What kind of team is this? How good are they really? The only substantial information we have to go on so far is the 11 games that have been played so far. Everything else is based on historical information, forecasting ahead, and a little bit of faith.
If faith is the belief in things unseen, then the good Doctor is sounding more like a preacher these days.
One might feel it could only help the Celtics’ confidence to beat a team as good as the Spurs or Thunder. One might believe it would lend some hard evidence to the glorious expectations that carried the lads into this campaign. But Rivers isn’t buying that, either. "I think we know," he said. "I think we believe. I really do. I think it’ll help everybody else, but, for us, I think our guys know that we’re going to be really good by the end of all of this."
It really is more important to finish the year right than to start it right. It helps to have a good early season. It is nice to win "big" games against contending teams (Bulpett points out that the Celtics are 1-4 against teams with better than .500 records and 5-1 against struggling teams). But at the end of the season, all the wins and losses count the same and you start over in the playoffs against whomever you draw in the first round.
Remember that we heard the same words of believing in the team back in 2010 when the calls to break up the band were louder than a rock concert. We heard the same confidence from Doc last year when the team stumbled out of the gate. The team came together and finished strong in the playoffs (before coming up short in the end) on both occasions.
Count me as an overly optimistic sort if you like, but I am not going to question Doc or doubt what this team is capable of.
Could things fall apart? Sure they could. Eventually Pierce and Garnett are just going to be too old to do it anymore. At some point a few months from now Danny has to evaluate his team and determine if he should make a win-now move or perhaps a look-to-the-future move (hopefully without sacrificing the now). Or maybe, just maybe, he'll look at the team and believe in them enough to let the season run its course.
Doc believes in this team. Maybe that's enough.