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Danny Ainge isn't overreacting to Boston's recent struggles.Quick hits following Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge's weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI.
On whether he was concerned after losing to Cleveland Tuesday: "Not at all. The Detroit game did, but the Cleveland game, I thought our guys did play well. I thought offensively in the third and fourth quarter we struggled. We couldn't make a shot. I think our big-time scorers really struggled making shots, they had many opportunities, and it was just one of those nights that nothing could go right. But as far as effort and approach to the game, I didn't think that was a factor in our loss to Cleveland."
On whether he received calls from other GMs following Doc Rivers' criticism of the team on Sunday: "Well, fortunately most of the general managers have coaches on their staffs and have been in the business long enough that that's the nature of our sport, is there's a lot of ups and downs, and (I) did not get any calls the next day and I didn't expect to get any. I think that Doc was at a frustrated point. I mean, he just was very, very disappointed with the effort and the commitment to winning, and that was a disappointing game. We've had those every year and unfortunately we'll probably have a few more of those before the year's out. But it was tough taking steps back after we felt like we were over the hump with that kind of an effort."
On whether changes need to be made to the roster: "Well the only thing I'll say is what I've said the last three or four weeks, is that this is not new. This is not -- we were 27-27 two years ago and went to the Finals. We keep harping on this, but these things are not new things that we're going through right now. And so, I guess that time will tell, but I'm hoping that we can turn it around. I mean, we have three very difficult games now. We had a lighter part of our schedule. It seems like our players always seem to -- it doesn't mean we always win all the big games -- but our effort level and our commitment level seems to shine a little bit more when a team like New York is coming to the Boston Garden on national TV. So, we'll see. And then we've got a back-to-back with Atlanta tomorrow and then Miami at home on Sunday afternoon. So, our schedule is packed and we'll see how our guys respond."
On this team showing similarities to the regular season struggles of past teams: "Ultimately, the players need to step up. It's not one player, it's not two players, and it's not new players. It's all of the players. They need to get together...And so the question that I have about our team is do they believe that they can win? Do they believe in each other enough to go out there and compete and to have the resolve when things don't go right? Because even when you're trying, even when you're playing really hard defense, there are moments of games where you can't stop somebody. The NBA is tough. Guys are making shots and tough shots and you can't take away everything. So, do you have the resolve to make a commitment again at halftime and the beginning of the fourth quarter again to keep fighting and try to stay together? That's what this team has shown to me in the playoffs, but they have not shown it to me consistently in the regular season."
On this team disregarding the regular season and waiting for the playoffs: "You know, I hope not and you'd think that they would learn after losing Game 7s in back-to-back years to the eventual NBA champions, that regular season games do matter more and it is worth it to fight. But our guys, like I said, it's hard to find guys who can play as capable as our guys have played in the playoffs the last few years. But we have not played as consistently and as passionately as Doc would like, so Doc is frustrated, has been frustrated. But Doc is so resilient and has so much resolve. I mean, he bounces back quick. And I know he believes in these individual players, but I know that he'll make some changes probably and try some new things and I know that he's racking his brains, spending a lot of time in the film room trying to make that happen."
On whether he likes his current roster: "Well, so, we're always looking to improve the team. I know that that sounds cliche, but we don't need to make changes. That's like the most-used word in our society that doesn't make sense. We want to make progress. But we don't want to make change for change's sake. We want to do what will make our team better, and we'll always look to do that."
On what he expects when the Celtics and Knicks meet Thursday: "I think it'll be a fun and exciting game. There's a lot of hype around the incident in New York. I think that was like the most over-investigated incident in NBA history. But, I think that it'll be a good basketball game."