Gerald Wallace has officially called out the Celtics more times than they’ve played games. After twice putting his teammates on blast during the preseason, it took all of two regular-season games for Wallace to rip them again.
“We got selfish,” he said after the Celtics blew a 22-point lead in a 105-98 loss to the Bucks. “We got selfish as a team. Instead of worrying about winning the ballgame, we were more worried about our stats, getting points. It showed. We went from a team that was together and moving and playing together in the first half to a team that was five individuals out on the court, everybody playing for themselves, and it showed on the defensive end.”
And who might be the stat-padding offenders?
“I don’t have a clue,” said Wallace. “You’ve got to ask everybody individually. I don’t know. I don’t even really understand it. I’m trying to figure out what’s more important, winning or padding your stats, because this was a game that we were supposed to win easy without even the starters playing in the fourth quarter. Instead, we got selfish as a team. We didn’t move the ball, we let the ball stick, we stopped pushing the ball, and their second unit came in and manhandled us and did whatever they wanted to do.”
The Celtics had just two assists on 7-of-33 shooting in the second half: Jeff Green 0-7 FG (0-1 3P), Wallace 2-6 FG (1-4 3P), Brandon Bass 1-5 FG; Courtney Lee 2-5 (0-2 3P); Avery Bradley 0-4 FG; Jared Sullinger 0-2 FG; Vitor Faverani 1-2 FG; Kelly Olynyk 1-2 FG; and, remarkably, Jordan Crawford 0-0 FG.
So, you tell me who played selfish. “We can’t play like that,” said Green. “It all starts with me. We’ve got to get it going in the right direction, and I take responsibility for that. We can’t lose — not the way we played in the first half.”
Let’s just say the mood in the locker room wasn’t great, which could be a good thing, because it means this team doesn’t like losing. “I want losing to hurt, first and foremost,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens. “Losing should hurt. But I don’t want it to be something that lingers. I think you lose, you learn from it, you move on.”
That’s when problems arise, when players can’t stop calling out their teammates. It gets tired.
“It’s very frustrating just to see the personality and the way our team is playing,” added Wallace. “This is going to be a long season for us. We’ve got to stay together. We’ve got to play together. And we’ve got to want it together. Tonight, we did that for the first 24 minutes, and the second 24 minutes it was everybody for themselves.
“Once things start heading downhill, they’re heading downhill. We’ve got to understand that as a team and try to get on the right path. Even if we’re heading uphill and we have bumps in the road, at least we’re headed in the right direction, but once you start down it’s a long way down.”
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