Only Marcus Smart could describe the flare-up that occurred in the Boston Celtics' locker room following a Game 2 loss in the Eastern Conference finals as “electrifying."
Smart said that, on the heels of Boston fumbling away two double-digit leads while falling behind 0-2, the team needed to vocalize its frustrations and he was proud of the way the team responded in a Game 3 victory.
And Smart thinks all that screaming and shouting that reporters heard outside Boston’s locker room after Game 2 only helped the team re-focus after two tough losses.
"Electrifying, what happened in the locker room,” Smart said Monday, the first time he’s chatted with reporters since Boston’s locker room blowout that reportedly featured Smart and Jaylen Brown as central figures. "We’re a family, a family fights all the time. I fight with my brothers all the time. But at the end of the day, we can fight with each other and nobody else can. It happens between families, especially a family like ours who has been together so long. It’s going to happen.
"We’ve got a lot of guys who play with their feelings on their sleeves, who play with their heart on their sleeves, play with their heart night in and night out, and we weren’t supposed to be happy down 2-0, especially with those two games that we gave us. We’re playing against a great Miami team and we can’t have those lapses like that. Of course emotions are going to fly, but we’re a family and it happens.”
Smart admitted that he doesn’t handle losing particularly well but believes unleashing those emotions helped the team.
“The fact that we were having those conversations. I would have been more worried after that Game 2 loss if everyone was calm, cool, and collected. That would have been a problem,” said Smart. "I hate losing more than I love winning. I play with a lot of people who feel the same way, so for us to be able to express that, to get it out, and to build that type of energy for ourselves, because there aren’t as many fans here... We have our families here, but for the most part they just sit over there, cheer, and it’s a different feel.
"You have to bring a different type of energy for yourself and your teammates, so for us to be able to find that fuel to get us back on the right track was something important. So the fact that we were able to have those conversations in the locker room let me know, personally, that we were going to be alright and we were going to get back on the right track.”
And Smart stressed that the Celtics remain as close as ever after the flareup.
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“The way that I responded and my teammates responded, it shows that we are as close as ever even though we've gone through adversity,” said Smart. "We still are a family and we are going to need to have moments like that."
Later he added, “Before you see the rainbow, it has to storm. For us, that was a storm that we had to go through.”
Celtics rookie Grant Williams said Smart’s unvarnished leadership is key to Boston’s success.
"He’s our heart and soul,” said Williams. "He’s a guy that keeps us going, keeps us inspired, keeps us competitive. He’s our dog. We just have to look and follow his lead and trust that we have a lot of guys on this team that can do a lot of great things. He’s just going to compete his butt off, and we follow that standard and follow that lead, and I think we’ll be well set off.”