Celtics Have Own ‘Uh-0’ Problems

Doc Rivers doesn’t see the urgency yet, which might sound like some of the reassurances emanating from the West Coast – no need to panic, Lakers faithful.

Except that Rivers was referring to the urgency in the eyes and body language of his Boston Celtics.

While the Lakers’ 0-3 start generated tremors throughout southern California, the Celtics’ 0-2 mark – thanks to their 99-88 loss in their home opener Friday, their second double-digit spanking in as many tries – stayed a little below the radar. Make that off the Doppler, what with chaos of Hurricane Sandy out East.

But the Celtics never managed to turn some swirling emotions in the Miami Heat players against them on ring-ceremony night Tuesday. And they underachieved on a grander scale in losing to the visiting Bucks.

The last time Boston lost a home opener (November 2006), Kevin Garnett still was a Timberwolf and Ray Allen, a SuperSonic, was getting booed for less personal reasons.

“I don’t see the urgency yet,” Rivers said. “When you make this many changes, I think our guys have to understand you have to invest into the team to become a team. And I don’t think we’ve done that yet.”

Boston’s starting lineup has been altered again, with Courtney Lee holding the place of shoulder-rehabbing Avery Bradley. Its bench has been overhauled with more than a half dozen new (intended) contributors. Both units got outscored by their Milwaukee counterparts.

Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, who didn’t get a contract extension by Wednesday night’s deadline, went mini-James Harden on the Celtics, the chip on his shoulder carrying him to 21 points, 13 assists and six steals. His matchup, Rajon Rondo, had 14 ponts and 11 assists but was a minus-14 in his 40-plus minutes on the court.

Here people are, expecting the Lakers of Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to gel as swiftly as the 2007-08 Celtics. And the 2012-13 Celtics can’t even match their former selves. Their coach noticed, too:

“I wasn’t worried about the score,” Rivers said. “I was coaching a lot of things. I was trying to get us to be consistent in some of our coverages defensively, which we really never did. I was, in timeouts, saying, ‘Three passes,’ which I haven’t had to say in five years probably. ‘Just make three passes, please.’

“And then I was starting to look at minutes, because I’m fully aware we play tomorrow.”

That would be tonight in Washington, where the 0-1 Wizards have a real opportunity – or their task got harder against an increasingly urgent Celtics squad.

Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980.


  1. Honestly says:

    Coming from a lifetime NYK fan, BOS should trade 3 future 1st Rd draft picks for JOSH SMITH.
    I would love to see RONDO have someone he can lob to at any given time.
    I honestly don’t see why they don’t hound ATL to make this happen.
    It wasn’t too long ago that he was requesting a trade from ATL.

  2. Tore says:

    People need to calm down! Theres so many games left its absurd to go all crazy now. Celtics will find their connection soon, and so will Lakers. Then we will see some good games. GO CELTICS!

  3. macubexx says:

    everybody talking about time to gel.. now if that’s the case.. then that’s also true with everybody… I mean, all team are figuring out yet they’re losing.. it’s not like the celtics or the lakers are the only teams that are figuring out how to gel.. their’s only ONE team that gets the W every night… don’t talk no more.. Lose is a Lose no matter how you put it… it doesn’t change..

  4. KG21 says:

    Don’t lose hope. The Bucks experience is an eye opener for the team. Should be fine for todays game and the games to come.

  5. piusco says:

    that is not true guys.

  6. kevin nicholls INDIANAPOLIS says:

    The Lakers and Celtics time is up, there be in the playoffs but other teams are getting better and more athletic, Neither team can beat Miami or Thunder or Spurs in 7 game series.

  7. Reg says:

    The celtics have championship aspirations just like the lakers do. Some fans may not believe it but us celtic fans do.

  8. mReXpert says:

    in my opinion, Mike Brown is the problem, is he supposed to be good at defense? i didn’t see any good defense this year, and why did he pick prinston offense? let Nash play like Fisher style… why do u even get Nash if you are not gonna let him do what he does best – dribble the ball n find open teamates. The solution is Coach Jackson or Coach Pop which is not gonna happen

  9. Karlo Garcia says:

    I was kind of surprised that the Bucks beat the Celtics.

  10. David says:

    Smith is right about Doc Rivers having to decide what to do in terms of defining Garnett’s role and his side-kick in the frontcourt. Plus, the backcourt was doing terrible on defense all game, c’mon, Ray Allen isn’t better on that end than Lee or Terry, talk with each other and put some effort into it! Pierce also had a terrible night. Really a bad game overall.

  11. Kamote says:

    The C’s are going to be OK. Right now, the reigns of letting Rondo carry the team is in full throttle. Doc is just trying to study on having the best combinations on certain situations. I’d be happy if KG and Pierce aren’t playing 30+ minutes right now and just let the new and young ones get the rhythm of Doc’s system. Remember that the C’s aren’t the top of the East when they challenged the Lakers in the finals in 2010. It takes time, and now they have a full year to play, Boston will be there gunning for the ring in June 🙂

  12. Jintan says:

    Spurs are Always a contender in the west as long as Popovich and Duncan are there. Duncan may not have the best stats atm but he’s the best leader a team can possibly have.

  13. DontEVERClickHis name says:

    Fav to contend in west are spurs.. I think the clips will look better than the thunder this year nit just bcoz of the harden trade bt bcoz of the chemistry they built… Deandre breakthrough’s this season…

  14. DontEVERClickHis name says:

    Lal, they will be in the west finals… Boston.. In the east finals… After all star break…. The lal and celts will be favorites to contend with MIAMI..

  15. Mr Director says:

    Don’t throw the ball in to KG if he is already crowded defensively. If two or three guys is on him. Somebody is open. Find the open man. Thats basketball 101!! We forced it in to KG too much in the Miami game and KG looked lost. The transition defense was horrible!! When you get back on defense just look around a little to see if they are pushing the ball. You could be getting steals. Miami didn’t cheat, they just played ball. They were sharper because they didnt have to change much. GO CELTICS!! The Lakers need to find a better backup point guard. The Lakers don’t need to force an offense on Nash that will POSSIBLY work. Yall finally got a GREAT point guard. Use his talents, don’t hold him down. Put the ball in his hands. If Nash and Howard are used to a pick & roll offense why go away from that?? You think Kobe and Gasol can’t work within a pick and roll offense?? Please!! USE TEAM STRENGTHS!! I LOVE THIS GAME!!

  16. Kingk says:

    just the begining of the season, no need to worry, but these “elite” teams need to get it together.(mia, bos, lal)

  17. praxisprism says:

    Difference is the Celtics do not have the expectation the Lakers do this year. Most don’t see them as contenders right now, while the Lakers were supposed to be already finals ready. Not really a comparison here.

  18. amitpal says:

    People worry to fast. It takes time to gel. Now if they start 0 and 10 then u can start worring but right now just give them some and they will be fine. Same goes for the lakers. They have new guys learning to fit in. Not everyone comes in as smoothly as the 08 boston did or james harden did. It will take time.

    • Bird33 says:

      Well said. And as we all know, veterans live for the playoffs (sadly) – the regular season is sometimes viewed as the “pain in the a _ _” process needed to find out who you play in round 1 and where is the first game is going to be held. The guys will gel as will the Lakers (unless the princeton offense really is the problem) and hopefully we’ll be head to head with our long standing foe in June 2013 (after sending the Miami Hate – not a mispelling – home) and raising #18 next Oct/early Nov.

    • uoykcuf says:

      If you count the preseason, lakers lost 0-11. How about that?

      • Carl says:

        Dwight Howard hasn’t played basketball in SIX MONTHS. Steve Nash JUST GOT HERE. It will take time. Chemistry comes with time.

    • Mr Director says:

      I agree. It’s just the start of the season. No one has even played five games yet. We have 82 games in total. We need to get our team chemistry as perfect as possible. Talent is not the only thing you need to win. Players and even coaches sometimes forget about adding skills, experience, and toughness to a team. Think about players who have to play new positions or understand new philosophies, new offenses and defenses or being part of a new core. No team is going to automatically win all their games all because they have talented players, even Miami & OKC. Miami is running the same offense as last year so they added shooters to fit their drive & kick. It will be easier for them. Changing from Ray Allen to Courtney Lee is different because Lee really isnt a shooter. Jason Terry would fit the offense better because he is a catch and shoot player like Ray. Sometimes a coach has to get away from the offense, or TWEAK the offense a little and ADAPT to the talents of the team. I suggest a RUN & GUN type of offense for the Celtics. Get out on the break, rebound and run. I thought that was the reason we got Lee in the first place so he can run with Rondo, since this is Rondo’s team now. It would be the same if Avery Bradley was there because Avery isn’t a shooter either. Courtney and Avery are ATTACKERS so ATTACK!! When we get to our half court offense then we can use some of those sets, but at times you have to not overthink the game and just go and FIGHT!! You have to bring talent together to work on a consistent basis and sometimes the only thing that will fix that is TIME!! GO CELTICS!! YOU HAVE TO FIGHT WITH A WINNING ATTITUDE TO HAVE A WINNING TEAM!! THATS WITH ANY TEAM !! PS – Paul Pierce looks like he has lost weight and he looks better now than in 08′. VERY SHARP PIERCE!!