Celtics

Celtics teammates Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris downplay altercation between them

Celtics teammates Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris downplay altercation between them

ORLANDO — Celtics forward Marcus Morris said he felt it was important as one of the leaders of the team to voice his frustrations to Jaylen Brown leading to the on-court flareup that was caught on camera by a fan and spread widely on social media.

Both Morris and Brown downplayed the incident while addressing reporters for the first time at the team’s shootaround Saturday in Orlando, where the C's play the Magic Saturday night, but Morris stressed that open communication is important in order for the Celtics to achieve their lofty goals.

"To be a good team and the team we want to be, we have to be able to be open with each other and be able to discuss stuff that’s going on on the court,” said Morris. "If it leads to a little bumping and pushing and shoving, what is it? It’s nothing. You get past that type of stuff and keep going.

"I mean the shoving and all that, that didn’t have to happen. But definitely when stuff is not going right or you want something to be said. You have to. That’s not the first time guys on this team openly went at each other. It just so happened somebody was recording. It is what it is. I don’t want to speak about it no more. We moved past it that day after that timeout. We’re moving forward.”

Brown and Morris sat next to each other as the players put on their sneakers at shootaround and stressed that both sides had moved on almost immediately during the game.

"Nothing major. Let it go. Move on,” Brown said, then repeated multiple times in his turn with reporters.

Morris said that the two players squashed any bad vibes, including sitting next to each other later in the game. In the bigger picture, Morris wants teammates to feel comfortable voicing concerns regardless if it might hurt feelings.

"How do you put yourself in the position of being able to compete for a championship if you’re not open and honest with each other?” said Morris. "I’m one of the leaders of this team so anytime I say something I think all I’m doing is trying to help each other, and I think Jaylen understands that.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens echoed that sentiment, noting that all of his players should feel empowered to speak up.

"Everybody feels comfortable doing that. The younger guys should feel comfortable doing that as well,” said Stevens. "It’s not a young and old thing when you’re on a team, it’s how do you get the most out of each person on the team. So we talked about it a little bit [Friday], we met when we got [to Orlando], both guys were the first people to say it’s not a big deal. Both guys wish that wouldn’t have happened with cameras watching but I think at the end of the day those are part of the team.”

Added Stevens: "I think when you’re part of a team for 82 games it’s not that big of a deal. I mean, [I’ve] been through a lot of different teams, some of which have taken time to become a team, some of which have been a team from day one and they’ve all had moments like that at one time or another whether the cameras were on or not.”

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Kyrie Irving's critical comments were justified, explains Celtics legend

Kyrie Irving's critical comments were justified, explains Celtics legend

Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving was critical of the team's younger players after a recent loss to the Orlando Magic, and one Celtic legend thinks the veteran point guard's comments were justified. 

Paul Pierce, who spent 15 years with the Celtics and helped deliver Boston a championship in 2008, explained Tuesday on ESPN's "The Jump" why he had no issues with Irving's comments. 

“However he has to do it to wake them up,” Pierce said. “Kyrie understands what it takes to win a championship, so he’s trying to show them there’s an everyday process to this.

“When I won a championship and we came back the next year, it was like, ‘don’t get bored with the process’ or ‘understand what the process is.’ And that’s what he’s trying to teach them. And that’s why they’re inconsistent, because they don’t understand that. It doesn’t start just on the court during games. It’s in practice, it’s the little things … It’s the little things that they have to follow — the details that it’s going to take for them to win a championship, and Kyrie’s trying to show them that.”

The Celtics have not met expectations so far this season and enter Wednesday's showdown against the Toronto Raptors with a 25-17 record. A lot of the frustration involving this team stems from its inconsistency. The C's have lost three consecutive games, but won four straight games before that. An eight-game win streak in December was followed by a three-game skid.

The Celtics' season ultimately will be judged on their playoff run, but they won't enjoy much success in April, May or June unless they find an identity and every player buys in. Irving, as one of the most experienced players on the team and one of two Celtics with a championship ring, is the right man to lead that process.

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Terry Rozier gets real about Kyrie Irving's criticism of Celtics

Terry Rozier gets real about Kyrie Irving's criticism of Celtics

We'll say one thing about the 2018-19 Boston Celtics: They're not afraid to speak their minds.

Kyrie Irving certainly did so Saturday night when he seemed to call out the Celtics' young players after a loss to the Orlando Magic. We've since heard from a few of those young players, with Jayson Tatum endorsing Irving's message and Jaylen Brown perhaps suggesting Kyrie tone it down a bit.

Following Monday's loss to the Nets in Brooklyn, Irving's backup, Terry Rozier, chimed in.

“Kyrie said a lot after the last game (against Orlando) and it was probably stuff that people didn’t want to hear," Rozier told Yahoo Sports' Vincent Goodwill. “But it’s showing.”

The 24-year-old also admitted it's been a challenge for players like himself, Tatum and Brown to adapt to roles that were larger late last season when Irving and Gordon Hayward were out due to injury, even suggesting the Celtics could be "too talented."

"I don’t think we’ve all been on a team like this," Rozier said. "Young guys who can play, guys who did things in their career, the group that was together last year, then you bring Kyrie and Hayward back, it’s a lot with it."

And if you ask Rozier, the impromptu meetings (led mostly by Irving) to iron out these issues haven't always been beneficial.

"I feel like we have them talks throughout the season, but it didn’t turn out that good," Rozier added. "You see guys get into it with each other, but that’s part of the game. You gotta be real with each other."

The Celtics still have time to figure things out, of course. Rozier admitted the Celtics needed to hear Irving's critique, which the All-Star point guard actually walked back before Monday's game in Brooklyn.

"Sometimes I may come off and say things, never to question my teammates in public like that ever again," Irving told ESPN.com's Ian Begley. "I just want to win so bad."

Boston hasn't done much winning of late, falling to seven games behind the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors after their third straight loss. But now would be a good time to start: The C's play seven of their next eight games at home, starting Wednesday against the Raptors.

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