After the Miami Heat's Game 1 victory over the Boston Celtics, Doc Rivers had this to say: "That's chippy...That ain't physical."
Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
There is a storm brewing, and it isn't surprising. Right in the middle of a comeback from 18 down, Paul Pierce, arguably the Celtics' best and most clutch player, got ejected from the game after receiving his second technical foul.
There are many that could say the game was rigged, or that the refs had it out for Pierce.
Whatever. You make your bed, and now you lie in it. Doc Rivers, who runs one of the best teams in all of pro basketball, is also one of the most lackadaisical coaches when it comes to team discipline. Before the season, Doc Rivers even said that one of their goals was to set the record for most technical fouls in a season.
"We’re going to set the record again, we’re going to go for it," said Rivers. "Last year, we fell short. This year, we’re going to head out and get it. You gotta have a goal, right?"
This may have been stated tongue in cheek...but the attitude is pervasive in the Celtics core. It has been one of the reasons for their success...they are nasty. Bullies of the NBA, kings of trash talk. Kevin Garnett alone is worth more trash talk minutes than most NBA team rosters.
Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Big Baby Davis and Delonte West all have reputations as trash-talking/semi-dirty players as well.
Ray Allen is a saint, and a great player, but the aggressive energy is what makes the Celtics a great team. I have no real problems with being bullies.
However, now Doc Rivers wants to talk about another team being "chippy"? What is that all about Rivers? I have the utmost respect for you as a coach, and the Celtics as a team. However, they have now run into a team that seems to have just as big a chip on their shoulders (finally, Miami) and responds to their aggressive play with equally aggressive in-your-face play.
It seems now that the Celtics know how to dish it...but not take it.
Paul Pierce should have been ejected for his face contact on James Jones. Make no mistake, it was not a head butt. But no matter how you look at it, Pierce made contact with Jones' face. That is almost always an ejection. So he got lucky there.
But 49 seconds later, Dwyane Wade roughly ran through a screen and Paul Pierce bowed up (look at the tape, and tell me he wasn't bowing up) and said something to Wade. We didn't hear what was said, but the ref made a judgment call to maintain control of the game (right or wrong, Paul Pierce has to be smarter with one technical foul already called on him).
I am sorry, but the "physical and aggressive" nature of the Celtics finally caught up with them. They are a great team but need to learn to control themselves a little more. The Heat are going to be hitting you back for once with aggressive play, and you aren't used to it.
If the Celtics don't get their emotions in check, it will be a short series. Doc, don't complain about a team doing to you what you have done to everyone else. If you are willing to get Kevin Garnett's back every time he says something horrible and say that "it is just the nature of the game" or even jokingly take pride in being one of the top fouling teams in the NBA for the last four years (http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/celtics/tag/_/name/technical-fouls), then you need to shut up and coach your players.
The Celtics have the ability, but do they have the poise to handle an equally chippy team? When the bullies become the bullied, what happens?
We will see, but Doc..."it's just the nature of the game".