Smart: Celtics “Just Not Together” During Losses

The Celtics lost their third straight game on Tuesday, falling in embarrassing fashion to the Raptors in Toronto. While the final score was 118-95, the game wasn’t even really that close — at one point, Boston trailed by 31 points.

As the Celtics struggle to determine why they’ve failed to deliver on lofty preseason expectations so far this season, veteran guard Marcus Smart offered one explanation, writes Kevin Arnovitz of In Smart’s view, the C’s are “just not together” during their increasingly common slumps.

“What are the main ingredients to those collapses? Not being together,” Smart said. “And that’s it. We’re just not together. Plain and simple. That’s it. Because if we were together, that wouldn’t happen. We’re all talking and linking up, but like I said, it’s something we’re going through, and it’s something we’re going to have to continue to work at and figure it out.”

Meanwhile, head coach Brad Stevens shared his own thoughts on what’s causing the Celtics’ on-court struggles.

“We were taking a lot of shortcuts, and that hurt us,” Stevens said following Tuesday’s loss, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe.

Asked about Smart’s and Stevens’ assessments of the Celtics’ slide, Kyrie Irving didn’t offer much to reporters on Tuesday night. Addressing Smart’s opinion that the C’s aren’t playing “together,” Irving replied, “That’s Marcus’ opinion. I respect it.” When a reporter asked whether Kyrie agreed that the Celtics were taking shortcuts and inquired about what the team might do to fix the issue, the All-Star point guard said, “I don’t know, it’s up to Brad.”

While Hoops Rumors typically doesn’t focus too much on game-to-game results, the ongoing dysfunction in Boston could potentially have a huge impact on the coming offseason. Irving – who was seen talking to president of basketball operations Danny Ainge in the locker room after Tuesday’s game, per Himmelsbach – will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, and no longer appears fully committed to his preseason vow that he’d re-sign with the Celtics.

If the Celtics don’t get things sorted out by the playoffs and are eliminated in the first or second round, that could help swing Kyrie’s decision. In turn, if Irving leaves, Boston would probably be far less inclined to go all-in for Anthony Davis on the trade market. In other words, the Celtics’ play over the next couple months will be worth watching closely, since it could significantly affect the NBA landscape going forward.

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30 thoughts on “Smart: Celtics “Just Not Together” During Losses

  1. imindless

    This team is even more mangled than lakers. Team plays better without kyrie, kyrie feels devalued. My guess is knicks with kd or lakers with bron. I dont see celtics trading for ad after this development.

  2. Guest617

    lebrona – take notes to how you gently throw teammates under the media bus. #striveforgreatness

  3. mafiaso316

    sign and trade kyrie after he opts out for multiple chips and then re-sign rozier and morris

    • Sign & trades don’t work in the NBA, way too complicated, so forget about it, best case scenario for Boston Kyrie just walks out, I said last summer they should have traded him, you cannot keep guys until they ran out of contract so they can walk for free & you get nothing, another big mistake by Ainge, trading him last summer would have allowed Boston to trade for AD before the trade deadline, oh well next time, Ainge really missed a trick here, big time.

      • mafiaso316

        so you say,, sign and trade could work if kyrie wants a max contract and the team wanting him wants him bad enough

        • x%sure

          In most cases Irving could just opt out and go there (NYK, BRK) without his new team having to give up anything, which would presumably be his preference. The option is his.

          • mafiaso316

            he gets more money signing with the C’s, that is where the sign and trade comes into play, now if he just wants to go somewhere else and sacrifice some money then I think his agent may not agre with him, but bully for him if he does take less.

            • x%sure

              I see what you mean, with an S&T Irving could get the most amount of money AND get out of town.

              Google the difficulties of S&Ts, or even the NBA CBA. They made most of it readable to most ‘laypersons’ with some effort– And they made S&Ts hard on purpose.

            • Luke Adams

              A sign-and-trade actually no longer allows a player to get more money than he would if he signs outright with the new team — that was adjusted in the 2011 CBA. Since then, a player has to actually stay with his own team if he wants to get the biggest possible deal (more years, higher raises).

        • whodatcoon

          A sign and trade would only work if Kyrie really wants to play for a team that doesn’t have cap space and Boston wants a lot of salary back for Kyrie (probably not great contracts, because a team going for Kyrie isn’t giving away their good players). So yeah its damn near impossible that a sign and trade that actually helps Boston more than it hurts them happens. Y’all got plenty of picks anyway, the problem with Boston is taking that mess of good and somehow making it great, Ainge hasn’t been any good at that.

    • KCelts

      Or just re-sign Morris and let Smart start at PG. If Kyrie leaves (and lets say Mook and Rozier leave too), Smart-JB-Hayward-JT-Horford still is not a bad lineup at all.

    • whodatcoon

      Oh the whole sign and trade to get more money thing you mentioned, NO WAY bro. Kyrie wouldn’t want the team he is signing with to get worse so that he can make more money. That would be stupid because the team would give up assets that would help Kyrie. Boston mismanaged the Kyrie thing, no hoping yourself out of that bag of chips.

  4. Brad Stevens says the Celtics are still searching for an identity this far into the season. I’m wondering what Kyrie’s +/- numbers are like.

  5. Nebraska Tim

    Decent 5 seed loses on the road to a very good 2 seed.

    The problem is that the Celtics did so well last year and overachieved, but this year the East has gotten better and they’ve regressed.

    Playing hard will only get you so far against more talented teams.

    I look forward to the time when people will stop pretending that the Celtics are a top team in the East, and just take them as they are: a really fun, young team that can be great some days, and frustratingly bad on others.

    If they don’t secure home court, they’ll be lucky to get out of the first round of the playoffs.

    • whodatcoon

      Boston has just wasted a lot of picks, the only matter when you use them properly. JT is a future All-star, the rest of the young guys are not so much. The Hayward contract is horrible, he was hardly a max player before the injury maybe borderline. When Kyrie leaves, maybe it gives them a chance to find a true identity.

  6. rayzor

    If Kyrie is going to screw the Celtics in free agency, I hope he does it before Rozier has a chance to leave. Not that Rozier has Kyrie’s talent, but he is a quality point guard.

  7. hobbie44

    Funny if Kyrie does to Celtic what Gordon did to Jazz. How is that playing out for the Celts now? Gordon’s best years are far behind him.

    • dust44

      He just had a really bad injury. Paul George took a year or two to come back from the same one. His best years aren’t behind him. He’s just in the spot light on what should b the best team in the league. PG was playing for the Pacers who were never on TV.

      • whodatcoon

        He was only borderline max to start with. He best days are in the rear view, I feel bad for him.

      • hobbie44

        Hope your right. But I am a Jazz fan and watched Gordon have an offense and a team built around him. He never wanted to have the ball in crunch time, passed game winning shot opportunities up all the time, and frankly didn’t want to be the man on the team.

        You will probably just assume I am a jaded Jazz fan but I bet he doesn’t like having the ball in his hands in crunch time with Boston.

        • x%sure

          Excuse me for asking, but doesn’t he look paler now than he used to? Which would actually be a good thing, indicating more robustness is possible.

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