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Where Are You Ubuntu?

Doc Rivers is befuddled. 

Paul Pierce has no answers - ditto for the rest of the "team".

Maybe that's good, because it's time to shut up and play.

Don't blame the loss to Charlotte on the new bench, and don't blame it on injuries - there are no excuses this time.

Pin last night's effortless, sleepwalking, no-good, oops-we-let-them-back-in-it game on a lack of one thing: Ubuntu.

No, it's not cheesy - it's the truth.

"Ubuntu" has become nothing more than the last word the Celtics say before leaving the huddle. The meaning? Forgotten before the shot clock hits "23".

"Our attitude shocks me," Doc Rivers said after the disappointing loss. "We're just not ready to win any games right now the way we play, the way our approach is to basketball games. I told them that with about five minutes left. I said if we win great, you find your own way.

"Right now I just think we've become very, very selfish. Not just as far as trying to get our own, but everything is about how we're playing individually instead of how the team is playing. You can see it, a guy struggles, he pouts, he moans. Everything is me, me, me on our team right now. Feeling sorry for themselves, instead of giving themselves to the team and playing. You can just see it manifest throughout the team."

Unfortunately, Rivers is right. While he's not pointing fingers, one could take an educated guess as to some of the player's he might be talking about. Rajon Rondo's body may be hurting a little bit, but he's playing with hurt feelings more than anything. And Pierce seems to be trying to do too much at times, when perhaps there are better options. Is Glen Davis thinking too hard about that new contract? Is the team over the Kendrick Perkins trade yet? The list can keep on going.

The results? Poor attitudes and even poorer play -and a very discouraged Rivers.

"I don't have a particular date when the last time was I was discouraged, I'll try to look that up," Rivers said sarcastically. "It's up there."

"I could care less about their slumps," Rivers said. "It's not hard, you keep playing. You play hard. You're not going to play well every night, but it can't be about you. It's got to be, ‘Let me do something else to help the team.'"

The talent is there. The health is actually there. It's mental at this point. It's putting "we" before "me". It's not getting down when you're down, and not letting your guard down when you're up.

It seems as of late that the Celtics only play as good as the opposition forces them to. Cripes, it took a "Boston Sucks" chant to light a fire under them in New York. The killer instinct in the Celtics is missing. Where's the "Rottweiler" Celtics Pierce tweeted about over the offseason?

"I thought the starting unit in particular, came in casual in the fourth quarter, assuming they were going to win the game," Rivers said of the fourth quarter in which the Celtics were outscored 30-to-15. "No urgency. Then all of the sudden when the game got to one, their butts got tight. I always say it, ‘You screw around with the game and the game will screw around with you.'"

Then consider the Celtics screwed.

There are those two words again, "no urgency". Celtics fans heard that enough last season to last a lifetime. And oh yeah, let's not forget "bored with the regular season", something Doc Rivers also alluded to after Friday night's loss.

Old habits die hard.

If you think Rivers ripped into his team after the game, think again. The only message given to the players was the time of practice on Saturday - 12:30. He'll let the rest sink in over night.

As for the rest of the season, that's on the players. Rivers says that for things to change they have to be honest with themselves - he's right. They certainly talk a good game, maybe the best in the league, but if they play the way they have the last two games it won't matter what seed they get - they're first round exits.

And if that happens, Danny Ainge will take no prisoners.

But it doesn't have to end like that. It wasn't built to. The Celtics need to get back to what brought them so much success.

Ultimately, it's Ubuntu, and for the Celtics it's time to practice what they preach.

Enough talking about it.

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