What Celtics need to be mindful of after loss to Pistons

Nick Friar
January 16, 2020 - 7:00 am

Marcus Smart has recognized he’s prone to getting himself in trouble with the NBA after referees agitate him throughout a game. Because, after he was ejected from Wednesday’s game, Smart was not available for questioning. That never happens. He’s always ready to talk.

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But maybe he’s finally realized his battle with NBA refs is one he can’t win.

That doesn’t mean Smart will stop chirping officials in-game. Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum do the same. It’s part of the game. Sometimes those botched calls can even invigorate players. Nothing wrong with that.

Though, on the whole, it does seem like the Celtics’ emotions are starting to get the better of them, which was part of the problem in Tuesday’s 116-103 loss. (For a complete recap of the Celtics' loss, click here.)

“I mean, everybody gets a little frustrated throughout the course of the game. Things weren’t going our way. It happens,” Kemba Walker said. “Being frustrated can definitely put your focus elsewhere. I feel like times that kind of happened. That’s what we got to be better at.”

Now, the frustrations within the team vary. Smart was upset with the refs — perhaps himself, as well. Walker was certainly more focused on his own flaws postgame.

“More upset about my individual play than anything right now. But it starts with me,” he said. “I have to be better for my teammates.”

Sometimes, Boston’s emotions can sway in the other direction. That can also be an issue. Success can turn into overconfidence or complacency.

“I just feel like we got comfortable winning early and we thought that was just supposed to happen,” Jaylen Brown said. “We got away from some of the things that we did to get those wins, so we’ve got to get back to beeing the seeker and not the seeked.”

The good thing for the Celtics is this is all happening in the middle of the season — after they’ve already proven to themselves they can hang with any team in the NBA.

Furthermore, the ups and downs haven’t led to any visible tension between the players. Most of the Celtics beat themselves up more than anything else.

But the C’s still need to figure out how to make their emotions an asset and not something that can hold them back. Otherwise, they’re going to run into trouble if they get into a serious playoff battle, in which they’ll constantly face adversity.

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