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Marcus Smart Says Celtics Held Team Meeting Amid Recent Struggles

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 22, 2021

Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart plays against the Orlando Magic during the first half on an NBA basketball game, Sunday, March 21, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

The Boston Celtics improved to 21-21 following a 112-96 home win over the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

The Celtics' .500 record is quite surprising given the team's expectations following an Eastern Conference Finals appearance last year, but Boston has largely struggled of late, losing four of its last five leading into the Magic matchup.

After the game, Celtics guard Marcus Smart said his team held a meeting to discuss their recent struggles.

"We just kind of sat in the locker room and we just really self-reflected on each other," Smart told reporters.

"We asked each other, like I said, 'How do we want to end the season? How do we want to be remembered for this season?' Everybody agreed, this was a bad feeling and an ugly feeling that we are feeling and we don't want to feel like this.

"We don't want to look back on this season and be like, 'Damn, we could have did this.' We still have time. It's not a lot, the margin for it is closing, but we still have time to fix it, and that's what we are trying to do."

The Celtics' 21-21 start after 42 games may not be what the team hoped for, but Boston has 30 regular-season games remaining. The Celtics are firmly in the playoff picture as of now in a top-heavy Eastern Conference that features only three teams at three games or better than .500.

Boston is also just one game behind the Atlanta Hawks for fourth, so the C's can position themselves well for the playoffs in hopes of making a run to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010.

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Smart added more commentary to his previous comments about the team meeting:

"We were focusing on what we want this season to be for us, what we want to leave behind this season. We have enough time to turn it around, and that's all on us. We sat down and we understand we haven't been playing to the criteria that we expected and others expect us to. We are a young team, and we are learning. The big thing and the biggest thing about growth is understanding and accepting the faults that you are wrong for—yourself, individually, and as a team.

"The talks that we had, we did that. We just tried to sit down and tried to figure it out and listen to one another to help—not ourselves, but the team, individually and everybody. Try to put everybody in the right position to succeed, and we came out and it showed tonight, and that's what we have to continue to keep going."

Boston can use the Magic game as the jumping-off point for a successful finish to the season. The Celtics led by 16 after three quarters in part because of a stellar offensive performance from Jaylen Brown (34 points on 12-of-24 shooting). Jayson Tatum added 23, and all five starters ended up scoring in double digits.

On the other end, the Magic shot just 38.1 percent from the field, with Evan Fournier and Aaron Gordon combining to go only 9-of-32.

The C's will now hit the road for four games beginning with a matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

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