By: Alex Reimer
In a supposed effort to display passion, the Celtics come off as cantankerous. Instead of trying to improve his average of 4 rebounds per game, Rasheed Wallace decides to yell at a referee, get a technical foul, and then yell at his coach, Doc Rivers in the 2nd half on Sunday against Cleveland.
Instead of trying to clamp down defensively, when the Thunder, Rockets, and Cavaliers all put up well over 100 points on the Celtics over the past week, Kevin Garnett decides to yell at everybody in sight, from officials to the other team to his own teammates.
When Kevin Durant dropped 37 points on the Celtics last Wednesday, Garnett in his post-game press conference wondered if the Celtics were playing “Michael (bleeping) Jordan,” as Durant shot 15 free throws. The comparison is appropriate, considering Durant has played like a 6’10 Jordan virtually all season long.
But one should expect better from Garnett. He’s won a championship before, the Celtics won just two years ago. They know what it takes. Even if their skill set is not the same, we all thought their mindset at least was. But it clearly isn’t. Championship teams don’t let a sophomore come into their home court, score 37 points, and then blame it all on the officiating.
We knew that with the abundance of blown leads and lack of wins against good teams, the Celtics were not the same team on the court. With the emergence of Rajon Rondo as a borderline elite point guard, we knew they probably are a little different in the locker room too. But it’s the fact that their mentality is not the same that is most disheartening.
What’s likeable about a team where Tony Allen, one of the last guys on the bench, taunts LeBron James, the best player in the league, late in the 4th quarter of a game? Especially after an outing in which James scored 42 points, and almost single handedly brought the Cavaliers back from a greater than 20 point deficit.
The Celtics lead the league in technical fouls. Wallace has 17, and Kendrick Perkins has 15. It is understood that NBA officiating leaves a lot to be desired. But everybody has to deal with the lousy officiating. The Celtics as a team have to be big boys and accept it.
This isn’t a direct attack on all members of the team. As mentioned earlier, Rondo has become arguably the most exciting player in the league, as he stands at the doorstep of Bob Cousy’s all-time Celtics’ assist record. Ray Allen has been shooting well since the All Star Break and always carries himself like a professional. Nobody will ever question Paul Pierce’s effort and drive.
The Celtics won 6 of 7 games before undergoing their recent 3 game losing streak coupled with the “almost loss” to Cleveland. The ability is there for a playoff series win, and they can give the Cavaliers a run for their money.
But it seems as if they seem more concerned about running their mouths than running up and down the court. (At least in Wallace’s case that appears to be true…you need something to keep you entertained when you’re just standing around the three-point line).
The Celtics have morphed into a whiney bunch. A whiney bunch who have a bulls-eye on their backs. A whiney bunch that cannot play like they did two years ago. And apparently, a whiney bunch who no longer think like they did two years ago either.
Alex Reimer is the host of the Red Sox podcast, “Without a Curse.” “Without a Curse” is available on both www.thesportsstuff.com and in the iTunes store. Alex is also the host of “The Alex Reimer Show,” which airs every Saturday from 4-6 PM EST on 1120 AM WBNW Boston andwww.moneymattersradio.net. Alex can be reached at, Alexredsox076@aol.com.