By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown had to be separated on the Celtics bench Thursday night as tempers flared during a loss in Miami.
The incident occurred during the second quarter of Boston’s 115-99 loss, with Morris giving Brown a little shove after the two exchanged words on the bench. It was captured by a fan behind the Boston bench and posted to the Bleacher Report social media accounts following the game:
Morris appeared to be telling Brown to “play harder” when teammate Marcus Smart stepped between the two (yes, that Marcus Smart). Morris then gave Brown a shove to his right shoulder.
The veteran Morris, one of the vocal leaders of the team, appeared to be irritated with Brown on the court prior to the stoppage in play. Brown was late getting back on defense and Miami took advantage and got an easy layup out of the Brown miscue. Morris jawed at Brown on the floor after that play.
The Celtics trailed by just three points when Miami called that timeout at the 7:12 mark of the quarter; they were down by 18 points by halftime.
Brown was subbed out of the game during the timeout and did not return for the rest of the first half. He played just 14 minutes and finished with two points off 1-of-5 shooting. The third-year swingman has had his struggles on both ends of the floor this season, losing his starting job in December.
The incident is a bad look during a bad game for a team that looked pretty great the night before in a blowout win over the Indiana Pacers in Boston. Disagreements between teammates is not rare in the NBA, but they usually happen behind closed doors and not out in the open — where cell phones are always rolling these days.
Thursday night’s dust-up shouldn’t be a gigantic issue that will sink the team, but it’s another frustrating installment in a disappointing season. Just when we thought the Celtics may be turning a corner and becoming the Eastern Conference contender they were hyped up to be all summer, they start fighting on the bench and the bad feelings rush back in.
Unfortunately the video was posted after the Celtics had fulfilled their media duties in Miami, so no one on the team was able to share their thoughts on the matter. But it didn’t seem like a very big concern to Celtics president of basketball ops. Danny Ainge.
“It’s two good kids that are competitive,” Ainge told the Boston Globe on Friday. “They both want the same thing. Emotions happen in games, and I’m not worried about it.”
The Celtics are back in action Friday night against the Magic in Orlando.