Consider this the "We just suffered our first tough loss of the season, but let's not overreact" post. Was last night disappointing? Definitely. Frustrating? Absolutely. Realistically, should the Celtics have won last night's game and stand at 2-0? You bet. But they didn't, and so they stand at 1-1. We all know it's a looooong season. Even longer than the second Anthony Parker was granted to get that three-pointer off last night. So let's not freak out completely just yet.
I don't think last night's loss, in any way, means this team is diverting down the path it took last season. We can't say that after just one loss. It had the makings of a perfect trap game. The C's were coming off an emotional win in perhaps the most hyped-up opening game of any NBA season ever. The Cavaliers, and every fan in the arena, were poised to rally around the idea of "no more LeBron" (seriously, did the Cavaliers play like a team wallowing in self-pity because LeBron wasn't around?). And it was the second night of a back-to-back against a team with guys who'll scrap for every point they score. It was a bad loss, but bad losses have always happened (not just during last season). Remember when the Celtics lost back-to-back games to the Washington Wizards during the championship season? Or when they fell to the Indiana Pacers in the third game of the season during the 2008-2009 campaign? Should I point out that the Celtics started 27-2 that season?
Was effort a factor last night? It's certainly possible, and maybe even probable. I wouldn't rule out fatigue entirely. The 3-12 shooting from three-point nation might suggest fatigue more than effort, but, in my opinion, execution was the biggest issue, both offensively and defensively. The 19 turnovers were the gaping flaw, closely followed by the three-point woes. I mean, last year during the regular season (still an anomaly in my opinion), and even in the postseason, didn't the team struggle the most when it turned the ball over too often and failed to hit its three-point field goals (the other issue was rebounding of course)? But turnovers are nothing new for this core of players. We've been talking about turnovers since Garnett, Pierce, and Allen united. It's not like last season was the first time turnovers plagued this group. And if those two things happen against a subpar opponent (like in last night's game), it's not outlandish to think that that opponent will stand a fighting chance. If Ray Allen hits that three-point field goal from the left wing with 58 seconds left and ties the game at 89, unleashing an entirely new ending that results in a Celtics win, we're sitting here much calmer. Some shots just didn't fall. It happens. Bad losses always wreak havoc with our emotions.
I'm sure the nightmare that was last season is still hanging over us somewhat, and last night brought back some bad memories. But I say we let this team play more than just two games before we deem it 2009-2010 all over again. Bring on the Knicks.