The Celtics blew their second straight second-half lead in a 106-101 loss to the Miami Heat on Thursday night as Boston fell behind 0-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals.
And things reportedly blew up in the Celtics locker room.
Multiple reporters described a heap of distressing noises pouring out of Boston’s locker room after the loss, including what sounded like chairs being thrown, head coach Brad Stevens pleading with his team to calm down and a shirtless Marcus Smart storming out and huffing, “Y’all on some bulls–t.”
The Athletic reported that there was a heated confrontation between Smart and Brown after Smart said too much of the blame was falling on him.
“They will move past this and focus on the task,” a source told the website.
Once in front of the media, those who did speak — Stevens, Kemba Walker, Brown and Jayson Tatum — downplayed the entire situation.
“It was nothing,” Walker said. “It was nothing.”
“Guys were emotional after a hard game,” Stevens added. “Hard loss.”
“(Smart) plays with passion, he’s full of fire, and that’s what I love about him most,” Brown said after Game 2. “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.”
Even Enes Kanter, in his first season with the Celtics, took to Twitter later Thursday night to vehemently deny the team’s apparent disrupted chemistry.
“Too many Bulls–t rumors out there, this group of guys is one of the best I’ve been around,” wrote Kanter, who recorded nine points and six rebounds in the loss. “No one can split our family up. Keep fighting & grinding.”
The Celtics coughed up double-digit leads (14 points in Game 1 and 15 in Game 2), imploding in the second half of both matchups. Boston was outscored 37-17 in the third quarter Thursday night, falling apart after a series of missed shots and ugly turnovers.
After managing to stabilize and going on a 15-2 run to take a 94-89 lead with 4:25 left when Walker stuck a 3-pointer, Boston melted down again.
The upstart Heat closed the game with a 17-7 run, leading to the locker room chaos from their opponents.