How Wyc Grousbeck reportedly motivated the Celtics after Game 3

Grousbeck reportedly told the players that they needed to "play with some balls."

Wyc Grousbeck. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

After the Celtics dug themselves into a 3-0 hole against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, Celtics governor Wyc Grousbeck made an appearance in the locker room, according to The Athletic.

He reportedly told the players that they needed to “play with some balls.”

The message worked for a while. The Celtics won their next three games and forced Game 7 at TD Garden.

“[Grousbeck] was right, but we shouldn’t need that,” Blake Griffin said, according to The Athletic. “As soon as we got to the locker room, we were just so frustrated.”


Celtics radio analyst Cedric Maxwell described the encounter as a “run-in” between Celtics leadership and players.

“There were some exchanges,” Maxwell said. “But, you know, I just think that Wyc and everybody else want to win and they were embarrassed.”

Ultimately, Miami proved to be the tougher and smarter team, eliminating Boston on its own home floor.

But, the Celtics played and acted differently after hearing Grousbeck’s words. They at least gave themselves a fighting chance, instead of giving up and getting swept.

Coach Joe Mazzulla took the blame after Game 3. He adjusted the way he called timeouts.

“I think there are times where we grew out of it and I think there are times where we probably needed timeouts and Joe’s the first one to admit that,” said Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon. “He did admit that at times, and I think it was really a growing season for him and us.”

The Celtics also skipped a film session to go to Topgolf for a gathering at Al Horford’s suggestion. Marcus Smart credited the outing with helping the team regain its chemistry.


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