Celtics

‘They don’t want to pass the ball’: What Marcus Smart said about Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown after Bulls loss

"It's something that we've been asking for them to do and they're learning."

Marcus Smart
As the Bulls pulled away in the fourth quarter, the Celtics (left to right) Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Al Horford are pictured reacting to the situation. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Marcus Smart raised eyebrows on Monday following the Celtics‘ 128-114 loss to the Bulls, calling out Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown for being unwilling to pass.

A reporter asked Smart — who finished with 16 points on 5-for-11 shooting — what he could do to help propel the offense as the team’s point guard.

“There’s only so much I can do without the ball in my hands, I’m just standing in the corner,” Smart said. “We’re running plays for our best players, every team knows that. They do a good job of shutting that down. We can’t allow that. When they shut that down, we can’t keep trying to go to those guys.

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“I do everything I can on the other end to try to combat that. I try to talk, I try to make plays, get those guys the ball where they need it, where they want it.”

Tatum, who has struggled this season, finished 8-for-22 from the field with 20 points. Brown fared better — 28 points on 10-for-18 shooting — but the Celtics fell apart down the stretch, dropping the fourth quarter a staggering 39-11.

After so many frustrating losses just seven games into the season, Smart sounded fed up.

“I mean, I would just like to play basketball,” he said. “Every team knows we are trying to go to Jayson and Jaylen, and every team is programmed and studied to stop Jayson and Jaylen. I think everybody’s scouting report is to make those guys try to pass the ball. They don’t want to pass the ball and that’s something that they’re going to learn. They’re still learning and we’re proud of the progress they are making, but they are 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 later in the game where they don’t always have to take those tough shots or take tough matchups when they do get the 1-on-1 and see a trap. Just reading that.

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“It’s something that we’ve been asking for them to do and they’re learning. We just got to continue to help those guys do that and to help our team.”

Tatum and Brown declined to speak to the media.

Al Horford was asked about getting better looks for Tatum and Brown.

“We just have to make sure we continue to execute, and we need to execute better,” Horford said. “And when I say execute, it’s setting screens when we need to set screens, not turning the ball over, that’s important, and I think if we do those things, I think we’ll be in a better position.”

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