In the wake of many questioning the overall effort the Boston Celtics have put on the floor from time to time in the preseason, you would think that Celtics brass would be advising all players to be more aggressive.
That does not hold true for one player, however: 12-year veteran Gerald Wallace.
After Sunday’s 15-point loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, Wallace had some select words for his teammates in regards to the overall effort he saw.
"If we lose every game, if we lose all 82 games, but we lose them going down fighting and competing hard, then I can live with that,” Wallace said. “I just can’t live with losing if we didn’t compete [Sunday], we didn’t give our best effort, and we just gave the game away.”
Since Wallace has made the comments he has been advised to tone it down.
“I’m getting fussed at by the coaches, they're trying to tell me to relax and ease up, but the main thing is, I want the guys to compete," Wallace said.
First-year head Coach Brad Stevens said after the comments that Wallace was simply echoing a major theme discussed in the locker room after the game, and that he has no problem so long as the team moves on in unison.
Keith Bogans, who has played with Wallace now for a total of five seasons on three different squads, talked about his comments in context.
"[Wallace is] going to give 110 percent every night,” Bogans said. “It’s kinda hard to match his intensity every night, but at least he wants you to give what he’s giving. And if he doesn’t see it, it’s going to make him upset."
Wallace wasn’t the only Celtic who noticed the lack of effort on occasion.
"If you look at that preseason game, especially against a team like that, there’s no reason that they should look like they’re playing harder than us," said Kris Humphries. "They’re getting balls, or we’re not getting back on defense. Everyone can see it. It’s not a bad thing that [Wallace] talks about it because we’ve got to be accountable."
The events of Wallace calling for more effort has, of course, come only days after he deemed Boston a “sleeper” playoff team. Still, he says maximum effort will be key if they are to have success.
“We’ve got to do things hard for 48 minutes,” Wallace said. “We don’t have the luxury of being able to take a quarter off or take five minutes off.”