The Boston Celtics entered the third quarter of their game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center Thursday night with an 11 point advantage, however they watched their lead evaporate and the two teams went into the final period of play with the Bulls on top 67-66. Boston never recovered and Chicago went onto win the contest 93-86, the second loss in consecutive nights for Boston. After the game, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers expressed his frustration with his club’s effort during the contest, according to the “Boston Herald” saying it was the worst performance of the year for his squad and that his team played “cool basketball.”
Rivers told the reporters “I thought this was the worst approach to a game all year for us. Chicago was too tough for us tonight. They got into us and frustrated us, and we let go of the rope. We’ve got three weeks to get better. We need to get tougher, because if we keep playing like this, we’re going to end up playing one of these two teams. That was an unacceptable effort for us tonight. It was a crime. We just thought we were cool tonight. We were the cool Celtics. We were walking the ball around and having trouble getting it inbounds. No one wanted to work. You don’t play basketball like that.”
The two teams that the Boston bench boss was referring to are the Bulls and the Miami Heat. Although the Celtics currently have a one game lead over the Sixers for the lead in the Atlantic Division; if they fall behind Philadelphia they would end up facing either Chicago or Miami in a first round Playoff match-up.
The Celtics currently have a record of 30-24 and had a five game winning streak going until losing to the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night and the Bulls on Thursday. Boston was below the .500 mark for most of the first half of the campaign, however Rivers told reporters at the time that he refused to press the panic button. His trust in his players paid off, but Rivers was justifiably angry when he saw the lackadaisical effort from his club against Chicago.
One positive of keeping your emotions in check, is that when you do get angry people pay attention. Rivers is respected and revered by his players and seeing his disappointment will most likely motivate them to play better in their two games over the upcoming weekend. The Celtics will face the Indiana Pacers on Saturday and in one of the most important games of the campaign they will take on the Sixers on Sunday. Rivers will most likely tell his players to leave their sunglasses at home for both contests.