A .500 record over 18 games this season does not sound like the Celtics, and neither does losing seven out of the last ten games.
So, understandably, Marcus Smart is pretty unhappy with his team.
“It’s the same old song,” Smart told the Boston Herald after Wednesday night’s 117 -109 loss to the New York Knicks. “You know, it gets annoying. I don’t even know what to say at this point. You’ve already done heard it. I’m tired of talking about it. I don’t know.”
Wednesday night was the team’s third straight loss, something that has a lot of people wondering what is going on with the Celtics this season.
“We’ve got to stop sugarcoating it,” Smart said. “We’ve just got to call it what it is. We’re playing like punks; that’s just what it is. … It’s not everybody. You’ve got guys out there that are playing and playing hard. That’s some, but we don’t have all five guys at the same time. So teams are going to continue to whup us.”
Despite having a strong lineup this season, topped off with both a healthy Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving, the Celtics have struggled through their early games. Early season struggles aren’t much of a red flag in the NBA, but now nearly a quarter into the season, there is no more room for “it’s early” excuses.
“You know, at some point when a guy scores on you repeatedly — a team busts on you repeatedly — eventually you’re going to get tired of it, hopefully,” Smart said. “But that’s not the case with us. We’re OK with getting down 20 or getting down early or letting teams get hot, letting teams feel comfortable.”
Smart isn’t the only member of the squad with growing frustrations. Marcus Morris spoke with Jay King of The Athletic, saying that the Celtics’ locker room has been plagued with mood swings and disappointment as the season goes on.
“I think everybody can tell you [the energy is] not great,” Morris said. “And that’s one thing that we’re trying to focus on as a team. To be a championship team you’ve gotta have great energy when you come in here. You’ve gotta laugh and you’ve gotta be [sharp] win, lose or draw. At the end of the day you can’t let it bleed into the next practice or next game.”
Though Morris and Smart had different attitudes, their message was inherently the same— the Celtics need to step up their game and work harder as a team if they want to improve over the second half of their season.