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Gerald Wallace Lights into Boston Celtics, Accuses Team of Selfish Play

DENVER, CO - January 7: Gerald Wallace #45 of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against the Denver Nuggets on January 7, 2014 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistJanuary 8, 2014

Someone might want to remind Gerald Wallace the Boston Celtics are right on schedule.

Then again, someone else should let his teammates know you can still look good while tanking.

"Crash" lit into his teammates following Boston's 129-98 loss against the Denver Nuggets, accusing his comrades of being all bark, no bite, per The Boston Globe's Gary Washburn

I'm very surprised. Right now, we're the team that's all talk. We talk about how we want to get better. We talk about things we need to do to get better. It's easy to go out and practice and do it. Practice doesn't really apply to anything with making yourself better. When they turn them lights on, when it really counts, when it's about the team and making the team better and trying to win as a team, we don't do it.

You knew this was coming, partly because Boston has gone from leading the Atlantic Division to dwelling outside the Eastern Conference's playoff picture. Mostly, though, you just knew Wallace would snap because he's Wallace.

"We’re not playing with effort,” Wallace said after a preseason loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves in October, via The Boston Globe's Baxter Holmes. "Guys are out there being selfish. The opponent is giving it their all, regardless of how the night is going."

If that's how he reacted to a preseason loss, it was only a matter of time before he unleashed on his teammates when games actually counted for something.

And so he did.

More from Washburn:

Like I said, guys gotta look in the mirror man. It's gotta be the individual. It's gotta be timeout for I and what I can do to help us win? What can I do to help the team win? What can I come out on the court and provide to make our team better? Right now it's too much of 'I,' too many guys trying to do it on their own and in this league, that's hard to do.

Situations like these are difficult to wrap your head around.

On the one hand, the Celtics aren't supposed to be winning. Their best player, Rajon Rondo, remains sidelined, and quite honestly, they're not built to win.

General manager Danny Ainge can sidestep tanking accusations all he wants; it won't change anything. Boston is losing by design.

On the other hand, effort should never have been an issue—even for "tank jobs." Players are compensated handsomely for their services and are expected to compete no matter what. Win or lose, there should always be some kind of fight, some sense of purpose instilled in the roster.

Rookie head coach Brad Stevens has worked wonders thus far, using his powers to keep Boston's troops engaged. Lately, though, the Celtics appear dejected, languishing in their own predicted failures.

INDIANAPOLIS - DECEMBER 22:  Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on December 22, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by do
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Each of their last two losses have come by at least 23 points. Neither of those contests saw them defend particularly well, and in their most recent loss to Denver, they couldn't buy a bucket, knocking down 38.5 percent of their shot attempts.

Losers of five straight and eight of their last nine, the Celtics are fading fast. Once considered a tanking expedition turned Eastern Conference godsend, they're beginning to play like they're resigned to losing—which is unacceptable.

"Tonight was not good enough," Stevens said of their effort against Denver, via the Boston Herald's Mark Murphy.

Not even for a team supposed to lose.

 

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