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Ummm, What?

DocI didn't see the game last night.  I DVR'd it and checked the score in the 3rd quarter.  At the time, we were up 16 points.  I checked the score after the game and my jaw hit the floor.  How did this happen?  Sure, I'm fine getting the loss, but how did the team collapse so suddenly?  From the morning papers, the answer is Doc.  He made a decision to bench the starters in the 4th.  Steve Bulpett reports:

“I was not tanking the game,” Rivers said. “I was not throwing the game or anything like that, because I’ve heard all those questions.”
 
There are those, however, who think he doth protest too much after leaving the subs in to squander an 18-point lead against Charlotte. The 29th-place Celts now have five more losses than the No. 27 Bobcats after a 92-84 defeat that even looked bad to those who have been stocking up on good luck charms for the lottery.

The C’s are just three losses away from Memphis with 14 games to play.
 
But Rivers insisted there was nothing sinister about leaving Paul Pierce (game-high 23 points) on the bench for the fourth quarter and letting the quintet of Sebastian Telfair, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Allan Ray and Leon Powe stay on the parquet as the lead - still at 10 with nine minutes left in the game - disappeared. The same coach who before the game criticized the notion of players shutting down their season early had a point to make.
 
“Honestly, I got to the point early in the fourth quarter (where) I turned to my coaches and said, ‘We’re going to win or lose with this group,’ ” Rivers said. “I got to the point (where) I thought, ‘What do we get if we win this game, if we put Paul and Al (Jefferson) back in? What do we get out of this game?’ . . . At some point, those other guys have to be able to play a little bit.
 
“It’s funny. You look at the Phil Jacksons. They’re able to do that all year because they know they’re playing for a title, and they can teach lessons to their bench. And they’ve lost games that way. All of those other coaches who don’t have championship teams, we never have the opportunity to actually do that . . . where you just leave them in anyway. Tonight I just said, ‘Screw it. They’re staying in.’ I got the bad looks from guys on our bench, and I just told them, ‘No, you’re not going in.’ ”

So, does anyone buy that?  Sometimes, when it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck,....

If you don't buy it, there is a whole pandora's box of questions that need to be asked.  I've been critical of Doc in many ways, but I've never questioned his integrity.  Now?  It gives me pause. 

On the other hand, if he was really going to tank, why wouldn't he shut down Pierce (which he spoke out against again last night)?  Why wouldn't he try a different gameplan from the start of the game instead of just the 4th quarter?  This doesn't make any sense.