MIAMI, FL - MAY 01: Paul Pierce#34, Jermaine O'neal #7, Ray Allen #20, and Kevin Garnett #5 of the Boston Celtics talk during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 1, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Celtics players, just like everybody else, are asking themselves what needs to be done to light a spark. A current topic of conversation? Whether a team meeting would help:
Jermaine O’Neal believes it’s time for a meeting. Captain Paul Pierce doesn’t believe it’s that time quite yet. They both agree that something has to change if the Celtics are going to make any impact on the playoffs in eight weeks. ...
"I think at some point over the next 48 hours, I’m sure we’ll have a conversation just amongst our team in terms of where we’re at mentally,’’ [O'Neal] said. "Because that’s the key, mentally for us right now. I don’t care what’s going on, we shouldn’t lose to Detroit twice in a five-day span. They’re playing good basketball but they shouldn’t beat us twice.’’
When asked if he will organize the players to meet, Pierce said: "I don’t see me calling a meeting right now. I’m not going to use the excuse that we didn’t have [Rajon] Rondo for the second half or missing out on [Kevin Garnett] or Brandon Bass. We just have to be more competitive. It doesn’t take calling the guys in for that.’’
Does Pierce's reluctance to hold a team meeting say anything about his leadership? Absolutely not. Pierce was acting like the captain he is last night, trying to get the team fired up in the huddle.
Rather, this seems to be an example of Pierce thinking that team meetings just aren't that effective. From where I'm sitting he's probably right, too. The players know they're playing poorly. They know they need to execute better, and they know they shouldn't be dropping two games to the Pistons in the span of a week. Doc has called out the team publicly and privately, appealing to their pride. Danny has threatened to blow the team up. What's a meeting going to do for them?
Between age and injuries, it's probably fair to say that this team could play with maximum focus, energy, and heart every night, and would still be mediocre. Team meetings don't give Pierce and Ray fresh legs, or Rondo a jumpshot, or JO the ability to play like a league-average center. Rather, they lead to finger pointing and hurt feelings, but no real ability to solve this team's actual issues: an old, broken team with no competent center, no ability to rebound, and a stagnant offense. Until somebody comes up with a solution to solve those things, words are basically irrelevant.