Sources: Stevens met with Celtics leaders late

NBA

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens held a late-night hotel meeting with the team’s leaders on Thursday to talk through the frustration and emotions that spilled into the locker room after a Game 2 loss to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, sources told ESPN.

Stevens met with Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart starting around 1 a.m. ET, and he let those players talk through the issues that had led to significant yelling and outbursts in the postgame locker room, sources said.

Among the coaching staff and players, there was a belief that players had sufficiently talked through the issues and were ready to start preparing for Game 3 on Saturday, sources said.

Smart was one of the players at the center of the discontent and could be seen still yelling upon leaving the locker room, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported on Thursday.

Nothing in the locker room escalated to a physical confrontation, sources said, and ultimately Smart marched out to start cooling off.

The stakes and circumstances of the series — losing a second straight close playoff game to Miami amid two-plus months confined to the bubble environment — likely contributed to the scene.

The Heat lead the Celtics 2-0 with Game 3 set for Saturday night.

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