Doc: 'We're a soft team; we have no toughness'

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Doc: 'We're a soft team; we have no toughness'

BOSTON NBA players are a prideful bunch who don't take too kindly to their manhood being questioned.
But there was no mistaking what Doc Rivers and all those Celtics fans at the TD Garden witnessed in Wednesday's 95-83 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.
This team, as talented as they might be on paper and on the floor some nights, lacks a certain toughness that can no longer be ignored.
"If I'm Brooklyn and the league, you've got to think we're pretty soft the way we're playing," Rivers said. "We're a soft team right now; we have no toughness."
And for those who want to throw Rajon Rondo's incident -- lead official James Capers referred to it as a fight -- with Kris Humphries into the category of exuded toughness, Rivers isn't trying to hear that.
Especially when he knows that there's a chance that it will likely cost Rondo at least one game via suspension.
"That stuff's not toughness," Rivers said. "All that stuff, that's not toughness."
Inside the Celtics locker room, the disappointment was apparent on the faces of all the players.
And when told of Rivers' comments, players had no choice but to agree.
"It's the truth," said Jeff Green. "That's how we're playing."
Part of the Celtics problem might be that they are not taking these games as serious as their opponents.
The issue isn't whether the C's are showing up ready to play.
That's a given.
The real problem is that far too often, they're not showing up to win.
Boston guard Courtney Lee acknowledged that the Celtics didn't approach this game with the sense of urgency to win that their opponent did.
"I feel like they (Brooklyn) came into the game and approached it as a big game playing us, and we approached it like it was just a regular game," Lee said.
It was clear that the Nets, winners of four in a row now, came to Boston with one thing in mind -- a victory.
That "soft" play that Rivers speaks of has a lot to do with his players simply not understanding fully what it means to play for a team that has been the target of just about every team in the East for a number of years.
"When we play, every team is attacking," Rivers said. "It's a big game for them. What I saw tonight, honestly, was I thought Brooklyn looked at this game as a huge game. Huge game."
Following the victory, several Brooklyn players acknowledged the importance of not just playing with -- but actually beating -- the Celtics for a second time in as many matchups.
"Definitely a big game," said Nets guard Joe Johnson. "You know we're just trying to hold our own at this point. It's still early in the season, but this is a division game. We know if you want to do anything special in the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics, regardless of their record, is still going to be right in the hunt. We definitely came in here trying to test ourselves."
Brooklyn's Jerry Stackhouse, who had 17 points which included 5 3-pointers, agreed.
"This is a team that we look at as a barometer, with their core guys," Stackhouse said. "I know it's different now, they made some changes. But with Doc as their coach, we know they're going to be good at the end of the year. We have to establish ourselves and if there's room for us to try and make up some ground or show that we're for real and be there at the end, I think we're doing that."
Still, Stackhouse believes the Celtics are a team that can't be taken for granted.
"Even with the new pieces, there are some champions over there," he said.
Maybe so, but they certainly aren't playing like ones.
Far too often, they have played a weak brand of basketball that doesn't resemble what Celtics fans have come to know and expect from them in recent years.
Garnett, well aware of the historical relevance of his play and those that donned the C's uniforms before him, does not take any of that for granted.
Getting some of his teammates to understand this is among the many challenges that lie ahead for both him and the Celtics.
"There's a lot of people who built this before me; there's due diligence and responsibility that comes with that," Garnett said. "We gotta get that back somehow."

Claude Julien on David Ortiz: 'Finishing in style, you don't see that very often'

Claude Julien on David Ortiz: 'Finishing in style, you don't see that very often'

BRIGHTON, Mass. – It hasn’t been difficult to spot Claude Julien randomly at Fenway Park on a nice summer night in Boston over the past ten years. The Bruins coach doesn’t hide his affection for the Old Towne Team. 

So, Julien didn’t waste much time before sharing his thoughts on the final season for David Ortiz and the celebration of his Hall of Fame-worthy career that’s going on at the Fens this weekend.

It might have been a chore when the rest of the Team Canada coaching staff was watching the Toronto Blue Jackets during the World Cup of Hockey, but Julien never strayed too far away from his Red Stockings.

“He’s finishing in style, and you don’t see that very often,” said Claude Julien of Big Papi, who was sitting with numbers of .316 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI that border on the ridiculous at 40 years old. 

“A lot of times when people retire the game has caught up to them big time. Not him. He doesn’t seem to have missed a beat here. I’m pretty impressed with how he’s handled this year, and what he’s done. If I’m correct he just hit the home run last night for the game-winner.

“But as you know I was in Blue Jays land for about two weeks, so I had to keep a low profile. They were watching the Blue Jays and I’m Canadian too...but I was watching the Red Sox. So, it was healthy competition for our [World Cup] coaching staff.”

The most intriguing part about all is that the best is still yet to come for Ortiz in his farewell tour as he gets one more chance to clutch up in the postseason. It'll give Julien more to marvel at over the next few weeks while showing again why Big Papi will go down as the greatest clutch hitter in the history of Major League Baseball. 

 

Report: Ex-Raiders FB Marcel Reece works out for Patriots

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Report: Ex-Raiders FB Marcel Reece works out for Patriots

Fullback Marcel Reece, cut by the Oakland Raiders earlier this week, was one of five players who worked out Friday for the Patriots, ESPN's Mike Reiss reported

Reece, a seven-year NFL veteran, all with the Raiders, was suspended last December for the final game of the 2015 season and the first three games of this season for violating the NFL performance enhancing drug policy. 

Reiss reported that guards Jake Bernstein and Chase Farris, center Robert Kugler and tight end Greg Scruggs also worked out for the Patriots on Friday.

More on Reece from CSNBayAea.com.