Prior to Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said on “Beyond the Arc” that he has heard from a source that the Celtics “feel like a group that’s tired of fake liking each other.”
Making his weekly appearance on Jones & Mego on Wednesday, NBC Sports Boston analyst Brian Scalabrine had an interesting response to that report. (Listen to the full interview in the player below.)
“As far as the players ‘fake liking each other,’ I think that’s probably a good thing,” Scal said. “I don’t know if that’s happening. All we heard all season long was how great this locker room was. All of a sudden you go down 3-0 to Miami and now we’re fake liking each other. I don’t know who’s giving what information, but I will say this: Being in a locker room, everybody sees things through their own lens.
“NBA players, they’re normally surrounded by people who tell them what they want to hear, who aren’t gonna challenge them. So if you say you don’t like something, I’m sure the response is, ‘Yeah, you’re right. You should be the man. You should get more playing time. You should get more touches. How come you’re not playing? You’re so much better than that.’ All that stuff happens. Now, these guys saying these things are saying it from one person’s perspective or two people’s perspective. … I don’t think that you have to be best friends.”
Scal went on to explain that in his own playing career, he played with very few players who were truly all about the team. Everyone else was looking out for themselves to some extent.
If that’s what the report is getting at, then certainly you can see where Scal’s coming from. Maybe the Celtics, who do have a deep roster, have a couple guys who are done pretending they don’t care about their playing time or opportunities or whatever, and it’s not necessarily the end of the world because caring about your own situation is human.
But O’Connor seemed to be getting at something more than that, going on to say that he thinks it’s reached a point where the Celtics “have to shake things up” and discussing the shortcomings of stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
That kind of “shakeup” isn’t just moving on from someone like Grant Williams or Payton Pritchard who wants more playing time elsewhere; that sounds more like a splitting-up-the-Jays nuclear option.
Anyways, the Celtics’ season isn’t actually over yet. Perhaps they’ll for-real like each other if they can pull off a historic comeback against the Miami Heat. Game 5 is Thursday night at TD Garden, with tipoff set for 8:30 p.m.