Blakely: Celtics too content with losing


Blakely: Celtics too content with losing

CLEVELAND Rajon Rondo became the latest to fall on the sword of responsibility for what's shaping up to be a season of disappointment for the Boston Celtics.

But pointing fingers, even if it's at oneself, is pointless now.

I have heard many questions via social media and emails as to whether this Celtics team wants to win bad enough.

That's not the question, folks.

The real question is when will they get to a point where they hate losing? Because right now, this crew seems more than willing to accept one setback after another, every night.

And that more than anything else has to be distressing both to Doc Rivers and Danny Ainge, the man who assembled this group.

Simply put, they are too comfortable with how things are right now, acting as if victories are suddenly going to start pouring out of the sky any minute.

There is a certain edge, a certain grind that teams that are more than just championship contender talkers but also doers, display.

For the Celtics, we saw it maybe five, maybe six times all season.

That's not going to cut it.

Ainge put this team together last summer with the intent being they could collectively make a run towards Banner 18.

Instead, all the Celtics do now as a group is consistently get run out the gym by lottery-bound teams like Detroit which beat them 103-88 Sunday night and in the process handed Boston its third straight loss.

At this point, the Celtics not "playing the right way" as Rivers puts it, represents just a fraction of what ails them.

Just as important is pride, something the Celtics have given their fans more than enough reasons to question as well. They don't bring the kind of in-your-face disposition to the game anymore, either.

While there's clear disappointment on the part of every player during a losing skid like this, there's no sense that they're angry enough to do something about it.

I totally get that they have a number of guys with poker faces where they show little to no emotion.

And while it may not be in them to get into a shouting match with a teammate, what they are putting on the floor now is as Rondo described, "embarrassing."

Both Rivers and veterans like Rondo have commented in the past about how a number of players in this locker room simply do not show emotions, regardless of whether things are going good or not.

While that's great to have on the floor, at some point you would think all the losing, often in heartbreak fashion, would motivate them to play with more consistency; galvanize them in a way that's unmistakeable.

If that can't happen, maybe Rivers is right to think that the C's may have to move some bodies in order to get players with a bit more fight in them, to be here.

There's no question that the C's bolstered their roster this summer with more talent than we've seen in a while around here. But the team's overall toughness leaves a lot to be desired as they continue to play a laissez-faire brand of basketball over and over and over again.

And while it manifests itself in games repeatedly, it starts inside that locker room.

"For me, it's too laxed; our locker room is too laxed," Rondo said. "Even though a lot of guy's personalities are laid back. But we all got to this level by competing. And right now, the talent we have, the record is embarrassing. Until guys get sick and fed up with it, I don't know if things are going to change."

Rondo goes on to make it clear that he still has faith in his teammates.

But Rondo is no dummy.

Something has to change; whether it's a trade or the demeanor of current players.

Because short of that, this team is going nowhere fast unless they start making strides toward playing better and sustaining that play for more than a few minutes or a few games.

"I don't think guys are honest with each other," said Rivers on Sunday. "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."

Rondo says he will not play tonight

Rondo says he will not play tonight

Rajon Rondo, out with a fractured right thumb, will not play for the Chicago Bulls against the Celtics tonight in Game 5 of their first-round playoff series at TD Garden, according to multiple reports.

The series is tied at 2.

Rondo, the Bulls point guard who played the first two game of the series, was reportedly going to try and test the thumb tonight but told reporters Wednesday morning he couldn’t play. 

Game 6 is Friday in Chicago. Game 7, if necessary, is Sunday in Boston.  Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg called Rondo's return a "longshot."

More to come. 

Gorman: Rajon 'Rondo never tells the truth'

Gorman: Rajon 'Rondo never tells the truth'

Mike Gorman visits the Toucher and Rich studio to talk Celtics playoff basketball and whether Rondo will be back for Game 5.