The Boston Celtics have serious issues right now.
Not only are they faced with a 2-0 series hole in the Eastern Conference finals after blowing a 17-point lead Thursday night. They also must overcome a locker room confrontation in which Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown reportedly needed to be separated by teammates.
Sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania that Smart stormed into the Celtics’ locker room after their Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat saying other players needed to be held accountable and not simply blame him when things aren’t going well. Smart’s outburst reportedly prompted a response from Brown, who suggested the players need to stick together.
Perhaps Brown has a point, in that Boston needs to respond as a team upon returning to the hardwood Saturday night for Game 3. But former Celtics center Kendrick Perkins also understands where Smart is coming from after Boston’s 106-101 defeat in Game 2.
“Marcus Smart had the right to go off,” Perkins said Friday on ESPN’s “First Take” while criticizing the Celtics’ interior defense. “Because Marcus Smart, the whole game, he’s guarding Jimmy Butler, Jimmy Butler is quiet. He switches on to Goran Dragic, all of a sudden Jimmy Butler starts going off.
“Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, where are you guys at right now on the defensive end? Kemba Walker, where are you at? The Miami Heat are picking on you right now. They are picking on you.”
Perkins definitely didn’t hold back in his assessment of the Celtics, calling the Heat the “better team” and saying Miami’s Erik Spoelstra is a “better coach” than Boston’s Brad Stevens.
Will Boston’s internal blowup and the outside criticism help galvanize the Celtics as they look to respond with their backs against the wall?
Whatever the case, emotions ran high Thursday night, and it was enough for Stevens to hold a late-night meeting with the Celtics’ team leaders.
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