Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown slap hands during a game inside the NBA bubble

Brown, Smart Hold Firm That C's Will Turn Things Around

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Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart faced the music for a combined 15 minutes Wednesday night following another failed comeback attempt by their Boston Celtics.

At times, they were at a loss for words, but in the end, they both landed on the same positive message: that this season is nowhere near over, and that they’ll continue to fight to right this ship.

“I think we’re going to turn it around,” Smart said after a 113-108 loss to the Mavs. “I don’t know when, but we’re still right there with enough time to get to where we want to go and hopefully catch a rhythm.”

The Celtics did find a rhythm during the second half of Wednesday’s matchup with Dallas. They battled back from 23 points down to make it a two-point game with 16.4 seconds left. They had a legitimate chance to grab a win.

The familiar problem on this night, however, was that it was too little, too late. Such has been a regular occurrence for Boston over the last week.

Still, Brown looks at that second-half comeback in hindsight and sees opportunity. He sees opportunity for the Celtics to be a force if they can just harness what got them back into the game and play in the same fashion on a consistent basis.

“We’ve got 20-plus games left. We still have a chance to do so,” he said. “I just want to encourage everybody to do that and to inspire everybody to do that.”

In the end, it’s not about doing it or not doing it. The Celtics are doing it. They just aren’t doing it consistently enough to win games.

At this point, they know what the recipe for success is. The task is to execute on that recipe on a regular basis.

“Celtic basketball is about scrapping and getting after guys defensively, like 1 through 5,” Brown said.

Smart added, “We’ve got to continue to claw, scratch, sacrifice our bodies, to get the job done. We’ve got to continue to do it and play the right way no matter the outcome, no matter how the game is going, and hopefully the basketball gods reward us for that.”

That’s what the Celtics of recent seasons did nearly every night of the season. Brown, who’s in his fifth season with the team, acknowledged that fact Wednesday night.

He also acknowledged that this group, for some reason, just hasn’t been able to replicate that magic. “But,” he added, “that doesn’t mean tomorrow can’t spark something different.”

These Celtics are surely bending, but they aren’t breaking. Their leaders, including Brown and Smart, aren’t backing down from their belief that this season can and will be turned around. In fact, they’re doubling down on that notion.

“We obviously have a long road ahead of us,” said Smart, “but I believe in this team, I’ve got faith in this team, I trust this team, and we’ve just gotta keep going.”

Right toward the next game, which arrives Friday night when the Houston Rockets come to town.

Like Smart said, he doesn’t know when the Celtics will turn this thing around, but what he and Brown do know is that Friday will mark their next opportunity to do so.

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