CHICAGO — The Celtics were outscored 55-37 in the second half Thursday night against the Chicago Bulls and dropped a bitter 93-86 decision as Luol Deng scored 12 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter. Afterwards, Doc Rivers hardly acted like a coach whose team almost pulled out a tough road win.
He spent his postgame session criticizing not only his team’s effort but its toughness and desire. The Celtics committed five turnovers in the fourth quarter and looked lethargic in stretches as the Bulls were the more aggressive and physical team.
Here are Rivers’ postgame comments:
“I had to use two timeouts to remind us that we were actually in an NBA game,” he said. “I thought this was the worst loss for us this year with the way we approached the game. And then in the second half, I thought Chicago, they’re just too tough for us. I thought their toughness made us let go of the rope. We wanted to use all these excuses all night. I thought Chicago was just too tough for us. They get into us, they frustrate us and our guys let go of the rope, bottom line. We’re not going to go a lot of places playing with that type of mental toughness.
“Chicago is tougher than us right now. We have three weeks, if we play like that tonight, we’ll be playing of those (top teams) in the first round. We gotta get better. That was unacceptable.”
He continued when asked about the lack of effort.
“That is on me first. I didn’t see something tonight. It’s always on the coach,” he said. “That’s an unacceptable effort for us. I don’t say that often. I don’t think I’ve ever said that. That was a crime. It was tough to talk after the game. About what? We gotta be better than that. I don’t want to hear us winning crap, not with that effort.”
When asked about preparing for the postseason, he became even more frustrated.
“I’m just so pissed at the way we played. Honestly, the playoffs are the furthest thing from my mind right now because (Thursday’s) not us. We haven’t been that way but we were tonight. I called the two timeouts to remind us to make a run.
“We were cool tonight. We were the cool Boston Celtics tonight. That’s what we looked like. You could see it, walking the ball (up court). We couldn’t get the ball inbounds? Nobody wanted to work. It was a joke. We were the “cool Celtics.” And there’s nothing about me that’s cool, I can tell you that. You don’t play basketball cool.”