart could not help but have his thoughts drift to his own mom back in Texas on what had to be an emotional Mother’s Day.

Smart’s 63-year-old mother, Camellia, revealed her bone marrow cancer diagnosis to the Celtics point guard last month on a visit. At the time, Smart was still recovering from a torn ligament in his right thumb that had kept him out since March 11.

Smart ended up missing the Celtics’ first-round series win over the Milwaukee Bucks but returned for the team’s second-round series victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.

While Smart eases back into game shape, his thoughts frequently turn to his mother, whose own desire to see him return to the court inspired him throughout rehab.

“It’s tough. I’m not going to lie, it is tough,” Smart said this week ahead of Tuesday’s Game 2, via ESPN. “I’m professional; we have a job to do. And that’s something about my mom, she’s real big on, ‘I’m going to be OK, go handle what you gotta do. And I’m going to be all right.’ That gives me a little comfort to go out there and not really feel guilty of being here instead of there with her.

“But it is tough. It’s tough, but I have a great support [system] around me.”

Smart admitted he receives quite a bit of tough love from his mother about his play.

“My biggest critic and my biggest fan, and I love her,” said Smart, adding his mother is “doing well” and “responding” to thrice-weekly chemo treatments.

Smart did talk to his mother after Sunday’s Game 1 win and learned she had a lot of family around while enjoying the victory. While that probably is of some comfort to Smart, it still has to be extremely difficult to be away from his mother at this time.