We all know what happened last night, but let's reset the mood properly to dive into this rabbit hole of chaos we are about to travel down. If you haven't read our "Out of Bounds" posts before, welcome...think of this as a version of Alice in Wonderland but more chaotic. Just imagine moving in and spending a month living with the Mad Hatters.
Back to hoops, so last night the Boston Celtics fell apart again, losing another big lead to the Miami Heat and finding themselves down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference Finals. It was another devastating loss for this Celtics team who have blown two games due to large leads and specific quarter meltdowns. In Game 1, the Celtics saw themselves heading into the fourth quarter leading by as many as 14 before the Miami Heat clawed back and won in overtime. In Game 2, Boston found itself leading by as many as 17-points before Miami fought back with a Mad Max-like mentality to crawl back and overtake the Celtics again.
Now I know what you're thinking and the answer is obviously yes, the Playoffs are filled with runs and teams get hot all of the time. But it's the way that the Celtics have lost in both of these games that have been so honestly...insane. It's hard to comprehend what's happening to Boston as they have raced out to big leads in both games before taking the gas off of the pedal.
A report after Game 2 leaked that the Boston Celtics locker room after the game was HEATED.
Marcus Smart is screaming in the #Celtics locker room and there is a bunch of arguing going on. Smart comes out say “y’all on that bullshit!” Team is imploding. Smart is in bathroom and there is still screaming coming from locker room.— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) September 18, 2020
Since the initial report from Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe, a variety of basketball reporters, including Shams and Woj have come out with their own editions of the locker room frenzy.
Marcus Smart is screaming at someone in the Celtics locker room — or several people. The yelling continues as Smart exits the locker room, swearing.— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) September 18, 2020
Smart refused to speak with the media. A number of other Celtics teammates were interviewed and downplayed the entire chaos including Jaylen Brown and Enes Kanter.
Jaylen Brown on the postgame locker room: "Lotta emotions just flying around. ... That's it." Said they felt like they should have won.— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) September 18, 2020
Jaylen Brown: "There's ups and downs with families all the time, but we embrace each other for who we are. Who Marcus is, I love him for it. We gotta get ready to come back with that same fire and add it to Game 3."— Chris Grenham (@chrisgrenham) September 18, 2020
Enes Kanter on the Celtics locker room story pic.twitter.com/tZpNcCgHTF— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 18, 2020
This morning, Woj dropped an article stating that head coach Brad Stevens met with a variety of the Celtics leaders to talk things over and break bread in so many words.
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
ARE WE ALL CAUGHT UP?
Okay now bare with me. Just because I selfishly believe that this playoff series could become one of the best series in the entire Playoffs, I found myself with a chaotic theory last night. Did Marcus Smart just pull a Larry Bird? If you don't understand where I'm going with this, allow me to educate you on the fly.
Back in 1984, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers met in the NBA Finals. After losing by 33 points in Game 3, Larry Bird was interviewed in the postgame and said that his teammates played like "sissies." This of course led to the infamous "Clothesline Game" in which Kevin McHale sent Lakers forward Kurt Rambis head over heels while going up for a layup and breaking out a brawl between both teams. The Celtics would go on to swing the momentum of the series from that point on.
Obviously, Marcus Smart didn't go directly to the media and say that his teammates played like a bunch of "women" or "sissies", but the odds are heavy that some more extreme words were said during that locker room madness. Yes, I believe that someone on this Boston Celtics team needed to do something of this magnitude with the way that the Celtics have simply given up during the last two games. No, I am not at the least surprised that it was Marcus Smart. Shams also dropped a report for TheAthletic today, stating that Smart called out several Celtics players before Jaylen Brown countered that Smart didn't need to call out everyone as an individual and that it needed to be a team effort.
Of course, you can understand where both parties are coming from. The bottom line is that the Celtics are needing to regroup in a hurry. They have coasted throughout the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals at various points, and the Miami Heat have jumped on that opportunity. This Miami team is built for the exact type of success they have experienced recently. Yes, Miami might look up and be down by 20 at one point in the game, but they are going to keep fighting and coming at you until the game is over.
Boston could have found itself up 2-0 in this series, but they look up and find themselves in a hole instead. The Celtics need to realize that the team across from them is built with a similar identity. Heart. It won't surprise me if Marcus Smart just gave the Celtics the fire to refocus and get themselves on the right path in a hurry. That's just the type of mentality this Boston Celtics team has, they are at their best when they have their backs against the wall. But this time it's different...because the team they are playing against thrives at that very same game.