Following the Boston Celtics’ tough loss to the Miami Heat in game two of the Eastern Conference Finals, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown reportedly had a locker-room altercation to the point where they needed to be separated, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Charania reports that Smart started yelling, telling teammates that they needed to step up and be held accountable. Brown intervened and argued that the Celtics needed to stay united, rather than divided through the adversity. Fellow Celtics teammates diffused the situation before it got out of hand.
During his postgame presser, Brown seemed to have cooled down, saying of Smart, “He plays with passion. He’s full of fire… I love him for it.”
Forward Jayson Tatum also reflected on the situation, telling reporters, “That’s team sports. You’re not supposed to be happy if you’re down 0-2… It’s cool, gotta get ready for the next.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens held a private meeting with Smart, Brown, and Tatum to clear things up late Thursday night.
Smart’s competitive spirit has long been a staple of his tenacious style of play and has helped the Celtics reach their third Conference Finals in the past four years. It’s no accident that he’s carrying that same mentality into the locker room following a loss in which the Celtics squandered a 17-point lead.
One could argue that he took it too far, but Smart’s actions could easily serve as the wakeup call that the Celtics need heading into a must-win game three. We’ll see if Smart’s competitiveness rubs off on the rest of the team in their next game on Saturday.