Blog Entry

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

Posted on: March 25, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: March 25, 2011 4:37 pm
Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett says the team wasn't pleased that coach Doc Rivers called them "soft". Posted by Ben Golliver. kevin-garnett-mouth

This week, there were reports that Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers had called his notoriously intense and tough-minded team "soft" at halftime of a recent game.

During an interview with Boston radio station WEEI, transcribed by, Garnett said the Celtics pushed back against Rivers' message.
"That really wasn’t cool at all, but Doc has a way of motivating us in more than one way. He knows how to push buttons and get guys to respond. … If he has something to say to you individually, he’ll say it … but I don’t think there was a guy in the locker room that was feeling that. We told him after the game, ‘Don’t ever say nothing like that ever again.'"
Touchy. Touchy. Touchy.

The only way this back-and-forth really matters in the big picture is if Garnett or others in the locker room harbor resentment over the team's trade of Kendrick Perkins. Indeed, no one could blame the Celtics for being a little bit defensive at the "soft" label given that they are playing without Perkins, the brutish centerpiece of their defense and rebounding efforts, as well as fellow big men Shaquille O'Neal and Jermaine O'Neal

Garnett, however, seems to state that the Perkins trade is fully in the rearview mirror.
"As much as it does hurt, as much as you are emotionally attached, you’ve got to get over it. … From that standpoint, I think we’ve all been doing that."
If we take Garnett at his word that everyone has gotten over the Perkins trade -- at least as much as possible -- I'm a little disappointed in the Celtics. It's not like Rivers is clueless when it comes to personality management. This isn't Pistons coach John Kuester or anything; Rivers guided the Celtics to a title and generally treats his players with the utmost respect. 

Here, he was obviously he was looking to push a button. And, equally obviously, that button pushing prompted the reaction he was looking for. Does Rivers actually believe his team is soft? No, probably not. Is he less than thrilled that they're 5-5 over their last 10 games? That would certainly be understandable, given that the Chicago Bulls are now a game up on the Celtics in the race for the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed. 

Considering the circumstances, Rivers just wasn't out of line. No player or group of players, not even a former champion or a trio of future Hall of Famers, is above criticism.

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: March 27, 2011 9:42 am

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

Again, Doc didn't say they were soft because of Perkins/Kristic.  He said the TEAM is playing soft period and again that is a mental approach being brought to the games.  You can't single out Rondo or Pierce eventhough they have been playing bad recently, but the team as a whole have been playing bad.  What are they, 8-6 since the trade?  Losing to the clips, NJ, Charlotte, Houston etc. in a short time span has a lot more to do with the TEAM and not just Rondo or Pierce.

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: March 27, 2011 1:25 am

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

actually the celtics were doing great the first 5 games because kristic was averaging 15 ppg and 9 rebounds

now hes averaging about 8ppg and 3 rebounds

and im not disagreeing with doc i just think that this has more to do with rondo/pierce then it does with perkins/kristic

Since: Dec 2, 2006
Posted on: March 26, 2011 11:15 pm

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

Nighthawke, IMO, being soft in this instance has nothing to do with offense or defense.  Sure the C's are still holding teams to low scoring outputs, but the mental aspect of the game is what is destroying them.  So in that regard, they are soft as Doc saw fit to call them.  If they are worried about the Perkins trade instead of playing basketball, then they are soft.  If Rondo is worrying about personal stats as one poster pointed out, then he is soft.  If Pierce is worrying about his multiple horrible shooting performances lately, then yes he is playing soft.  I can go on.  The point is, the Celtics are not playing like they were earlier and how we have grown accustomed to the past couple of years.  Since the Perkins' trade, they have been downright embarrising for celtic fans.  So much so, chi46-ne10 has not shown his face.  Doc sees that and he as a coach thought it was a good time to call them on that.  Props to Doc for telling the truth.  Losing to the bobcats and teams like that back to back on your homecourt calls for some tough love.  And as someone once said, THE TRUTH HURTS!!!!  The celtics players have to deal with it. 

Since: Mar 21, 2009
Posted on: March 26, 2011 8:58 pm

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

I love this line "we told the coach to never call us soft again"

just makes me puke.  man up if you dont like it tough.  Most of use in this chat room is attacked every single day by a boss and we eat crow because we need to eat. 

You know where I am going with this and I will not say the obvious.

My gut is not the whole team talked to the coach that way but I sure as heck can see KG being one of them.  He oozes with class.

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: March 26, 2011 8:25 pm

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

yes rondo needs to step up
but paul pierce just got more attempts last game and he bricked almost every cruicial shot he took

Since: Oct 27, 2006
Posted on: March 26, 2011 11:48 am

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

He should have said you guys are playing as soft as Charlie Vllanueva's cancer stricken skull.  KG would have loved it.

Since: Mar 26, 2011
Posted on: March 26, 2011 9:44 am

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

I agree w/ doc, the team has been playing soft.  As a professional basketball player, individual needs to part with teammate when traded; that's the nature with the profession.  Garnnett is known to be tough on the court, but most infamous for being one of the dirty player in the game today.  I use to be a loyal fan of Garnnett but now the only thing he's doing is punching himself on the nutts lol

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: March 25, 2011 7:26 pm

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

Nighthawk ... ur right about the offense  ...and again that lies in RONDO'S hands.

Pierce mighta had an off night that one game, but he's had less than 10 shot attempts in 6 of the last 9 games.   RONDO is supposed to be getting the main guns the ball ... Pierce, Allen, and KG and he simply isn't doing it.

Instead he's been hoisting up HORRENDOUS shots with a pathetic shooting %  ...  2-12 in the last game is the final straw with me and many Celtic fans.

Rondo and the Celts are at their best when Rondo ISN'T trying to score.   PASS to the HOFers ... drive the lanes when they're all covered.  And with Krstic, he even has a 4th viable option now.

It all comes down to Rondo ... as soon as he lets his inflated ego step aside and reverts back to PASSING like he was doing at an amazing clip in the first half of the year, the Celts will then be flying again.   It really is as simple as that.

And if he has a problem with that, I'd bench him until he gets the message.   Rondo .. it's up to you

Since: Mar 25, 2011
Posted on: March 25, 2011 7:08 pm

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

Doc better watch it or KG will punch him in the nuts too!

Since: Mar 13, 2007
Posted on: March 25, 2011 6:52 pm

Garnett: Celtics told Rivers to stop 'soft' talk

really what this all boils down to is the celtics offense is completly out of wack

ya you can argue deffense needs to improve but when youve only allowed 90+ points 4 times in an entire month

i think the O needs to step up not the D

the only reason the celtics needed to come back from 15 down to the knicks was becasue paul pierce didnt hit a single shot in the first half

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