The Boston Celtics (20-21) are under more pressure than ever before and no one understands that better than the team’s longest-tenured player in Marcus Smart, who was particularly open and honest about the team’s underlying issues, on Friday.
Prior to tip-off, Smart opened up about how difficult the 2020-21 regular season has been while reminding everyone that often what’s happening in a player’s personal life can have a lasting impact on an individual’s performance.
Marcus Smart On The Celtics’ Losing Streak: ‘We Got A Lot Of Stuff Going On Other Than Basketball’
All and all, things haven’t been easy.
“I think it’s very tough. You guys witness it but we’re not watching it; we’re playing it. We feel it, it’s definitely tough,” Smart said before facing the Kings, Friday night. “But those types of moments are the ones that define us and make us stronger. Some games are tougher than others for certain guys, individually because in their personal life — individual life — that got a lot going on. I think a lot of people, including fans, media, and everybody forgets we’re all humans.
“We got a lot of stuff going on other than basketball. Then, we have to come in here, clear our minds from our individual lives and come give that energy to a group of guys here and play. So, it’s a lot.”
Before the All-Star Game, the Celtics were rolling. They were winners of five of six games — a short-lived, two-week span — just in time for the break but have regressed ever since.
Smart: ‘People Ready To Give Up On Us, Which Is Fine. It’s Cool… We’re All We Got’
Now, Smart says it’s time for the Celtics to help one another and that he isn’t losing hope.
“For us, we do start slow and just try to get that energy,” Smart added. “We have to be able to help one another, we have to find a way. Right now, we’re kind of blind but we’re searching for the light. We got to keep searching. We can’t give up because I know there’s a lot of people out there already counting us out. I know there’s a lot of people out there that’s ready to give up on us, which is fine. It’s cool, you know. We’re all we got. So, we’re the ones that have to deal with the consequences.
“We’re the ones that have to deal with it. So, we have to figure it out. We just have to figure it out and bring that energy for one another — we will. Like I said, we just have to find what we got to do to kind of get it clicking and kind of get it started to keep that fire lit.”
Now, the pressure’s on. With 41 games under their belt, it’s up to Smart and the Celtics to find the root of the issues in play and fix things before it’s too late.
“It’s all kinds of pressure,” Smart said. “It’s pressure on ourselves, there’s pressure from the outside noise, there’s pressure from the ones most loyal to us; there’s pressure from everybody. We understand we’re not playing to the standard and up to the pedestal that we have been put on and that we have accepted. We understand it. We have to look ourselves in the mirror. We go home at night. We feel that — that pressure from ourselves and then the pressure from everybody else. It’s tough, you know.
“You have to deal with it; it comes with the territory. Got to find a way. There’s pressure all around us each and every day, just like everybody else but we have to find a way.”
The Celtics will host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.