Marcus Smart isn’t one to mince words during turbulent times on the basketball court.
The Boston Celtics guard criticized his team Wednesday night over the effort and consistency levels it has demonstrated early in the regular season. Smart delivered his scathing assessment in an interview with the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, following the Celtics’ 117-109 loss to the New York Knicks.
The defeat was the Celtics’ third consecutive setback and their seventh loss in their last 10 games. Their 9-9 record belies their status as the preseason favorite to win the Eastern Conference, and Smart believes it’s time to air some hard truths about the state of the team.
“… But we’ve got to stop sugarcoating things,” Smart said, per Bulpett. “That’s the problem. We’ve got to stop sugarcoating it. We’ve just got to call it what it is. We’re playing like punks; that’s just what it is.
“It’s not everybody. You’ve got guys out there that are playing and playing hard. That’s some, but we don’t have all five guys at the same time. So teams are going to continue to whup us.”
This isn’t the first time Smart has voiced his concerns about the Celtics’ play publicly. He called on his teammates to be “more than fighters” Nov. 13 after they went 1-4 on a road trip. However, Boston has gone 2-3 since then, prompting Smart to speak out again.
Just three of the Celtics’ next 12 opponents have winning records, so the schedule offers them plenty of time and chances to heed Smart’s call and correct their course. We only can imagine what Smart might say if the Celtics fail to capitalize on the opportunity the forgiving upcoming slate of games presents.