MIAMI -- Boston Celtics star Marcus Smart says the locker-room bust-up following last week's defeat to the Miami Heat has brought the team closer together as they chase a series-levelling victory on Wednesday.
Smart reportedly stormed out of the Celtics dressing room after Boston blew a 17-point lead before slumping to a 106-101 loss to Miami in game two of the NBA Eastern Conference finals last Thursday.
Boston fought their way back into the best-of-seven series in game three on Saturday, defeating Miami 117-106 to cut the Heat's lead to 2-1.
That victory leaves the series finely balanced as Boston prepares to face Miami in game four in Orlando on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters on Monday, Smart compared the locker room recriminations that followed game two to a family argument, describing it as "electrifying."
"We're a family. Family fights all the time," the 26-year-old point guard said.
"I fight with my brothers all the time. But at the end of the day, we can fight with each other, nobody else can.
"You know, it happens between families, especially a family like ours who's been together for so long. It's going to happen.
"We've got a lot of guys who play with their heart on their sleeves, night in, night out, and we weren't supposed to be happy down 2-0, especially those two games that we gave up.
"Of course emotions are going to fly, but we're a family and that happens."
Smart added that the dressing room row had helped him see his team-mates in a different light.
"I knew we were emotional. I knew we were passionate, and I knew we all loved each other. But I also learned a lot .... we grew up even more through that adversity," he said.
"I've always been saying that before you see the rainbow it has to storm. For us that was a storm that we had to go through. We found our happy place.
"Like I said, families fight, but for us to be able to respond like we did and to be able to have that growth, it shows a lot.
"The way I responded and my teammates responded, it showed that we're as close as ever. We say what we have to say. We all come together, we get our emotions out and we go take it out on the other team."
The Celtics are bidding to return to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2010, when they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games.
The Lakers lead the Western Conference finals 2-0 against the Denver Nuggets.
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