Report: Boston Celtics owner ‘went off’ and told team to ‘play with some balls’ after going down 3-0 to Miami Heat'
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Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck told the team to “play with some balls” in the Eastern Conference Finals after it went down 3-0 to the Miami Heat, according to The Athletic’s Jay King and Jared Weiss.

“With the season on the line following a 128-102 Game 3 loss to the eighth-seed Heat, Grousbeck came in hot,” King and Weiss wrote. “After Grant Williams asked everyone to clear the room so the players could have some space, Grousbeck went off.

“His message to the effect that he has been building this franchise for over 20 years and the players need to play with some balls left the locker room stunned, several team sources who were in the room told The Athletic. The sources were granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.”

The Celtics entered their series against the Heat as the favorites, but the team lost back-to-back games at home to open things up. Then, after dropping Game 3 in Miami, it appears that Grousbeck had enough.

The team responded to the owner’s challenge, winning three straight games to force a Game 7 at TD Garden.

However, the Celtics came up short in that matchup, allowing Miami to advance to the NBA Finals to take on the Denver Nuggets.

Boston lost three games at home in the Eastern Conference Finals, but the team did get unlucky in Game 7 with star Jayson Tatum injuring his ankle early in the first quarter. Tatum finished the game, but he didn’t look like himself.

The All-NBA forward scored just 14 points and took just 13 shots in the game. His running mate Jaylen Brown struggled to pick up the slack on offense, turning the ball over eight times.

Grousbeck’s message isn’t one that owners deliver or is made public often. The Celtics have come close to making or winning the NBA Finals in three of the last four seasons, but the team has yet to get over the hump with this current core.

Boston has a lot of decisions to make in the offseason, including making a call on a potential contract extension for Brown. If the Celtics want to keep this core intact, it’s imperative they come to terms with Brown, who was an All-NBA performer in the 2022-23 campaign.

Grousbeck’s comments nearly inspired the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history, but instead, he and the Celtics will be watching the NBA Finals from home this season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.