The Boston Celtics struggled mightily in the fourth quarter of Monday night's game against the Chicago Bulls and lost 128-114 despite having a 19-point lead at one point in the second half.
The Bulls outscored the C's 39-11 over the final 12 minutes as Boston's record fell to 2-5 (0-3 at home).
Celtics guard Marcus Smart made some candid comments after the game about the team's offensive struggles in the fourth quarter. He also talked about wanting Celtics stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown to move the ball a little more late in games.
How were Smart's comments handled internally?
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday night that the Celtics held a players-only meeting to discuss the comments Smart made, as well as the loss to Chicago.
"When Boston traveled yesterday to Orlando I'm told they had a players-only meeting," Wojnarowski said on "NBA Countdown." "Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown -- they did talk about the collapse against the Bulls and Marcus Smart's comments after the game about those two not passing the ball. I'm told it was emotional at times, but in the end, perhaps, not a terribly productive meeting and maybe not even beneficial.
"Listen, these are issues with this team and this group that have been going on for a while. They changed the president (of basketball operations) in Boston. They changed the head coach. These issues remain, and now at 2-5 and playing the Magic tonight, Ime Udoka, the first-year Boston head coach, this is a situation he has to address and help this team work through, the way that Brad Stevens -- and it haunted his regime, especially near the end last season."
A players-only meeting seven games into the season is far from ideal.
The Celtics have played really well in spurts throughout the first seven games, but they just haven't been able to execute at a high level in clutch situations. Turnovers, poor shot selection, lackluster transition defense and getting beat too often on the defensive glass are among the most glaring issues we've seen from this team late in games.
There's a lot of talent on the Celtics roster. They are not a 2-5 caliber team. It's up Udoka and the coaching staff to find the right lineup combinations to maximize the production of everyone on the floor.