Bring out the stethoscope again, Danny Ainge - your team may lack heart
Ainge did just that prior to Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals versus the Los Angeles Lakers. But before that, Boston got trounced by LA in Game 3, and Larry Bird called out his team for being sissies (quotes from Larry Bird from the book, Hoop Lore, A history of the National Basketball Association by Connie Hirchberg):
Celtics "played like a bunch of sissies"
"I know the heart and soul of this team, and today the heart wasn't there, that's for sure. I can't believe a team like this would let LA come out and push us around like they did."
When asked what was needed, Bird replied, "Twelve heart transplants"
Game 4 featured the legendary clothes-lining of the Lakers Kurt Rambis by Kevin McHale, Bird's butt-check of Michael Cooper off the court and the confrontation between Larry and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The Celtics took Game 4 in overtime. The hearts were always there, but the guys just needed a jolt to get their tickers beating at the right rhythm and strength. The Birdman obliged. Take a minute to watch the heated action.
The Celts loss to the Nets was heart-rending. Do The Green need another heart-check from Ainge? That's what he did prior to this game. Watch for my article.— Tom Lane (@CelticsSentinel) March 4, 2020
1984 NBA Finals Game 4: Celtics at Lakers (McHale clotheslines Rambis) L... https://t.co/yU2GN6fFqS via @YouTube
Danny was ready just ahead of Game 7. He brought a stethoscope into the locker room and did a heart check on his teammates, and his team took Game 7 and the Championship.
Danny Ainge was rambunctious as a player, but as boss of such a storied franchise, he needs to be somewhat restrained. Likewise for Brad Stevens. But their players need a leader that exerts himself physically and emotionally, and that guy appears to be Marcus Smart. Marcus may get fined, or even suspended for his outburst towards the officials last night, but I support his actions. Bird talked about "twelve heart transplants" and allowing the Lakers to "push US around". He included himself in the blame. That is leadership.
Don't wait for Smart to start pointing fingers. Won't happen. But he always tries to light a fire under himself and his compadres. He is the unofficial captain of The Green, and a legitimate candidate for Defensive-Player-of-the-Year. And he will be the defibrillator that restores a strong heartbeat to a Celtics team that only needs a bit of a jolt to get it back on track.
Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel, @CausewayStreet