NBA Rumors: What Caused Celtics’ Locker Room Blowup After Game 2 Loss

This could be a turning point, one way or another

by Mike Cole

September 18, 2020

The Boston Celtics saved their Game 2 fight for the locker room, apparently.

Shortly after melting down and blowing a 17-point lead to the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals, Celtics players were heard yelling and shouting at each other in the locker room.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania on Friday added some more context to the postgame spat, saying the primary combatants were Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown.

According to Charania’s report, the two didn’t come to blows, but tensions certainly were high as Boston tried to pick up the pieces after falling behind 2-0 in the series.

Smart and Brown were separated by teammates, multiple sources told Charania. The blowup started after, according to Charania, Smart “stormed into the Celtics postgame locker room saying that other players needed to be held accountable” and not blame him when things go wrong. Brown, according to the report, called for unity among the players.

Charania, however, cited another source that indicated the Celtics stars “will move past this” and channel their energy toward climbing back into the series.

In some ways, the Celtics should hope this is a needed wakeup call. For the second time in two games, Boston blew a big lead, as its 17-point meltdown in Game 2 followed a 14-point evaporated lead in the series opener. The Heat have done a much better job of playing together, especially in crunch time, whereas the Celtics — stymied by Miami’s zone defense late in games — have done far too much standing around and expecting someone else to make a play.

Perhaps this will bring the Celtics closer together. It also could be a sign this team is ready to quit. We’ll learn more Saturday night when the teams play a crucial Game 3 in Orlando.

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY Sports Images
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