ORLANDO — Celtics coach Brad Stevens said we were all focused on the wrong guys when Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown got into a flareup on the Boston bench during Thursday’s loss in Miami.

"I looked at it as, everyone else was watching Marcus Morris and Jaylen, how about [Marcus] Smart breaking it up?” said Stevens. "Talk about growth, holy smokes, I thought he’d be in the middle of one of those. That was pretty good. You guys all looked at it as a negative, I could not believe what I was seeing.”

Stevens downplayed the incident between Morris and Brown, which was captured on video by a fan near the Boston bench and spread widely on social media. Smart stepped in front of Brown to prevent further escalation as Morris shoved Brown while frustrated by Brown’s lack of effort in getting back on defense a short time before the timeout.

"I think when you’re part of a team for 82 games, it’s not that big of a deal,” said Stevens. "I mean, 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 1, and they’ve all had moments like that at one time or another whether the cameras were on or not.”


Smart has had his share of heated moments on the bench, including when he got into an argument with assistant coaches and was removed from the bench during a loss in Washington back in January 2017.

Smart, the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, has grown into a leadership role, largely with his effort level on the court.

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