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Courtney Lee Unhappy About Brad Stevens’ Player Rotation Following Loss to Washington Wizards

December 22nd, 2013 at 11:53 AM
By Sean Melia

The tenor in the Boston Celtics locker room has been rather placid over the course of the season. Losses and wins are met with equal enthusiasm, or lack there of. The players, in most cases, have taken on the attitude of their coach. The process is often more important than the final result. 

'Courtney Lee' photo (c) 2013, scott mecum - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

The result on Saturday afternoon was unfortunate for the Celtics. They lost 106-99. The score does not tell the whole story. The Celtics started off hot in the first quarter. Staking a 30-14 lead. The Washington Wizards controlled the rest of the game, erasing the deficit numerous times as they would pull close only to have the Celtics pull away again. In the end, the cream rose to the top and an unbelievable shooting effort from Avery Bradley, especially during a three possession stretch in the fourth quarter when he was clearly the only scoring threat, running off of screens and hitting long jumpers.

On an unseasonably warm afternoon in Boston, Courtney Lee found himself running rather hot following the game. He was upset he did not see the floor in the second half. A second half when the Wizards slowly melted away the Celtics lead. 

A. Sherrod Blakely reported some rather harsh words from Lee in his post-game interview: Lee Frustrated with Playing Time vs. Wizards

Lee outwardly challenged Stevens handling of the rotation, not just in Saturday's game, but in other situations this season:

Are you going to be consistent with what you do? If you're gonna stick to a time subbing pattern that you make before the game and not go off how the game's going? Or are you going to go off of how the game is going? I don't know."

This marks the first time that a player has challenged Stevens' coaching publicly. Gerald Wallace, during preseason and early in the regular season, had a lot to say about his teammates' effort on the floor. That attitude was nipped in the bud rather quickly and we have not heard much from Wallace since. 

Now, Lee is speaking up in defiance of his coach. Asking about his decisions regarding the rotation. Lee's comments also seemed very selfish (something Wallace had complained about in his statements earlier in this season).

I give credit to Avery. He had it going. So it made sense to leave him in while he's going. But what I'm saying in the same sense, there were games when I had it going and I came out of the game.

Clearly, Lee is looking for a bit more respect for his scoring ability. Last season Lee struggled and many thought part of that was because his confidence was so low. Rivers slowly phased him out of the rotation, and many hoped that Stevens would instill more confidence. Lee has been playing well in the time he has been given. However, this could be a tipping point for him. If he continues to feel that Stevens does not trust him, then Lee could slowly lose his confidence. That would make him both a less valuable trade chip and also a less valuable part of this Celtics team.

Stevens handled the Wallace issue pretty well (or we have to assume he did because Wallace stopped his complaining), now we will see what happens with Lee. Was it a isolated issue, or will this now be a trend. Losses can wear on players that do not play because they are watching and imagine that they can indeed help the team's cause. It's a emotion for Lee to have. Let's just hope it does not affect the his overall attitude.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS:

 

Tags: A. Sherrod Blakely, Avery Bradley, Basketball, Boston, Boston Celtics, Courtney Lee, gerald wallace, NBA, Stevens, washington wizards

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