WASHINGTON (AP) – Chants of “M-V-P!” flooded the arena as Ish Smith – yes, the 31-year-old reserve guard of 11 NBA teams across 10 seasons – stepped to the line for a pair of free throws in the fourth quarter.
He was, after all, in the middle of a second consecutive star turn for the injury-depleted Wizards, scoring 14 of his game-high 27 points in the final period – including 10 in a row on 5-for-5 shooting in one stretch – to lead lowly Washington past the Boston Celtics 99-94 Monday night.
“If it was a two-game season, I would have to agree with the crowd: MVP,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said with a smile afterward. “And he’s bringing back the mid-range. He’s hard to stay in front of. His change of direction. His pace. The speed.”