What does a coach do when his team is impossible to reach? When every motivational trick makes zero difference?
He reads his players a scathing story, of course.
Before yesterday’s game, Doc Rivers read a story about a team that couldn’t possibly beat Cleveland; that’s attitude wasn’t championship level; that won’t make the finals without more urgency; that has to face reality; that is hungry for June, but not for tomorrow. The Celtics all thought the story was about themselves.
Included in the story were quotes that Doc asked if his own players remembered saying. They remembered.
But the players never said those quotes. Hell, the story even wasn’t about the Celtics. It was about the Celtics’ most hated rival.
When Doc Rivers told his team the article was actually Bill Platschke from the Los Angeles Times, and he had been describing the Lakers, the mood lightened up considerably. (Boston Globe)
“They all laughed because they thought it was them,’’ Rivers said.
“I told them, ‘Don’t let that make you feel great,’ ’’ Rivers said. “Everybody has some misery, but you have to get out of it.’’
“A lot of people are overreacting,’’ Rajon Rondo said. “As bad as people say that we’re playing, we’ve still got  games left . . . We can all clean this up if we get our act together and win a championship.’’
I’m not sure people are overreacting, Rajon. Last night’s win elevated your squad to only .500 over the last 36 games. No, I think all the reactions are warranted.
But, damn, that’s a hell of a motivational ploy by Rivers. His story let the players know what he thinks and everyone else thinks of them, but also made sure they know it isn’t the end of the world. The Lakers are going through a lot of the same problems.
His message was clear: We need to change things up and we need to change things up right now, but we can do it, and this deep, losing skid we’re on is still fixable.
The perfect message.