What started as a surprisingly encouraging season full of unexpected wins for the Celtics is now teetering on the edge of frustration for veterans, and with that frustration comes disagreements among teammates.
Our friends over at Celtics Blog reported yesterday that Brandon Bass’ and Jeff Green’s benchings midway through Boston’s loss to the Hawks weren’t just due to the superior play of the second unit, but also to a disagreement on the floor as well.
[Stevens] explained that Green and Bass were both left on the bench because he was riding the hot lineup that was on the floor, but he did acknowledge the issue and said, “Disagreements are part of the game — it’s part of team basketball — but how quickly you move on from there says a lot.”
Something strange appeared to be happening when the CSNNE cameras caught Green exiting the game and avoiding eye contact with Stevens. Bass left the game a few seconds later and took a seat at the end of the bench, while Green stood for the rest of the contest, with several players and assistants between him and Bass. The incident probably looked more dramatic than it was — the human barricade between Green and Bass certainly didn’t do much to downplay the situation — since disagreements happen even in happy locker rooms on winning teams.
And, indeed, according to several outlets, including Jay King at Mass Live, Green and Bass are fine now.
Asked Wednesday about the incident, Bass, Green and Stevens all agreed it was nothing to worry about.
“It was just a miscommunication, that’s all. We both wanted to win, we just get frustrated with the process. That’s all it was. It wasn’t nothing big,” Green said. “We’re trying to figure out a way to win. Like any team, you’re going to bump heads. Because somebody might see it one way, somebody might see it another.
All’s well as end’s well, but this has the potential to become an unpleasantly common theme. There aren’t any players on Boston’s roster known for causing locker room trouble (unless you count Jordan Crawford and his weed socks), but losing games can fracture previously strong ties, and we’ve seen the beginnings of it already in Courtney Lee’s complaints about playing time and Gerald Wallace’s early season displeasure. As we enter a tough part of the schedule, such disagreements may become more frequent, which would be a shame given the feel-good story lines emanating from the Celtics’ locker room when Brad Stevens was the golden boy and the team was inexplicably beating Miami.
How Boston handles the upcoming adversity may give us some significant hints as to whether this team has any staying power in Boston. It’s good that Stevens, Green and Bass are downplaying the spat, and disagreements happen in the locker room and in practice. But when they spill over onto live TV, it isn’t a very good look going forward.
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