Ten days ago I wrote an article titled "Preseason or not, tonight's game is important," because Gerald Wallace claimed that the Boston Celtics would get embarrassed every game if they didn't play with effort.
Eight days later, the Celtics played with little effort against the Minnesota Timberwolves and were embarrassed. No surprise to Wallace, who called out the team for it's lackadaisical effort once again, this time calling some of them "selfish."
No, it's not too early for the situation to be escalated like this. It never is. The NBA season lasts only 82 games, but it's a job that lasts 365 days a year; and Gerald Wallace knows that in order to succeed, a team must be completely invested.
Otherwise, the Boston Celtics could end up like those horrible Charlotte Bobcats teams that he played on in the mid-2000s. Wallace can smell the stench of mediocrity from a mile away, but right now it's plopped there right in front of him, and it's on the verge of enveloping the team.
That's why Crash called out his teammates. He wants to win and understands that the team has talent, but they won't pan out to be anything special unless they start taking every day of the year seriously. As Brad Stevens has stressed since the day he was hired: Everything is a process and each player must take steps at improving every day. Gerald Wallace has devoted himself to that mission more than anybody on the team.
Fortunately, it's possible that his teammates are starting to catch on. After today's practice, coach Stevens said it was probably the best one so far. Both Avery Bradley and Brandon Bass also supported Wallace's statements, saying that the team must stick together and continue to put forth maximum effort.
But it was Gerald Wallace who once again said it better than anyone else could, "If we lose every game, if we lose all 82 games, and we lose them going down fighting and competing hard, then I can live with that."
He continued, "I just can't live with losing and we didn't compete, we didn't give our best effort and we just gave the game away. I don't want that for these guys and this team. I want us to just come out and compete, and whatever happens, happens."
This team must put in effort every game, and for all 48 minutes. As he added, "We don't have the luxury of being able to take a quarter off or take five minutes off. We don't have that luxury. We have to continue to play, continue playing hard and together for 48 minutes."
How can you not support the man? For 12 years, Wallace has fought hard each and every game, as he looks to fulfill his dream of winning an NBA Championship. Crash got a taste of success during his rookie year with the Sacramento Kings, when they went all the way to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 7. Wallace knows what it takes, especially since he has not reached that round of the playoffs since then.
Maybe this Celtics team has no chance at winning a title this year, but it's a wasted season unless the team puts in the effort required to at least try to win. As Wallace said, he doesn't care if the team loses all 82 games, just as long as they compete hard.
Crash says, "It doesn't take talent or skills to just bring effort. Just come out every night and compete, and just give the will to win, it's not that hard." Tomorrow night against the Brooklyn Nets, the Celtics will get a chance to prove that they want to play hard this season.
Preseason or not, tomorrow night's game is important. Brad Stevens knows it, and Gerald Wallace knows it too. Most importantly, we'll find out what other players are invested and willing to put in the effort required to compete.