Tensions ran high in the Boston Celtics locker room after falling behind the Miami Heat 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, and teammates Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown “needed to be separated” from “a heated confrontation” following Thursday’s Game 2 loss, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Multiple reporters in the corridor heard screaming, cussing and “loud clanks” emerging from Boston’s locker room. According to Charania, Smart entered the room expressing frustration about bearing the burden of the blame for another collapse, suggesting others were also accountable. Brown reportedly responded, calling for a collective response to the team’s struggles and telling Smart “to cool off.” Objects were thrown, but teammates intervened before the altercation turned physical, Charania reported.
Smart: ‘Y’all on that bulls---’
Smart screamed, “Y’all on that bulls---,” as he exited the locker room, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn. The fiery guard continued to yell and cuss outside the room, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews.
Smart declined to speak with media afterwards.
Celtics address locker room scene
Celtics guard Kemba Walker downplayed the reports in his postgame news conference.
“It was nothing,” Walker said. “It was nothing. I ain’t got much to speak on about it.”
Head coach Brad Stevens also declined to expound.
“Guys were emotional after a hard game — hard loss,” Stevens said, per Andrews.
Jayson Tatum described the locker room scene as “nothing out of the ordinary.”
Simmering stress amid long bubble stay?
The 106-101 loss was the second straight for the Celtics after leading the Heat late in the fourth quarter. Boston rallied from a seven-point deficit at the start of the final stanza to take a 95-93 lead with 3:17 left. But the Heat once again turned on the pressure late to outscore the Celtics 13-6 the rest of the way.
On Tuesday, Boston blew a 13-point fourth-quarter lead before losing in overtime, 117-114.
After two-plus months in Orlando and a pair of frustrating, high-stakes losses, emotions boiled over behind closed doors, but outside the locker room the Celtics are maintaining a united front ahead of Game 3.
Enes Kanter showed his support of his teammates on Twitter.
Too many Bullsh.t rumors out there, this group of guys is one of the best I’ve been around.
No one can split our family up.
Keep fighting & grinding.
— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) September 18, 2020
Jaylen Brown threw his support directly behind Smart following their confrontation.
“He plays with passion, he’s full of fire, and that’s what I love about him most,” Brown told reporters. “He has that desire and that will, and we need him to continue to have that. We embrace each other, and who Marcus is, I love him for it. We’ve got to be ready to come back, take that same fire and add it to Game 3.”
More from Yahoo Sports: