LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens held a late-night hotel meeting with the team's leaders on Thursday to talk through the frustration and emotions that spilled into the locker room after a Game 2 loss to Miami in the Eastern Conference finals, sources told ESPN.
Stevens met with Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart starting around 1 a.m. ET, and he let those players talk through the issues that had led to significant yelling and outbursts in the postgame locker room, sources said.
In the locker room and meeting, sources said, Smart's focus had been on heightening the urgency of a Celtics team that had blown a 20-point lead in the second half -- and turned the ball over 20 times for the game.
Part of the discussion in the late-night meeting had been about making sure the Celtics integrated forward Gordon Hayward as smoothly as possible back into the lineup, sources said. The Celtics upgraded Hayward (ankle) to questionable on Friday and are hopeful that he could play a role off the bench in Game 3 on Saturday, sources said.
Among the coaching staff and players, there was a belief that players had sufficiently talked through the issues and were ready to start preparing for Game 3 on Saturday, sources said.
Smart was one of the players at the center of the discontent and could be seen still yelling upon leaving the locker room, ESPN's Malika Andrews reported on Thursday.
Nothing in the locker room escalated to a physical confrontation, sources said, and ultimately Smart marched out to start cooling off.
The stakes and circumstances of the series -- losing a second consecutive close playoff game to Miami amid two-plus months confined to the bubble environment -- likely contributed to the scene.
The Heat lead the Celtics 2-0 with Game 3 set for Saturday night.