Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Good teams sometimes have lulls where they let bad teams stick around. Great teams give a consistent effort, night in night out. This isn't a great team right now.
The Celtics are a better team than the Wizards. Period. They have more talent, more experience, and just flat out better players. The Wizards are also without two of their best players. These facts should be self evident.
So why did it take overtime to win one game and a one point victory to secure the other? According to Doc, it's effort.
"We’ve got to get more guys that play harder, better," Rivers said after the C’s 100-94 overtime win raised them to .500. "You know, I don’t care if we play well or not, because that’s just human. If you can make shots or not, it happens. But we just have to play with a better focus, and we’ve got to run our schemes better." It is telling that Rivers threw the most praise at Chris Wilcox after this one. And just what did the 6-foot-10 sub do to earn it? He played hard.
Said Wilcox: "That’s what they’ve told me before games. We need you to bring energy. Just play hard, and great things happen. If you stay ready, then you don’t have to get ready. "I’m trying to get back to where I was, but things like this are motivation for me to keep going and keep going."
That's all well and good, but Wilcox played for exactly 3 minutes and 40 seconds. I'm not going to say it is easy to play that hard for that long, but it is harder to play that way for a whole game. It is hard to give a full effort night in and night out, no matter the opponent. Yet "hard" is what these guys are paid to do. As a fan, all I ask of the players is to give their full effort and let the chips fall where they may.
I like this team and I think they'll come around sooner or later, but if we've got guys that aren't going to put in the full effort night in, night out, then we should find a way to move them for someone that will. Or at the very least, give their spot to someone else on the team. But I don't think it will come to that.
If there's one thing we know about this team it is that they sometimes don't get "up" for the less marquee matchups. They let down their guard and allow a team like the Wizards to stick around and before you know it they are in overtime. Good teams go through that. Great teams find a way to give a consistent effort every night.