Celtics

Kendrick Perkins rips Marcus Smart for criticism of Celtics teammates

"Marcus Smart has lost his damn mind."

Celtics Marcus Smart Jayson Tatum
Marcus Smart, right, and Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics. (Jim Davis/Globe Staff)
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The tension is already building inside the Celtics’ building after a 2-5 start to the 2021 season, and Marcus Smart’s criticism of teammates Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown after Boston’s ugly 128-114 loss to Chicago is putting it out in the open.

That didn’t go over well with former Celtics big man and current ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins: “Marcus Smart has lost his damn mind.”

Perkins blasted Smart on ESPN’s First Take on Tuesday morning after the Celtics point guard’s controversial postgame comments following the loss to the NBA-leading Bulls.

In particular, Smart fumed after the game about the stagnation of the team’s offense, which scored just 11 points in the fourth quarter en route to blowing a 14-point lead in the final frame, and pointed the finger squarely at Tatum and Brown, the team’s superstars.

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“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,” he opined.

Tatum and Brown declined to speak to the media after the comments became known.

On Tuesday, Perkings explained why he thought Smart’s take was out of line.

“There are certain things you know as a player that you can’t come out and do in an interview or come out and say in an interview, and those are one of the things,” the former NBA champion said. “You cannot attack your two franchise guys in the media saying that they need to pass the ball. Not only are you attacking them, you’re attacking the first-year head coach in Ime Udoka, who is just starting to get his feet into the sand a little bit and trying to figure things out.”

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So far, the Celtics have struggled both to score consistently (ranking 22nd in field goal percentage at 43.2 percent) and to stop other teams defensively (22nd in opposing field goal percentage allowed at 45.8 percent), according to Basketball-Reference.

Tatum has especially struggled to start the year, making just 39.5 percent of his shots and only 27 percent of his threes.

Those problems are bad enough, Perkins says, without Smart’s criticism to make things worse.

“You don’t need outside distractions. You don’t need turmoil inside the locker room,” Perkins said. “There’s a reason why they didn’t let Jayson Tatum and [Jaylen] Brown speak after the game last night because they would’ve had to go after Marcus Smart. How does Marcus Smart go up there talking about Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum need to pass the ball — he should be talking about defense. You know what, [Chicago’s] DeMar DeRozan had 37 last night on 75 percent shooting.”

Perkins is also no stranger to ripping Smart, even calling for the mercurial longtime Celtic to be traded last season amid an up-and-down campaign. Boston did just the opposite in the offseason, re-signing the locker room leader to a four-year, $77.1 million extension.

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