Losing a game is never easy. Losing three straight games is even more difficult. Losing by 15 points to a team 10 games below .500, that will get your coach upset.
Following last night’s 103-88 loss to the Detroit Pistons, Doc Rivers had some harsh words for his team.
“I think this team wants everything easy,” Rivers said. “They want the easy way out. They want to win easy. And I told them the only way you’re going to win easy is you’re going to have to play hard. The harder you play, the easier the games become.”
Rivers’ words are fueled by anger, but there is a lot of truth to what is being said. The Celtics fell behind by 18 points early in the second quarter, before they tied the game up at 48-48 with less than a minute remaining before halftime. Boston was not ready to play this game, and it took falling behind by nearly 20 points to finally awaken them.
The next step for Rivers is finding a solution to the problem. The Celtics are the epitome of mediocrity with a current record of 20-20 midway through this season. If the playoffs began today, they would be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. Rivers suggested the answer might not come with this current group of players though.
“We’re taking the wrong approach. I’ve got to either find the right combination, the right guys, or we’re going to get some guys out of here,” Rivers said. “It’s the bottom line. Because this group right now, they are not playing right.”
Trade rumors have centered around Boston all season long, and will now only grow louder following Rivers’ words. First on the shopping list is a big man, as Boston still lacks a true interior presence. The trade deadline sits exactly one month away and Marcin Gortat, DeMarcus Cousins, and Josh Smith all figure to be names Danny Ainge pursues.
Until then, this could just be a ploy by Rivers to motivate certain players.
“I’ve got to figure that out. I told the guys that, I’ve got to figure it out,” Rivers said. “I don’t think the guys are honest with each other. I just don’t think we have committed to being a good basketball team.”
The Celtics will have a chance to respond to their coach’s words tomorrow night against the Cleveland Cavaliers (10-32).