After blowing a 17 point lead and losing game two of the Eastern Conference Finals the Boston Celtics were not happy. In game one they blew a 14 point fourth quarter lead and ended up losing in overtime. Holding leads has become a very serious problem for this team. Another problem? Closing out games.
Recently after the game ended, news broke about supposed yelling from the Celtics locker room. We later found out that Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart had to be separated.
Honestly, I 'm glad that guys were upset. They should be upset after that performance. A simple zone defense seemed to stifle their offense, and they were repeatedly beat by Bam Adebayo on the pick and roll.
There are a few problems with this team though. As far as their performance in the second half, it was either players not adjusting, Brad Stevens not having them adjust, or both. It feels like this team is just too young right now. Those simple changes by Miami turned the whole game around. Whose fault that is I cannot say, but Stevens certainly has a role in it.
Another problem is that the Celtics don't have a leader. They don't have a guy who in crunch time is going to demand the ball in his hands and make the play. They don't have the guy who can call out anyone on the team for not doing their part. The Heat do have that guy: Jimmy Butler.
I've heard it a million times that Marcus Smart is the "heart and soul" of this team, even from players on the Celtics. The thing is though, your sixth man just cannot be your heart and soul. It just does not work. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown are both too young to assume that role, and Kemba Walker just doesn't have the personality.
In my opinion this leaves a hole both on and off the court. It is very clear that late in games, Boston does not know what to do on offense. They tried feeding Jayson Tatum earlier in the postseason (and in game 1), but at this moment in his career, he is just not ready for that. He is not intelligent enough on the court for that. He often tries to force plays. I love Tatum, but his game still needs some work to be that last minute go to guy.
Jaylen Brown made two incredibly clutch threes late in game two, but couldn't hit the potential game tying shot. Kemba Walker has been so streaky as of late, and doesn't seem to have the confidence he did during the regular season.
As far as in the locker room, I don't doubt that Marcus Smart started calling people out. They most likely deserved to be called out, but it's tough being called out by anyone, never mind your sixth man when everyone is healthy. Yes, he is a leader, but he doesn't have the pedigree to be doing that. IT most definitely was not just Smart though. Emotions were boiling over, and it was a very frustrating game. It happens.
Obviously game three will be the biggest decider as to whether their post game antics were good or bad. They might win game three, but I just have a hard time seeing Boston win this series. Right now, they are just two young. They don't have that killer mentality yet. And they also don't have that "clutch" guy yet. Remember, they are still missing Gordon Hayward, and that has hurt them. In addition, Jayson Tatum is just 22 years old, and Jaylen Brown is just 23.
Clearly they care, and that is a good thing. This just might not be the Celtics year.