Doc Rivers and Jason Terry are old school guys. Rivers came from an era where guys played through concussions and were beaten up all over the floor most nights compared to today’s era. Terry is an ironman who has just missed a handful of games over his entire career. He’s probably played through plenty of injuries in his career (including a knee injury this season) and he should be applauded for that.
Comments from both of these guys caught my eye last night during the aftermath of the C’s loss to Dallas. For some background, in case you missed the game, the Celtics were the midst of a 11-4 late in the fourth quarter, trimming a 12-point deficit to five with just under two minutes remaining. Dallas had the ball out of a timeout and missed a jumper, before grabbing another offensive rebound.
Upon Courtney Lee guarding the ball during the sequence, he landed on the foot of Mike James while pressuring the ball, spraining his ankle in the process. Unfortunately for Boston, while Lee appeared to be in serious pain on the sidelines, without showing any inclination to get up, the play continued. Eventually, O.J. Mayo hit a wide-open three-ball and the C’s comeback was effectively doomed.
To put it kindly, Rivers and Terry weren’t particularly pleased during the postgame press conferences about Lee’s inability to get up and finish out the defensive sequence. Let’s start with Doc’s comments:
On what Rivers saw when Lee went down: “I didn’t think it was a major injury, I can tell you that….”I was hoping he could get up because we needed him to get up. It was the damnedest play. You’re making a run, you’re down five and you got a guy laying on the floor. It felt like it took 40 seconds, they make a 3. We were stuck, do you foul? Down five, you don’t want to take a foul, you’re just hoping someone misses a shot and somehow we got a rebound. But it didn’t work out for us.”
On what Jason Terry thought when Lee was down: ”Get your ass up. If your bone is sticking out of there….I don’t know….I don’t know how he’s feeling right now, but we’re trying to win a game….I mean…I don’t know.”
You can see full video of Lee’s comments (which I strongly suggest you do) by watching the video on CSNNE.com at the top of this link.
CH’s Take: I have a few different thoughts on this. By all accounts now, Lee is okay. He was able to put pressure on the ankle after the game, and is considered questionable for tonight with a sprained ankle. That’s the most important thing, as far as this team is concerned.
With that noted, these comments carry a lot of heat from both Rivers and Terry, essentially questioning Lee’s ability to play through pain. Now some of their thoughts can be attributed to frustration mounting after a tough loss, and hopefully that’s the case here. You do have to wonder though if there’s more to them though.
Rivers knows Lee well, dating back to his childhood, so it was pretty shocking for me to see him throw Lee under the bus indirectly like this. That speaks volumes to me, since when you look back at the frustration Rivers was feeling about this team and particular players earlier in the season, with the “we’re going to get some guys out of here” talk in January, you wouldn’t be wrong to wonder whether Lee was on the top of that list with this kind of talk from Rivers. Doc chooses his comments wisely most nights and I feel like he did so here.
Terry was much more frank. Again, part of me likes this mentality, the win-at-all costs demeanor. The other side of me questions this strongly though. What gives Terry the right (especially with his recent performances) to call his teammate out like that during an injury situation? How does he know how much pain Lee was in? Is there more to this story than this? Probably, but we’re only left to wonder who respects who in that locker room right now.
Either way, this all probably blows over, especially if Lee plays tonight. Still, if the C’s continue their swoon, a watchful eye will have to be placed on this team’s demeanor on the floor and towards each other.