BOSTON - Following the Boston Celtics third straight loss on Friday night, Brad Stevens commended the Milwaukee Bucks, saying that they were “tremendous” in their 120-107 win at TD Garden. He added some comments about how the Celtics need to play better and improve, and then unceremoniously exited the media room.
Normally, this is when the locker room doors open, reporters enter, and players recap the game. Friday was different. Once Stevens finished his post game press conference, the locker room doors didn’t open. The line of reporters outside the entrance grew antsy, and chatter of a players-only meeting began to travel after 10, 20, and 30 minutes of waiting. It took thirty-six minutes for the locker room to open, and thirty-six minutes for players and coaches to get anything and everything off of their chests.
Marcus Morris didn’t play on Friday night due to knee soreness, but he was the first player to leave the locker room. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald made sure to track him down and ask if a players-only meeting had occurred. Morris’ response? “No, it was a discussion.”
Once the media was allowed into the locker room, it was clear that something wasn’t quite right. Even after a loss, there is always some chatter between players. There was none of that on Friday. After a three-game skid, it was quiet, intense, and honestly, a little uncomfortable.
Celtics wing Jaylen Brown didn’t say much about the “discussion,” but gave more info than Kyrie Irving or Jayson Tatum (the other two players who spoke). “Just a team trying to get on the same page, get everything together. Trying to do something special. Trying to make sure we’re all clicking on the same cylinders.”
Brown added that it wasn’t just players, the Celtics’ coaches were included in the meeting. Similar to his teammates, he wouldn’t add many more details, choosing to keep it within the locker room.
“We’ve got to play to a certain level, and we haven’t been playing to that level,” said Brown. “We had a talk, and today was the time we chose to talk. I’ll keep it confined to what we talked about to between us, but we’ve got to do better. ... But it was well-needed. It was definitely well-needed, and we’re trying to move forward in the right direction.”
Irving, on the other hand, blatantly refuted discussing the meeting, saying that it’s “none of y’all business, honestly.” He did add that it was “much needed” and it was time for the team to address their inconsistencies. The Celtics point guard also shared some interesting thoughts on the team’s recent play, pointing out some selfish play that has been hurting their performance. He called for “consistent cohesion.”
“Obviously some selfish play out there,” said Irving. “We have some really talented guys, but we’re better as a team sharing the basketball, and if it’s late in the shot clock that’s when we start shooting our iso plays, as opposed to if we have nothing in transition, shooting with 16 or 17 on the clock, or shooting a fadeaway, something like that. I get caught up in that as well.”
Tatum seemed confident that the Celtics would get it going in the right direction, finishing up one of his final answers by saying, “We are going to be alright.”
Listen to all of the sound following Boston’s closed-door meeting and loss to the Bucks below: