On Sunday, the Boston Celtics lost 105-88 to the Detroit Pistons, a team playing its first game since Thursday's "home" game in London. Given the circumstances of the loss, the Celtics have reason to worry. The Celtics had serious problems with rookie big man Andre Drummond, shot just under 40 percent from the field, and turned the ball over 18 times. They were just outplayed by what most everyone would identify as an inferior opponent.
It was also their third straight loss, taking their record down to 20-20 on the season. Things are bad and looking worse. So, Doc Rivers is threatening major changes if their fortunes don't change soon. From A. Sherrod Blakely for CSNNE.com:
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Rivers' postgame comments left an unmistakable impression that he has had all he's going to take from this Celtics team that continues to play erratic, inconsistent and underachieving basketball.
"I gotta either find the right combination or the right guys, or we're going to get some guys out of here," said a visibly upset Rivers after the Celtics lost their third straight game. "That's the bottom line. This group right now, they're not playing right. It's in them to play right. But right now they haven't been either because I'm not getting to them, or they're not getting to each other."
Said Kevin Garnett: "I'm pretty sure Doc's upset and frustrated like everybody else here right now. He's mad as me, he thinks in those terms. I'm a player and I have to say, 'what can I do better?' That's where I'm at." [...]
"I'm clearly not doing my job with this team," Rivers said. "I ain't trying to take a bullet for the team. I told them that, 'we gotta find something every night all 12 guys play the same way."' [...]
"I don't think guys are honest with each other," Rivers said. "I just don't think we have committed to being a good basketball team. I think this team wants everything easy; they want the easy way out. They just 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 game becomes."'
As Blakely notes in his report, this isn't the first time Rivers has expressed frustration with this season's team after a series of tough losses. In late November, Rivers called the Celtics "soft," and after a particularly awful blowout to the Clippers in December, he implied that only one team on the court was at a championship level. These complaints are now a trend, and it looks like they're only getting worse.
The problem is Rivers' threats of trades may be toothless. Last Wednesday, when the Celtics had a six-game winning streak, Boston's executive director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said fans shouldn't expect a big trade before the deadline in a video interview with CSNNE.com (via PBT):