It ain't all pretty in Boston right now.
On Monday night, the Celtics held a commanding 103-89 lead over the Chicago Bulls through three quarters. They would proceed to be outscored 39-11 in the fourth, suffering their most embarassing loss of the young season.
Frustration boiled over after the game. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown opted not to speak to the media; Marcus Smart did, and expressed his concern with the lack of ball movement from Boston's stars.
“I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys try to pass the ball,” Smart said. “They don’t want to pass the ball and that’s something that they’re going to learn. They’re still learning and we’re proud of the progress they are making, but they are going to have to make another step and find ways to not only create for themselves but create for others on this team.”
While the tone of the quote was more "this has to be better, but they'll get there" rather than an all-out trashing session, the message wasn't very well received.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowkski reported that, prior to the Celtics traveling to Orlando to face off against the Magic on Wednesday night, the team held a players-only meeting to clear the air.
Reporting for NBA Countdown on the Celtics holding a players-only meeting in Orlando – and how there remains a lot of work to be done among franchise’s key players. pic.twitter.com/1fQ7VmDsdC— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 3, 2021
Wojnarowski said the meeting got "emotional at times" when discussing Smart's comments about Tatum and Brown. Most notably, described the summit as a "not a terribly productive meeting, maybe not even beneficial."
To the Celtics' credit, they were able to rack up a 92-79 victory over the Magic. Brown in particular responded, posting an efficient 28-5-3 line in a shade under 32 minutes.
How's this for some Small Sample Size Theater: the Celtics dished out 24 assists on 33 made field goals during the win. That 72.7 assist rate was their highest mark of the season, and just the third time they've eclipsed a mark above 65 this season. They're now 2-1 in games in which they've assisted on more than 65% of their shots this season; that record improves to 18-7 dating back to the 2019-20 season.