Don't Expect Tuesday To Linger with Celtics

BOSTON – There are only two ways to respond to a 26-point drubbing by the NBA’s worst team: either become motivated or become demoralized.

The Boston Celtics will do the former.

There is no denying the fact that Gerald Henderson and the Bobcats schooled the Celtics Tuesday night. Charlotte had been 13-50 heading into that game but left Time Warner Cable Arena with a 100-76 win over Boston. Henderson spearheaded the surprising victory with a career-high 35 points.

Jason Terry

Avery Bradley and the Celtics are looking forward, not backward, after a disappointing loss in Charlotte.
Brian Babineau/NBAE/Getty Images

Tuesday’s contest may have been the most disappointing defeat of the season for the Celtics. They played without their captain and top scorer, Paul Pierce, but that was a strategic move. Doc Rivers and his staff believed that the rest of the team could still defeat Charlotte without the Pierce’s services.

As we now know, that didn’t happen. It was actually very far from happening. The Celtics gave a lackluster performance that displayed no semblance of their typical ways. No energy. No life. No execution.

No offense to the Bobcats, but they are a team that would stumble into the next day following a blowout loss like the one Boston suffered on Tuesday. Charlotte would be second-guessing its system and maybe even wondering if it is worthy of being a part of the NBA. That’s what happens in losing situations – teams become demoralized.

There is no losing situation in Boston. Even in the toughest of times over the past six seasons, the glass has remained half full. Such a mindset is due mostly to the presence of four men: Danny Ainge, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers. They are the leaders of this franchise and they’re always looking forward, not backward.

Of those four men, Rivers is the one who has the most impact on Boston’s day-to-day mindset. As coach of the team, it’s his job to manipulate his players’ minds and keep them on the necessary and correct path. Sometimes he has to do that in mindboggling ways, as we saw Tuesday night.

Following the defeat in Charlotte, Rivers’ first move on the chess board may have caught reporters and fans off guard. The substance of his statements was truly unique. Following a 26-point loss, Rivers pointed out the positives, not the negatives.

“I thought Jordan (Crawford) had his stretches where he played hard. I thought Terrence (Williams), when he came back in the second half, offensively he wasn’t very good, but defensively he was very competitive,” Rivers said Tuesday night. “Even in losses you see things. You see competitive guys. You get something out of that.

In another portion of his postgame media availability, Rivers elaborated on why he wasn’t too distraught following the blowout loss.

“It’s one game,” Rivers quipped. “I’m not going to overdo it. Our spirit was off. You also have to look at our team as a whole – we haven’t had a lot of nights like that. I’m not happy with the way the game went but overall I like our team.”

Who wouldn’t? This Celtics team is the definition of resilient. It has lost a perennial All-Star, one of the league’s top rookies and a former Sixth Man of the Year this season. All the Celtics have done is become better since those injuries occurred.

That’s the sign of a mentally stable team. One thing these Celtics will not do is dwell on a negative. They will take that negative at face value, stare it down, process it and move on. Point blank.

If you expect the Celtics to fold in the face of last night’s adversity, you’ve got another thing coming. This team takes on the mindset of its coach, and for that reason, it will be nothing but motivated as it heads into tonight’s game against the Toronto Raptors.