In the wake of a game that saw Rajon Rondo ejected (and his assist streak end at 37 games), Rivers pointedly called the team “soft” in his postgame comments. Rivers even seemed to specifically refer to Rondo’s actions, saying “that stuff’s not toughness.”
Actually, “soft” was a word that was thrown around a lot, as Jason Terry used the word to describe former teammate Kris Humphries, whose hard foul on Kevin Garnett prompted Rondo to come after him — deservedly or not.
After the dust settled, Rondo, Humphries and Nets forward Gerald Wallace were all ejected, and Rondo was suspended for two games by the NBA.
Now, the Celtics will have to battle without their point guard for a couple of matchups. The way the Celtics have been playing lately, that won’t be easy. They rank last in the NBA in rebounding, and their offensive rebounding, which has never been a focus for Rivers, has been embarrassing for Boston.
Rivers is a man who chooses his words carefully, so maybe throwing around the “soft” label will motivate his team to show some more mettle and the right kind of fight.
Time will tell.