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Celtics’ Marcus Smart becomes first guard to win Defensive Player of the Year Award since 1996

Smart is the second Celtics player to win DPOY.

Marcus Smart
Photo: AP/Mark J. Terrill

Boston Celtics point guard Marcus Smart was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, becoming the first backcourt player to win the award since Gary Payton did at the end of the 1995-96 season.

Smart is also just the second player to win DPOY with the Celtics, joining Kevin Garnett in that regard.

The 28-year-old received 37 first-place votes, beating out other finalists Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns and Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.

Meanwhile, the Celtics are 1-0 in their first-round playoff series against the Brooklyn Nets following a thrilling 115-114 win over the latter on Sunday. Smart made the winning assist, finding Jayson Tatum in stride for an ensuing layup that won it at the death.

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