Making his weekly appearance on The Big Show, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said that the Celtics, who currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 14-13 record, "have a tendency to play down to their level of competition," and that he has questioned the team's resolve in the past before seeing them elevate their level of play in the postseason.
Asked about coach Doc Rivers calling out the team's toughness at points this season, Ainge didn't hold back in saying that the Celtics tend to underachieve during the regular season.
"I think it's just focus. I don't know if it's toughness, although I guess it is mental toughness. We do know that this team has the ability to play at a very high level," Ainge said. "They've shown that, and this isn't just happening this year. Last year we started out 13-17, and I didn't think that we had any resolve at that time, and then I thought we had as much resolve as any team I've ever been around the second half of the season, and the same thing the year before when we went all the way to the NBA finals Game 7 against the Lakers. I thought our team in the regular season, we finished 27-27, I felt like we just didn't have that fight, what Doc might refer to as toughness, but then I thought that we played the best basketball of this six-year era since we've had KG. I thought that was the best basketball we've ever played, even to this day, was in the Orlando and Cleveland series.
"I know these players have it within them. I will never doubt that, because they've shown time and time [again] what they're capable of, but they also have a tendency to play down to their level of competition and to pace themselves, for lack of a better term, throughout the course of the regular season."
We discuss the Patriots blown chance at clinching the division with a loss to the Dolphins with Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Hoo-man joins Mut and Merloni from Gillette Stadium after the team’s loss Sunday in Miami. Mut and Lou ask him about his highlight reel touchdown reception and whether he was interfered with as the Patriots attempted to score the game winning touchdown.
Rob sits in with Mut and Merloni on Patriots Monday to chat about the loss in Miami. Rob explains what he saw on Charles Clay’s 6-yd reception to convert a critical fourth down on Miami’s final scoring drive.
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Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
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Buster joins Mut and Merloni live at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Buster explains that the market for Stephen Drew has cooled off considerably and executives around the league believe he will return to Boston.
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Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Bristol County Sheriff Tom Hodgson joined the show with an update on Aaron Hernandez. He told the guys that he has had a successful transition to prison life and that he receives no preferential treatment.
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The guys opened the show by discussing the love letters sent by Aaron Hernandez's cell mates. The guys have quite the writing style.
McGuire joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Shawn Thornton's suspension and if the NHL got it right.
LB calls in and goes toe-to-toe with Mut regarding the Shawn Thornton suspension.
Lou takes on a caller about the Shawn Thornton Brooks Orpik controversy.
DJ Bean of WEEI.com sits down with Salk and Holley for an hour and debates the Thornton hit, punishment and appeal, as well as a spirited debate on Christmas music to boot.
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Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
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Hoo-man joins Mut and Merloni from Gillette Stadium after the team’s loss Sunday in Miami. Mut and Lou ask him about his highlight reel touchdown reception and whether he was interfered with as the Patriots attempted to score the game winning touchdown.More from this show