If you tuned into a national sports TV channel Tuesday, chances are you saw Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics all over the news. And it wasn’t exactly for a good reason.
Thomas appeared to call out his teammates and coaches after two straight road losses to the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Clippers, and his comments were the topic of many debates in Boston and beyond.
But, for what it’s worth, Thomas attempted to clarify the controversial comments Wednesday before Boston’s primetime matchup with the Golden State Warriors.
“I was frustrated, I thought we should have won — the last two games — and that’s just how I felt,” Thomas said, via ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg. “I was always taught to speak my mind. But for the most part, I don’t want to be a distraction. My teammates know that. It’s bigger than how I feel, I guess. I’m trying to move forward and look forward to tonight, and hopefully we can get a win.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens also spoke to reporters about the incident.
“At the end of the day, I didn’t put much thought into it until it became a deal that everybody was talking about,” Stevens said, via Forsberg. “And, at that point in time, I heard from Isaiah pretty quickly. So again, I don’t put a lot of stock (into it). I understand the emotions and how high they run at the end of games, win or lose. And that’s something that — I have to go out there every day and talk after the game too and it’s not an easy thing to do all the time. And so I get it.”
And then there’s what Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett.
“Nobody prepares more for a game than Brad,” Ainge told the Herald, “not even Isaiah, who really prepares. Players don’t know what it’s like to coach. I took Isaiah’s comments as frustration. He hates to lose. But good leaders don’t look for blame. It’s easy to lead when things are going well. It’s much more difficult when adversity strikes. And everyone will face adversity. I know Brad is a great coach — even one of the best — but that doesn’t mean he won’t make a mistake, just like great players do. But I know he will learn from his mistakes because he doesn’t look to place blame but looks internally for what he can do to maximize his talent.”
We wouldn’t say this controversy is in the past quite yet, but it appears the Celtics are trying to learn from this and move on. Will it work?
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images