Larry Bird calls the Pacers "soft", proceeds to spell "soft" correctly
Larry Bird, the Pacers team President and former Pacers coach, was clearly disappointed in the team after Tuesday night's 115-83 loss to the Miami Heat. Bird is coming down hard with the concern that his Indiana team is soft.
"I can’t believe my team went soft," Bird told the Indianapolis Star, just after Tuesday night's Game 5 shellacking. "S-O-F-T. I’m disappointed. I never thought it would happen."
"That’s all I have to say," Bird flustered.
Unlike most front office suits, Larry Bird has the moral authority to say things like this. Bird is the only man on earth who has been the NBA's Most Valuable Player, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year.
Remember that Bird has used this tactic successfully in the past. When his Boston Celtics lost an NBA Finals game to the Lakers by 33 points, Bird told the reporters, "We played like sissies." When asked what it would take to fix his Celtics team, Bird said, "Twelve heart transplants."
The fire under their rear ends lit, those Celtics went on the beat the Lakers in seven games and win the NBA title.
Tuesday's Heat-Pacers game was an exceptionally hard-fouling affair, with multiple flagrant-1s that could easily have been called flagrant-2s. Bird did not like that his own team was typically on the receiving end of the business.
"I agree with his assessment. We did play soft," Pacers forward Danny Granger said Wednesday. "We got smacked around. We got beat up, we got bullied, and we really didn't respond well."
"I've been with Larry since I've been in Indiana for seven years,'' Granger continued. ''He's not been one to hold his tongue, and 99 percent of the time what he's saying is right. I think he just called out what everyone else saw. We played a soft game. We didn't play with the playoff intensity that we needed to win."
The series resumes Thursday night with Game 6 at 8 p.m. EDT in Indianapolis.