After the Celtics blew a 19-point, second-half lead and lost 128-114 to the visiting Chicago Bulls on Monday, Boston’s point guard Marcus Smart criticised his two star teammates, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, for selfish play.
“Every team knows we’re trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen,” Smart said after the defeat.
“Every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys pass the ball.
“They don’t want to pass the ball.”
In contrast to Smart’s comments, Brown and Tatum declined interview requests after the game, according to multiple media reports. Both of them had three assists in the game while Smart had none.
Brown led Boston with 28 points on the night, hitting 10 of 18 shots from the floor while Tatum contributed 20 points on 8-of-22 shooting. Smart made 5 of 11 shots and scored 16 points.
However, it was from late in the third quarter onwards that things fell apart for the Celtics as the Bulls stormed back from a 19-point deficit to win by 14.
In the final period, Tatum shot 1-for-8 and scored two points, Smart was 1-for-2 for two points and Brown was 0-for-2 for none as Chicago outscored Boston 39-11 to rally for the win.
In contrast to their Celtics counterparts, Bulls’ stars DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine combined for 23 points and missed only one field goal between them in the fourth.
“They’re still learning,” Smart said of his teammates.
“We’re proud of the progress they’re making, but they’re going to have to make another step and find ways to not only create for themselves but create for others on this team to open up the court for them later down in the game.
“It’s something we’ve been asking them to do and they’re learning. We just gotta continue to help those guys do that to help our team.”
First-year Celtics coach Ime Udoka added of the loss, “We started celebrating early.”
It was Boston’s third defeat in a row for a 2-5 start and leaves the historic franchise 12th in the Eastern Conference standings.