Why did tempers flare on Celtics bench in loss to Heat?

(Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The good vibes from the Celtics’ four-game winning streak quickly faded on Thursday night as the visitors dropped an ugly one in South Beach, 115-99, on the second half of a brutal back-to-back set. This was far from Boston’s best defensive effort and we saw some frustrations simmer over on that front in the second quarter after a video surfaced on an Instagram account that showed Marcus Morris and Jaylen Brown exchanging words before Morris shoved Brown. Both players were quickly separated by teammates and coaches.

The situation was the fallout of a sequence that occurred roughly a minute before the timeout, according to a source. The Celtics had a 3-on-2 fast break that should have produced an easy layup. However, once Terry Rozier dished the ball to Jaylen Brown, he fumbled a potential layup attempt. Gordon Hayward came up with the loose ball and missed a bunny layup and Brown followed up that miss with a board before being stuffed by Derrick Jones Jr. on his putback attempt.

Morris was not miffed by Brown’s inability to finish on this play, it was his action afterward that caught the ire of Morris. Brown was slow to get back on defense after his missed layup and that ultimately allowed his man (Derrick Jones Jr.) to waltz into the lane uncontested for a layup while Brown jogged behind him.

You can see Morris get miffed at Brown after Jones Jr. makes the layup and it’s evident that frustration boiled over to the beginning of the next timeout at the 7:12 mark of the second quarter. Brown was subbed out of the game during this timeout (expected given he had spent eight minutes on the floor) and he played just six minutes more in the second half, none of them coming with Morris. Brown’s 14 minutes on the night ended up being a season-low. The Heat also outscored the Celtics 26-11 in the final seven minutes of the second quarter after the bench exchange.

So what should one make of this situation? Is it worth getting worked up over?