After a miserable 1-4 road trip, Marcus Smart is understandably fed up with how the Celtics have been playing.
The Boston Celtics have not been playing good basketball recently. This comes somewhat as a surprise, seeing as how they have one of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and a lineup worthy of the NBA Finals.
But yet, Boston’s road trip out west was not overly kind to them. In a five-game stretch, the Celtics won a single game, and that only came after a monumental comeback and an overtime period in Phoenix.
The Celtics are a wildly disappointing 7-6, and Marcus Smart is sick of it. To be more specific, he’s fed up with the attitude he feels is surrounding his team.
It’s safe to say the Celtics, for the time being at least, are no longer the favorites to win the Eastern Conference, and Smart might be feeling that more than anyone else.
“We come into practice every day and we beat each other up,” Smart said, via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. “Then we get out there and it’s like ‘Oh, we’re not going to beat these guys’ or, ‘We don’t want to fight.’
We’re no longer the hunter, we’re the hunted now. Everybody is coming after us, everybody sees and reads what’s been said and what we’ve done. And, rightfully so as competitors, they take it as a disrespect to them, they want to go out and prove what they can do, so we’re going to get everybody’s best game. And if we’re not expecting that then, we’re going to continue to keep going into these deficits and getting our ass kicked.”
Smart makes a very strong point. Though he is arguably the best pure defender on the team, the Celtics played very lackluster defense on the road trip, and it showed heavily when they found themselves facing 15 or 20-point deficits in the first half of just about every game.
There is no need to truly be worried about the Celtics right now. It’s only mid-November, and with the talent on their team and an excellent coach like Brad Stevens, they are bound to find their footing sooner rather than later and get back to winning basketball games.
But it has still been a stunning start to the season, and there is no doubt the power in the Eastern Conference has temporarily shifted to the Toronto Raptors, Milwaukee Bucks, and even the Philadelphia 76ers now that they have acquired Jimmy Butler.
Once again, even though they shouldn’t be, the Celtics are finding themselves as underdogs.