The Celtics kept media availabilities to a minimum in wake of Marcus Smart’s emotional postgame comments, where he essentially called out Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown after Boston’s really bad loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
Brad Stevens tried to diffuse the situation Tuesday in an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Boston, but more was riding on how Ime Udoka and the players themselves responded to the incident.
Based on how the head coach handled his first press conference since, he doesn’t have any issue with Smart’s message, and Udoka gave the reminder that helping Tatum and Brown evolve into better playmakers has been a focus of the Celtics since he took over for Stevens.
“Some of the things he said are things we talked about every day,” Udoka said pregame via Zoom before the Celtics played the Orlando Magic. “I preached that from Day 1 with Jayson and Jaylen and guys growing in that area, being playmakers. So it’s stuff we constantly are showing on film, talking about, so it’s there’s nothing new as far as what we have shown and done and they’ve done a great job in those areas. So Marcus and Jaylen, Jayson have a history together — of being together for a long time. And you know, every time I’ve ever been on or coached has had moments where they butt heads.
“It’s something that’s addressed and continually preached with those guys and so not trying to blow it out of proportion.”
Well, blowing things out of proportion is what happened here. But to be fair, the Celtics made Jaylen Brown unavailable to the media after Smart’s comments Monday night, so what was the internet supposed to do but take small quotes from the guard’s full statement and run with them?
But according to the Celtics, there’s no underlying issues here, and Smart talked things over with Tatum over breakfast Monday, per Stevens.
Boston will look to bounce back against the Magic, with tip-off at 7 p.m. ET in Orlando.