BRIGHTON - Marcus Morris’ comments following Saturday’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers made headlines throughout the league, signally another bump in the Boston Celtics’ roller coaster season. The team held practice at the Auerbach Center on Monday before flying to Philadelphia, where we heard from Brad Stevens and Al Horford on the matter.
The team was loose on Monday, going through their post-practice shooting drills, laughing and messing around with one another. It was a good sign following the somber postgame mood at TD Garden late Saturday night. Stevens began by saying that it was better for Morris to come out and say it, rather than being an “unnamed source”.
“One of the things that we say at the very beginning of the year is that we don’t want to be a team quoted as unnamed sources,” said Stevens. “So if you’re going to say something, you’ve got to put your name next to it. Marcus’ frustrations were obvious and evident.”
Throughout this entire season, Boston’s chemistry has been questioned. It’s the constant storyline of the young guys vs the old guys, and how that dynamic has progressed over the course of the season. Stevens didn’t seem too concerned with where the team is, saying that the group likes one another.
“Every group has to work its way into the best chemistry it can be,” Stevens said. “Obviously we’ve got a ways to go. The really great teams get there. We’ll find out. Our story will be told at the end if we made it or not, right? This group likes each other. It’s a well-intentioned group. I think that obviously, we’ve talked about it, all of the different challenges of roles and everything else have been something that has made it difficult at times, but those have actually been much better of late. The biggest thing is just we haven’t played well, especially in the third quarters. … It just has to get a lot better. And it’s not just the starting lineup, it’s the whole group. So there’s a lot of things that go with that. We have to play better and ultimately that’s why I said the other day, I have to do a better job of helping and making sure that we’re playing to the standard that we need to play to, and go from there.”
Veteran center Al Horford spoke along the same lines, while also not showing any drastic concern. Horford said the team addressed it on Monday morning and that they have now moved past it. Despite that, the 32-year-old made it clear that the past two games were not ideal.
“I think that, sometimes, you just need a wakeup call,” said Horford. “As good as we’ve been playing, we have to put things into perspective. I felt like we’ve been playing good basketball and the past two games have not been what we want to be.”
Horford went on to say that their two straight losses were a step backwards, but he feels it will make the Celtics better in the long run.
“I do feel like when we’re playing like we need to play, our team clicks great,” Horford said. “We just need to stick together. It’s frustrating for us, we don’t want to be losing. We’re going to figure it out.”
For Stevens, it’s pretty simple:
“When you lose big leads and you’re getting booed, rightfully so, off the court, it’s not like, ‘Hey, man, that was awesome.’ That sucks. It’s not fun. So, whatever. Like, play well.”