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This one’s for you, Doc

June 12, 2010

This one’s for you, Doc.

As a fan, I have criticized so many of your decisions about rotations. Not who starts, not even necessarily who finishes, but all of those minutes found between the first nine minutes and the final eight minutes. I have ragged on you so many times for taking out players that are playing well, or even worse, putting in guys that are not playing well.

Yeah, so about that… I am sorry, Doc.

Last night, in game 4 of the NBA Finals, you stuck with the bench. You stuck with the reserves. You stuck with the Green Team. You stuck with what Pat Conroy would have called the “Green Weenies” because they were doing two things at the same time: making stops and scoring the ball.

Thank you for not only seeing this, but for doing something about it. You cannot find louder praise than this voice right here for your management of personalities on his team, your ability to draw up brilliantly beautiful out-of-bounds plays, or your sixth sense for crafting near fool-proof gameplan against stronger and more talented opponents: your understanding of how to take advantage of certain match-ups and exploit teams’ weaknesses is second to none. But I have endured countless ulcers due to your bench management. This is often when games are won and lost: you either break up the flow or inject the much needed catalyst into the game.

I don’t need to get into the staggering and surprising play of both Glen Davis and Nate Robinson because everyone knows about it. But man oh man, leaving the reserves in for nearly 9 minutes in the final quarter of such a crucial game was both refreshing for us fans and empowering for theSe players. The Lakers may or may not have an answer forthright Celtics bench, or neither Davis nor Robinson may show up in he next game… But you have given a clear message to everyone on your bench: you play well, you get minutes. The underlying message, however, is equally as important. The Celtics care about one thing, and that one thing is whatever it takes to win a game in the Finals. And you have done a flat out kick ass job, Doc, of selling that idea to your entire team.

It is crazy to think you left nearly $40 million worth of goods on your bench in Pierce and Garnett, but you did your job well even if they were not doing theirs.

It is sort of like when a player is cold all game, then hits the go-ahead bucket to go give his team a win. You have struggled with your lineups for so long (there’s no hiding that), but you got this one right.

So yes, my apologies to you, Doc.
I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.

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