LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla – Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens held a late night hotel meeting with the team’s leaders on Thursday to talk through the frustration and emotions that spilled into the locker room after a Game 2 loss to Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals, sources told ESPN.
Stevens met with Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart starting around after 1 a.m. ET, and let those players talk through the issues that had led to significant yelling and outbursts in the post-game locker room, sources said.
Among the coaching staff and players, there was a belief that players had sufficiently talked through the issues and were ready to start preparing for Game 3 on Saturday, sources said.
Smart was one of the players at the center of the discontent, and could be seen still yelling upon leaving the locker room after the Celtics lost a second consecutive game to Miami to start the series, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported on Thursday.
Nothing in the locker room escalated to anything close to a physical confrontation, sources said, and ultimately Smart marched out of the locker room to start cooling off. The stakes and circumstances of the series — losing a second straight close playoff game to Miami, two-plus months confined to the Disney Wide World of Sports Bubble environment – certainly contributed to a scene that can be typical of postseason failure.
The Heat lead the Celtics 2-0 with Game 3 set for Saturday night.