OAKLAND, Calif. - When asked to rate his level of frustration on a scale
from 1 to 10 following Monday's 110-106 loss to the Warriors, Paul
Pierce said, with little hesitation, "10." Given the circumstances, it
was an understandable answer.
Although the Celtics
did not squander a substantial lead against Golden State - as they did
against Sacramento on the first game of this trip - they still came up
short against one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. The Celtics
let one of the lowest-scoring offenses in the league tie its season
high with 42 field goals and surpass the 100-point plateau in regulation
for only the third time this season. Pierce & Co. sealed their fate
by taking ill-advised, quick shots, especially late, with the game
hanging in the balance.
after the disappointments of the last two games,and with a long
learning curve ahead, would Pierce's frustration level ever reach 11?
"It can't get to 11," said Pierce. "If it gets to 11, then I'll be sitting with Ron Artest."
a couple more losses like these may push Pierce closer to 11 than he
would like. The captain's frustration results from how the Celtics
lose more than the end result itself. In his postgame comments, Pierce
briefly interrupted himself and said, "I know I'm repeating myself, but .
Therein lies the biggest problem; Pierce cannot help but repeat himself because the Celtics
keep making the same mistakes. It should come as no surprise that in
losing to Golden State, Boston reverted to individual play, abandoning
the unselfish disposition essential for the read-and-react, up-tempo
offense coach Doc Rivers wants to run.
now, it's an equal-opportunity offense," said Pierce. "There's a
tendency, at times, when things aren't going well, to try to go off on
your own. If we can just grow up from that and believe in each other and
not get down on each other when times get rough, that's going to be the
biggest key. [We have] to know that we're not too far away, that we're
knocking at the door of really turning this thing around, and that's
what we're going to do."
the frustration, Pierce sounded, for the most part, optimistic
following the loss to the Warriors, especially considering what
transpired during the final minutes. Although Boston trailed for much of
the second half after leading by as many as 8 points in the first
quarter, it was a one-possession game down the stretch.
staged an 8-2 run to pull within a point (105-104) with 1:04 remaining.
The teams traded baskets - a 21-footer from Derek Fisher, a layup by
Pierce - and Boston had a chance to take the lead after regaining
possession with 20 seconds remaining. But a forced 18-footer by Pierce
clung to a 1-point lead (107-106), until Marcus Banks fouled out and put
Fisher on the line with 5.8 seconds remaining. Fisher made the first,
then missed the second. But Jason Richardson swooped in for an
inexplicably unobstructed tip-in that left the Celtics
facing a 4-point deficit with 4.9 seconds remaining. With the perimeter
well-protected, Boston couldn't even get a shot off in the closing
seconds. The end of the game represented all that went wrong for the Celtics against the Warriors.
so flawed in the execution part of the game that we just have to keep
talking about it, keep teaching it, keep reminding," said Rivers, who
conducted a limited practice with the younger players yesterday at the
team hotel. "Their last five baskets were our mistakes. I don't mind if
somebody makes a shot on you.
were switching everything. One of our guys forgot to switch and a guy
gets a three. We come off the free throw line, tell everybody to box out
- no box out. Shots down the stretch, even the final one, guys are wide
open, we [don't pass and] take the shot anyway. That's just execution
"We're going to
get it. I believe that. I swear I believe that, but we don't have it
right now. I don't think anybody on our team is selfish. They want to do
the right thing. I don't think they know how. It's my job to teach them
"Some of them are just
young and I can't fault that. Some of it is focus. Some of it is
breaking old habits. I believe this team is going to be a good team, but
we're a long way from that. I mean a long way from that."
The way the Celtics
tossed up shots against the Warriors showed a considerable lack of
patience on the court. The question remains whether the patience of
Pierce, Rivers, and others will wear thin off the court.
if he would run out of patience with the rebuilding process, Pierce
said, "I don't know. It's tough. I'm in my seventh year and it's
frustrating. It's definitely frustrating for me. I've just got to keep
playing and try to be the best player I can for this team and see what
Pierce hopes he sees something new from the Celtics in Portland tomorrow night. Repeat performances have been far from entertaining.