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Celtics rookies Marcus Smart and James Young learning the ropes

Marcus Smart (36) and James Young have looked the part of rookies thus far for the Celtics.File/Nick Laham/Getty Images/Getty

DALLAS — Just like typical kids with short memories, Marcus Smart and James Young were ready to move forward from their Game 2 performances as rookies for the Boston Celtics.

Young wasn't basking in the glory of scoring 6 points in his NBA debut just 16 months after his high school graduation. Smart wasn't the least bit daunted by his struggles in Saturday's loss to the Houston Rockets.

There were reasons to rejoice. Smart, the sixth overall pick just four months ago, was headed to visit his mother Camellia in the new home he purchased for her in suburban Dallas.

Young, who was born during Michael Jordan's first retirement with the Chicago Bulls, was basking over signing a shoe contract with Jordan Brand, joining teammates Jared Sullinger and Gerald Wallace, as well as Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Ray Allen, Russell Westbrook, and Carmelo Anthony.


The second official game of their rookie seasons brought different results.

Smart played just 11 minutes after his sparkling debut Wednesday against the Brooklyn Nets. Smart missed all seven of his field-goal attempts, five of which were 3-pointers, with two turnovers and one assist.

"First of all, I didn't think we had a great rhythm as a team, but he was struggling a little bit," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "One of the things that he's going to have to do is grow through the pains and grow through the good times. He had a great game in Game 1, didn't play well in Game 2. Now it's about getting better. He's a mature kid and he'll do that. He wasn't the same as he was in Game 1 [but] I'm not losing sleep over him."

Smart eventually will adapt to the opponent's adjustments. The word is out is that he is potentially an elite defender and teams will attempt to use his aggression against him.


"Probably a little bit too hard," Smart said when asked about the extent of his self-criticism. "I think every athlete is their own biggest critic. That's just who we are. We're so competitive."

Monday's game against the Dallas Mavericks will serve as a homecoming for Smart, who grew up in Flower Mound, about 28 miles from downtown Dallas. He has gathered 30 tickets for family and friends but is locked in on the business, nothing else.

"We've got a job to do," he said. "My family is going to be there but that's not my main focus. My main focus is this team."

When asked of his Sunday plans, he said: "I'm fixing to actually go home to my mom's and visit her and go check it out."

A smiling Smart continued: "She looked at it. She picked it out. She's been doing all [the set up]. This is going to be my first time seeing it. I promised my mom when I was a little boy if I ever made the NBA, that's the first thing I'd do for her and right now, I'm blessed to be able to do that for her."

Young is gaining a reputation as a cool customer, and he attempted to downplay his 6-point performance in six minutes in his NBA debut, but in some ways he couldn't.

"It was crazy, I actually didn't think about it as much but I was kind of nervous," he said. "Everybody was blowing me up [on my phone afterwards] off of 6 points. It's only 6 points. Just chill. It was great to get in and just play."


Stevens was pleased with Young's debut.

"It's not what I would have preferred, to be down 20 to break the ice," he said. "I thought he did a pretty good job and he's a guy we need to continue to grow, get better, and be ready. He can do some things in nights like last night when you're not scoring the ball, he's a guy you may turn to in the future."

Young couldn't downplay the shoe contract. Jordan Brand selects its athletes with legend Michael Jordan taking part in the decision.

"I always looked up to Jordan — everybody did, he's a great player," Young said. "Once I got that opportunity to sign with Jordan, it was mind-blowing. Speechless. It was crazy, you got so many great guys to sign with Jordan like that and it's a big a family and they welcomed me to it. It's going to help to strive to keep getting better."

Gary Washburn can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GwashburnGlobe.