As bad as things may have looked for the Celtics during their 128-114 loss to the Chicago Bulls Monday night, the postgame wasn’t much better. During his media availability, Marcus Smart called out the Celtics’ two young stars and the team’s offensive philosophy as reasons for a 2-5 start.
“Every team knows we’re trying to go to Jayson [Tatum] and Jaylen [Brown]. Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball,” Smart noted.
The comments come after a game where the Celtics were outscored 39-11 in the fourth quarter, shooting 5-of-23 from the floor. Through seven games the Celtics are averaging 23 points per game in the fourth quarter, which ranks 23rd in the league.
“[There’s] only so much I can do without the ball in my hands sitting in the corner. We’re running plays for our best players, every team knows that. They do a good job of shutting that down. We can’t allow that,” Smart continued. “We can’t keep trying to go to those guys. We’ve got to abort that, find another way to get them the ball in spots that they need the ball. For me, I can only do so much just sitting in the corner or when I come up and give the ball away.”
“That’s something that they’re going to learn. They’re still learning. We’re proud of the progress they’re making, but they’re going to have to make another step,” Smart noted, shifting to some constructive criticism. “Find ways to not only create for themselves but create for others on this team to open up the court for them later down in the game where they’re always going to have to take those tough shots or take tough matchups when they do get the 1-on-1 or they bring the trap. It’s something we’ve been asking them to do and they’re learning. We just got to continue to help those guys do that to help our team.”
Tatum and Brown both declined to speak to the media following the loss and Smart’s comments, according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. Brown was reportedly scheduled to speak, then removed from the schedule after Smart’s comments.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.