AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Doc Rivers has had moments all season when his disappointment following a loss spilled over into what one can only describe as anger.
But Sunday's 103-88 loss to Detroit was different.
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."
Still, with Rivers' comments coupled with the Celtics (20-20) continuing to hover around the .500 mark, the trade rumors will only grow stronger and louder unless the C's do in fact turn around their season.
"You know, they're gonna do what they gonna do," said Paul Pierce. "My job is to go out there and give the necessary effort every night, be as consistent as I can to help this ball club win."
Still, the anger and frustration that Rivers speaks of, does not appear to be noticeable among the players inside the C's locker room.
The Celtics locker room consists of a number of level-headed, even-keeled souls who both individually and collectively are likable teammates.
Rajon Rondo has had his share of incidents for what essentially amounts to losing his cool.
But as we have seen thus far, being cool and calm hasn't necessarily allowed the Celtics to collect many victories.
"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 with it, I don't know if things are going to change. We still have to go out there and play the game."
And play it better, more together than Celtics fans have seen thus far this season.
Although Boston did win six in a row, Rivers said the C's only played three really good games in that stretch, referring to a couple of the wins in the streak as "garbage. We just won the game."
Rivers' anger isn't just directed at the players, either.
In fact, the first person he chastised after Sunday's loss, was himself.
"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."'
While Rivers is on point in including himself as part of the team's problem, ultimately the recovery of this team - if there is going to be one - is on the players.
And one of the first steps in that process is to come clean with one another, something Rivers does not believe has happened yet.
"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."'
And the C's are intent on getting men to play harder, even if it means cutting a few current Celtics loose.