BOSTON (CBS) — After the Celtics lost Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals on Thursday night, reporters heard Marcus Smart yelling inside the Celtics’ locker room. A new report from The Athletic details a lot more of what was taking place behind closed doors.
Shams Charania got the inside scoop, and he reported that Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown had a “heated confrontation,” and the two players “needed to be separated by teammates.”
Charania cited multiple sources for his report, which noted that Smart had engaged in some verbal outbursts at assistant coaches during the game.
“Smart stormed into the Celtics postgame locker room saying that other players needed to be held accountable and not simply point the finger toward him when things are going wrong,” Charania reported. “As Smart continued and his voice grew louder, sources said Brown snapped back and shouted that Celtics players must stay together and that their actions must come as a team, not individually, and that Smart needed to cool off. Those sources added Smart had verbal exchanges with a couple of the assistant coaches during the game.”
Charania added that “objects” were “thrown around” during Brown’s and Smart’s “tense interaction,” but teammates prevented anyone from doing any damage.
Brown spoke to the media after things cooled down.
“He plays with passion and is full of fire and that’s why I love him most,” Brown said of Smart. “There are ups and downs with families all the time and we embrace each other. What Marcus is, I love him for that. We have to use that fire in Game 3. … I think there’s a beauty to it, or whatever. I recognize it as emotions and passion and nothing else, or whatever the media might see it. We have to express that same passion next game for 48 minutes, period.”
Celtics big man Enes Kanter took to Twitter long before Charania’s report surface, noting that there were “too many [B.S.] rumors out there” and that “no one can split our family up.”
Hours after Charania’s report, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Brad Stevens held a late-night meeting with Smart, Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker to try to “work through the emotions” of that locker room scene.
ESPN Sources: Brad Stevens had a late night Thursday meeting with Celtics leaders – Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart – to work through emotions of post-Game 2 locker room. A lot of yelling in locker room, but nothing escalated to a physical confrontation.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 18, 2020
The Celtics will have to resolve their issues in time for Saturday night’s Game 3 if they hope to avoid falling into a 3-0 hole.