Celtics guard Marcus Smart said that in the wake of the team’s loss to the Sacramento Kings on Friday night, Boston’s fourth loss in five games to open the second half of the regular season, the Celtics held a team meeting to try to correct themselves and turn around what has been a disappointing campaign before it’s too late.
“We just sat in the locker room and really reflected on each other,” Smart said after the Celtics responded with a 112-96 victory over the Orlando Magic at Boston’s TD Garden on Sunday. “We asked ourselves, as I said, ‘How do we want to end the season? How do we want to be remembered for this season?’ Everyone agreed, this was a bad feeling and an ugly feeling that we are feeling and we don’t want to feel that way.
“We don’t want to look back on this season and say, ‘Damn, we could have done this.’ We still have time. It’s not much, the scope for that is closing, but we still have time to fix it, and that’s what we are trying to do. “
After mediocre losses to the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kings in their previous two games, Boston looked a lot more like the team it’s supposed to be on Sunday, controlling the game during the second half. Boston shot 23 of 54 from 3-point range, including Jaylen Brown’s 10 of 18 from behind the arc en route to a game-high 34 points, while holding the Magic at 38% shooting overall.
Boston’s upside-down season has tied it with the New York Knicks for sixth in the compressed Eastern Conference standings. The Celtics are just one game behind the fourth-place Atlanta Hawks and are 3.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors at 11th, showing how much things can change for better or worse in the span of a few games, depending on how is a team. Playing.
With the Celtics now in the midst of having their five healthy starters and playing together for an extended period for the first time this season, they hope now is the time to start figuring things out after hovering around .500 all season. Well below the standard they have set themselves in recent years, having reached the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four years.
“We were focusing on what we want this season to be for us, what we want to leave behind this season,” Smart said. “We have enough time to turn it around, and that’s all on our own. We sit down and understand that we have not been playing by the criteria we expected and others expect us to. We are a young team and we are learning.” The important and most important thing about growth is understanding and accepting the failures where you are wrong: yourself, individually and as a team.
“The conversations that we had, we did. We just tried to sit down and try to figure it out and listen to each other to help us, not ourselves, but the team, individually and everyone. Try to put everyone in the right place.” position to succeed, and we went out and it showed tonight, and that’s what we have to keep going ”.
Boston will have a chance to see if there is a carry-over on Monday in Memphis, where the Celtics will begin a four-game road trip that includes games in Milwaukee against the Bucks on Wednesday and Friday.
It would help their cause if the Celtics can continue to shoot like they did Sunday, including Brown in particular, who finished within a distance of Smart’s franchise record of 11 3-pointers in a single game.
More than the shots he hit, though, Brown said it was important for the Celtics to get the bad taste of recent games out of their mouths before hitting the road again and trying to carry their momentum forward.
“It’s a great stepping stone for us,” Brown said. “We’ve been a bit depressed. Coming here early in the game, a little different from our routine, to get a nice and comfortable win is good for our spirits. We know that. We’ve underperformed and we’ve had that extra pressure. on us from everyone, from all outside forces. So I told our guys to focus on us man. Forget what the media is saying, Forget what the fans are saying and go out there and play some good basketball , and let’s see where the chips fall, and I hope we can do that more, much more, for the rest of the season. “