Rasheed Wallace has suffered consequences from the officials who have given him technical fouls all season long and even ejected him from a game as well. Wallace has suffered consequences from the league itself, who fined him $35,000 in January and $30,000 back in November.
This past Sunday, 'Sheed finally suffered consequences from head coach, Doc Rivers, who benched him in the second half of the Cleveland game following a Wallace temper tantrum in a contest that the Celtics managed to hang on and win after squandering a 22-point third quarter lead.
Wallace was handed his NBA league leading 18th technical foul in this game, and when Doc Rivers went to calm him down and stop him from going off on the refs, Wallace then turned his rage toward Doc, himself.
Rivers had no choice but to make him sit for the rest of the game. But is the action that Doc took enough to make 'Sheed change? We'll get to that.
Wallace has been a major disappointment this year, and I am the last person in New England who could say I told you so. When the Green acquired Wallace in the off-season, I was praising the move for all the same reasons that the Celtics wanted him in the first place: Wallace is a dynamic player that can defend well, score in the post, and features a very soft outside touch for a 6'11'' power forward/center.
Over and over, NBA analysts said that bringing Wallace to the Celtics would allow them to "stretch the defense," by drawing the opposing big man away from the paint and opening up the middle.
What about his attitude and his reputation? You had to figure that as a 35-year-old man playing for a winning team with three all-star veteran leaders and a tough coach, that his attitude would only be a minor issue.
We now know these assertions have been wrong. So, with the NBA playoffs just on the horizon, how do the Celtics address this problem now?
Doc benching Wallace Sunday was a step in the right direction but it's not enough. He needs to hear the message loud and clear from the fans. Word has it, Wallace reads The Bleacher Report .
On behalf of Celtics fans everywhere and especially on behalf of a Celtic fan in Southern California, who just survived the recent Earthquake, this is my memo to Rasheed Wallace:
You are a player with wide-reaching talents and you hate to lose. That's a good combination for any athlete in any sport. But, in order for you to contribute more and salvage what's left of your season in Boston, there are some basic principles that you need to follow:
1. No more three pointers unless the shot clock is about to expire.
Shooting the three is part of why Boston brought you here, but that part of your game has not worked out this season. Plus the Celtics just acquired Michael Finley, a long distance marksman whose jumper is usually wet like the Harbor.
Besides, when you do actually go in and post up, you dominate. Case and point: last week's game against Oklahoma City, you took over and scored with your back to the basket on three consecutive trips. You flat out embarrassed your defender and we need to see more of that.
2. Play your face off on defense, and if you get called for a foul, do not argue with the officials.
That's what Doc Rivers is paid to do.
Focus on playing the game—which is what you are paid to do. You are No. 1 in the NBA in technical fouls, and as a man who comes off the bench and sees only 22.5 minutes per game, that is inexcusable.
You are not even on the court long enough to warrant a fraction of that many technical fouls. I know that KG was just fined 30 grand a week ago, and I also know that Kendrick Perkins is third in the league in technicals.
These things are not right either, but you need to focus on yourself, and make it a point to do whatever you can to positively impact this team starting Tuesday night against the New York Knicks.
3. Bring back the headband, and keep it for the duration of the season.
4. Believe in yourself and believe in this team.
I don't care what the experts say. You still have fuel left in the tank, and the Celtics still have a chance to raise another banner in the Boston Garden this year. It was the experts who said that New Orleans had no chance against Indianapolis.
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