WALTHAM — Like everyone else, Doc Rivers  has had his fill of his players saying they’re better than what they’ve been showing on the court of late.
‘I think when you have a veteran team, there are several pitfalls,” Rivers said following practice Monday. “One, you’re a veteran team. Two, we’ll turn it on. I don’t buy into that, never have. Three, leaning back on your past success. Your past success is no guarantee to future success. I think this team leans back too far on what they’ve done and we have to get to work on what we’re going to do and I think that’s what we have to do a better job of.’
[Click here  to hear Doc talk about his team.]
In the words of a famous football coach who coached the Patriots in the 1990s, ‘You are what your record says you are.’ For the Celtics , a 32-17 mark is good for third in the East behind Cleveland and Orlando.
He paraphrased Bill Parcells  for his players on Monday before, during and after a practice.
‘Enough with the talk,” Rivers said. “That’s basically it. I had a Conga line in my office today. That’s great, though. Guys want to do the right thing. I don’t think we have bad guys on our team, I know we don’t. But we have to do [right things]. All we keep talking, ‘You’re right and we’re going to do it,’ but we’re not doing it. That’s what we have to do.’
Monday was a good first step in a process that figures more like a grind as the team faces road games in the next two weeks against the Hornets, Lakers, Trail Blazers and Nuggets.
‘They responded with a great practice so that’s good,” Rivers said. “But we have to, we have to get back to work, that workman’s mentality. We have to get back to wanting to be the best defensive team in the NBA. We have to get back to executing better. We can’t just rely on guys coming back off injury. That has thrown us off a little bit because of lack of practice time and all that, but I think that’s becoming an excuse around here.
‘So we’re not going to allow that and we can’t allow that. And right now, I was just being honest, right now we’re not better than the Magic and we’re not better than the Lakers. That doesn’t mean we can’t be by the end of the year but at this point, right now, they’re better than us. If we’re trying to win a championship, that’s not good enough.’
Sunday’s nightmarish third quarter against Orlando that led to a costly 96-89 loss at the hands of the Magic was still fresh in the minds of players, coaches and staff on Monday.
‘It isn’t one glaring thing we’re not doing,” Rivers said. “We watched film today. There’s so many little things on both ends of the floor. When we need a stop, we’re not getting stops. When we need a basket, we’re not getting baskets. But it’s not as simple as I just said it. It’s execution things. It’s things we know we can do but we haven’t done them so that means we don’t know we can do them and we have to work on them.
‘We had a really good day today but we just have to keep working. One day isn’t going to turn anything around.’
Rivers believes the upcoming trip through New Orleans, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Portland and Denver is just what his struggling team needs right now.
‘I’m looking forward to this road trip,” he added. “I think we’ll know a lot about our team. I thought that earlier in the year, that this road trip will tell us a lot about who we really are. It’s a tough road trip. There are some tough teams on this road trip. I’m really looking forward to it.
‘You find yourself on the road, you don’t find yourself at home. You should win at home. But you’re forced to gather when you’re on the road. You’re on the buses, you’re on the planes. You go out to dinner as a group a lot. So, road trips in a lot of ways are good except for they’re tough games to win. I just think this is a good road trip for us, especially at this time, when we’re not playing well. I think when you’re not playing well, you need to be together. When you’re at home, you’re not together, you’re with your families. When you’re on the road, your team is your family.’
‘Glen’s always tough to deal with,” Rivers said. “It’s no different. When he gets going now, we just talk about LSU basketball, that shuts him up pretty quickly. But he’s happy, he should be. That’s a big win for that whole area, not just New Orleans. That’s a great win for them. That’s nice to see.’
LSU basketball, by the way, is 9-14 overall and 0-9 in SEC play this year. Sorry, Glen.