The Celtics are in the midst of another problematic slump, dropping their third straight contest last night overall in the Palace of Auburn Hills 103-88. As we all know now, the bigger story of the night was Doc Rivers going off on his team, calling out the C’s roster for their inconsistency and unwillingness to play hard night in and night out.
As the drama unfolded last night, it struck me not just what Doc was saying, but also just where this ugliness was occurring; none other than Detroit, Michigan.
You see, calling Detroit an unfriendly place for the visiting Celtics in recent years could be a bit of an understatement. The Celtics have been awful on the court during their recent visits, dropping five of their past seven contests at The Palace, despite the Pistons being a sub .500 for five years and counting.
The subpar rod record is only part of the story though. To put it simply, BAD things keep happening to the Celtics whenever they are in the state of Michigan. Injuries, fines, suspensions, destructive trash talk, you name it and the C’s have done it. In fact, let’s take a not-so-enjoyable walk down memory lane here to make sense of this madness.
We’ll start with Doc’s rant last night in full video form. No explanation needed here. This has been brewing for at least two months now but last night enough was enough.
If we cycle back all the way to early 2010, we can remember Glen Davis having a run-in with a heckler in Detroit during a C’s loss. This one hurt Big Baby in the wallet. (Via ESPNBoston, January 21, 2010)
Boston Celtics forward Glen Davis was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday for shouting an obscenity to a heckling fan during Wednesday night’s loss to the Detroit Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
“I don’t think it’s a huge step backwards [in Davis' maturity], but it is a step backwards,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Thursday in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI. “Glen Davis has to grow up.”
The jeering fan near the Celtics’ bench repeatedly called the 24-year-old Davis “fat boy” and told him to lose some weight. Davis’ response was audible on both the Boston radio and television broadcasts of the game and prompted the fan, according to a report in The Boston Globe, to file a complaint with NBA security.
That visit was followed by the ugliness of the Kevin Garnett-Charlie Villanueva trash talk incident, in which Villanueva accused Garnett of calling him a cancer patient in November 2010:
Everyone in Celtics Nation got an incredible scare back in December 2010, when Garnett pulled up lame during an uncontested dunk, in a similar fashion to his serious knee injury back in Utah. Luckily, it was just a calf strain that sidelined him for a couple weeks at the time, but the ugly memories remain. If you are brave you can check out the comments on CelticsHub from that very night.
Finally, we had the notorious incident last season on February 21, 2012, in which Rajon Rondo completely lost his cool after failing to get a foul call and flung the ball at an official. That mishap cost the All-Star point guard a two-game suspension.
So yeah, all of that happened in the last three years alone. In a place the Celtics have only played seven games over that span. What does this all mean? Probably nothing in the long run. Maybe the Celtics should just “PASS” on games in Detroit moving forward, accept the loss and hope they can avoid further drama. Thankfully for them, there won’t be any more trips to the Palace this year.
And just so we don’t finish this post on too sour of a note, we can remember it hasn’t always been bad memories at the Palace.