Doc and Danny clearly hate the Celtics’ “cruise control” | Red's Army - The Voice of Boston Celtics Fans
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Doc and Danny clearly hate the Celtics’ “cruise control”

The Celtics have problems.  That’s pretty obvious.  But one thing that has clearly dug under the skin of both Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers is the Celtics  continued propensity to be… lazy.  Check out the quotes yesterday… first from Danny

“A frustrating thing that I’ve had with this team over the last two years, not just this year — matter of fact it might be less this year than it was last year — as we got off to a really bad start and we turned it on later in the year as we came together. And the year before we went all the way to Game 7 in the NBA Finals after going 27-27. So, I think that that’s our pattern and that’s frustrating, again, that we’re on cruise control, and trying to turn it on when we think we have a chance to win and our fourth quarters are more intense than other parts of the game. Are we understanding how hard it is to win games in the game of basketball, in the NBA right now? You can’t just show up to play, but you have to show up to win, and winning is much harder.”

And then Doc:

“… we have to be better. I have to prepare them better. They have to come ready. They have to come with the right intentions, the right focus. So, there’s a lot of things we can improve to improve our team. And it’s a long season to do it, but you can’t wait for it. You’ve got to do it now.”

The emphasis in both quotes is mine.

In some ways, the Celtics’ late success is coming back to haunt them now.  Last season, they went into the All Star break with a losing record but still surged to within a game of the NBA Finals.  And while you can argue that a few more early wins would have given the C’s home court and a better chance to win… you can just as easily argue that a few breaks one way or the other and the location of that Game 7 wouldn’t have mattered.

The Celtics look better this year than they did at the start of last year’s season.  They do look like they’re trying harder this year than last.  But it’s obviously not enough…. not if both Doc and Danny are saying these things.  And Doc’s “soft” comments about this team are telling.  He’s backing off them now a little because, I think, they were both an emotional outburst after a horribly frustrating game, and offensive to some of the guys in the locker room,especially Kevin Garnett, who didn’t seem to enjoy the comments in the least bit.

“I don’t really want to say that we’re soft, because there’s men in here. Where I’m from you don’t call another man soft. … Coach’s assessment, it is what it is. Whether you take it as criticism or he’s trying to make us better, it’s your call.”

But it’s still telling.  Doc isn’t happy with his team’s effort.  He’s very unhappy about being pushed around under the basket and teams killing the Celtics with second chance points.  We’re approaching an almost-comical point with the Celtics rebounding where other teams might be better off flinging up shots early and just crashing the boards for easy put-backs rather than run an offense against the C’s defense.

Rebounding, as they say, is an effort stat.  The two best rebounders on the team are Kevin Garnett (15.8 rebounding percentage), who is a 36 year old converted center who will barely play 30 minutes a game nowadays.. and Jared Sullinger (15.1), a 20 year-old rookie who is still learning the NBA game and can’t really give you extended minutes.  That puts a lot of pressure on the other guys to step up their rebounding game…. and honestly… it’s not there.

And it’s not just rebounding.  It’s a general “effort” thing.  The Oklahoma City win was as damning as it was encouraging.  We saw what an energized team is capable of.  We saw the cleaner rotations and more suffocating defense that has come to define the Celtics in recent years.

But then we see crap.  And it’s hard to tell if this is just temporary crap sometimes, or if the Celtics we thought we’d see were a mirage.  Judging from what Doc and Danny are saying, they expect the Celtics to reach for that proverbial switch… again.  At some point, though, the lights won’t come on.

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  • Jester00

    Jared Sullinger (15.1), a 20 year-old rookie who is still learning the NBA game and can’t really give you extended minutes. Why please elaborate?

    • eddysamson

      Because he gets called for fouls all the time is my guess.

    • kg215

      I agree Sullinger should get more playing time, but he is undersized to play the 5 and like eddysamson said is fouling too much. He is a rookie so it is going to take some time for him to play smart defense. We should definitely start Sullinger next to KG when we can, but Bass is better at guarding the quicker power forwards and even though Sullinger is taller than Bass he still has a lot of trouble with tall big men.

  • iamsaws

    If the celtics had a big time rebounder. we would have had 3 titles since 2008.

    We would have beat LA in 2010 and would have beat miami and OKC last year.

    DANNY GET A FUCKING REBOUNDER. KG has to much to do. We need a anderson Varijeo or jokm Noah. All effort guys. We do not have that

    • Art

      Agreed. They have needed a rebounder since the Perkins trade. Don’t understand why Danny and Doc don’t give this higher priority. I would think they’re looking at this now considering how the team has started the season. They definitely seem short on physical presence. If not a great rebounder, then a tough physical SOB.

    • dk

      agreed as well…seems like every year we have the same issues: no true backup point guard, and no one who can rebound. instead we constantly focus on acquiring tweener 6’7 and shorter guys who shoot jumpshots.

      • kg215

        Backup point guard has not been a problem, our bench scoring in general has been a problem. Also Barbosa is doing a great job as backup PG though he certainly isn’t a pure PG. Tell me how many good pure backup point guards are there? The rebounding is one thing I feel like Danny is overlooking. Wilcox/Bass/Collins are okay rebounders at best, Jeff Green is allergic to rebounds, and Darko never got on the court.

  • SteveB

    Night after night I watch this team the past through years. They come out like they just want to trade baskets with the other team until the fourth quarter. Other teams often come out with intensity and that’s why we see these problems. Until this team comes out hard every game they will have these issues.

  • Sam

    At this point, I think this just has to be a certain attitude and approach among the core, central players on the team. I doubt it’s KG, because he always plays with intensity, so I can’t help thinking it’s Pierce, and Rondo — who has learned from Pierce.

  • 17rings

    Avery Bradley = effort player.

    Varajao is everything this team is missing… did I just say that?

    • KY Celts fan

      I would love Varajeo on this team.

      • ME


  • Celtic Geezer

    It’s the lack of rebounding. It’s the failure to stay in front of their man on defense. It’s the soft double teams where they leave men open at the three and now wide open under the basket. It’s the too easy reliance on the outside shot rather than working toward the middle. It’s frustrating.

  • dk

    Didn’t this exact same thing happen last year, when Doc called the team “soft” and the “cool Celtics.” Then all the usual blogs and sites made a big deal about it, how it was the first time Doc really laid into the team, and KG took offense to the comments because he took it as a crack on his and the team’s manhood. Then Doc backed off a little….

    I feel like this is Groundhog day.

    • eddysamson

      The season is starting off pretty similar except now Jeff Green is Avery Bradley and Avery Bradley is the one whose out.

  • Larry Legend

    I’ve been saying this for years!! I can’t fucking stand how lazy this team can be. It’s so arrogant. So non-chalant. I blame the players first and foremost, but also Doc. I know the issue. Your best players, at least two of them, think they can just show up sometimes (Rondo/Pierce). Rondo’s attitude rubs off on this team as does Pierce’s. They act like they are so “swag”, and and badass. It’s a problem. Both players can be brilliant, but both can be inconsistent with performance and effort. Especially Rondo. Celts have committed to Rondo so either he grows up and becomes a true Professional or this is what you’re gonna get from Celts.

    • art

      I know exactly what you’re saying. Rondo and Pierce can by very annoying with their no-shows for games. Also Doc is the coach and it’s up to him to control the effort. At the same time, Doc has an attitude about the regular season being a waste of time and wanting to rest players constantly. He even got annoyed at the Spurs recent fine when we all know the Spurs deserved that fine. So we’ll sit right back and try to not torture ourselves watching those effortless regular season games.

  • Chris H

    So, let me get this straight: Doc is tired of the C’s being pushed around under the basket and that Rondo might be seen as the “enforcer”.

    For real? At the same time, you DON’T play your 7 footers, to the point you run one out of town, the one who swore to “murder” for you?

    Something isn’t right here…

    • He didn’t run one out of town… Darko’s mother is dying.

      • dk33

        True, but do you think if he were actually playing that Darko would be somewhat torn about immediately returning home? I thought I read that his current playing situation was also a factor in his decision to leave the team. Family aside, it would factor into a decision to leave and make sense if he had “nothing to lose” by going to Serbia if he only played 5 minutes over the course of a month.

  • Greens

    Paul pierce is lazy, he’s always been. If he wasn’t a pure shooter he wouldn’t be I this league. His body looks like jello, never lifted a weight in his life.

    • JG

      A pure shooter? You’re an idiot.

      • Greens

        Oh and he’s not? Retard

  • Roy

    I’ve grown so accustomed to the way this team plays during the regular season that you can’t help but just look past it and gear up for the playoffs since you know it will be different but man is it frustrating to see the team play so horrible night in night out. We just haven’t looked good at all

  • KG21

    “Danny Ainge believes the Celtics could use a big man more than a point guard, but says the team isn’t pressed to fill its 15th roster spot”

    Finally! We need a REBOUNDER!

    • ME