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#pounditSaturday, December 9, 2023

Marcus Smart calls out Celtics stars for not passing ball

Marcus Smart warming up

Marcus Smart thinks that his star teammates have the Mamba mentality in all the wrong ways right now.

Smart’s Boston Celtics suffered an ugly collapse against the Chicago Bulls on Monday. After leading by as many as 19 in the third quarter, the Celtics got outscored 39-11 in the fourth to lose by a 128-114 final. The embarrassing loss led Smart to call out leading scorers Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.

“I would just like to play basketball,” he said, per Chris Grenham of Forbes. “Every team knows we’re trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen. 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,” Smart went on. “That’s something that they’re going to learn. They’re still learning. 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.”

Tatum and Brown combined for 48 points on 18-for-40 shooting from the field against Chicago. Meanwhile, Smart managed 16 points on 11 attempts. That has been par for the course with the Celtics offense, even under new head coach Ime Udoka. Tatum and Brown typically dominate the halfcourt offense while everyone else mostly fights for scraps in transition or off catch-and-shoot threes. Neither star has ever averaged five or more assists per game in a season either, further hindering the team.

Smart entered Monday’s game averaging a career-low 7.4 points on 9.4 shot attempts per game, which has probably added to his frustration. Udoka has also not been too pleased about the play of his stars lately. To cap it off, the Celtics are now a grisly 2-5, so they have a lot of work to do to right the ship.

Photo: Aug 4, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart (36) warms up before the first half of a NBA basketball game at the Visa Athletic Center in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports


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