The Boston Celtics certainly didn't look like the Boston Celtics in their home opener Friday night. They came out flat, never recovered, and didn't feel like a "team" just yet. The talent is there, but cohesiveness isn't.
Jason Terry sat his locker Friday night and answered every question that came his way.
He held himself and his team accountable for the way they played — or didn't play.
But that's not why Boston called Terry the day free agency began. They called him to anchor the bench, to be another veteran presence, and to help bring Banner 18 up to the rafters.
That's why Terry came, too. Through two games, though, we haven't seen the Terry — or the Celtics — that we expected. Hey, it's Game 2, we're not about to jump the gun or write the season off already.
Still, it's worth mentioning how flat the Celtics looked in their home opener. Here they are with a revamped lineup, talent from top to bottom, and in front of a home crowd that was last seen chanting "Let's go Celtics" down 20 points to the Heat in the postseason.
But with all that going for them, Brandon Jennings hit a three-pointer with 4:47 to play in the second quarter to put the Bucks up by 15 points. The Bucks never led by less than 13 until garbage time in the 4th quarter.
Some home opener that is…
"We just – I don’t see the urgency yet," Doc Rivers said after the 88-77 loss. "At times I think we thought we would show up, because we have a lot of players on the team, and that would mean we would win. And when you make this many changes, I think our guys have to understand you have to invest, invest into the team to become a team. And I don’t think we’ve done that yet. I think we will. I think guys are, their minds – their spirit is right; we’ve got to get the minds right too."
It's obvious that, on paper at least, the Celtics are a much more talented team than the Bucks. But all that does is make a team like the Bucks come out with something more to prove. The Celtics aren't entitled to anything. No team is going to lie down for them — quite the opposite actually. They'll need to match and at times outmatch that compete level.
Terry isn't making any excuses for the C's being "outworked", but also understands that this is only the beginning. The hope is that a couple losses — especially like the one against the Bucks — will pay dividends in the long run.
"That’s unacceptable obviously," Terry said of being outworked, "but [Saturday] is another opportunity for us. These are growing pains. This is what the NBA season, this is what the journey is all about. We are gonna look back at this and say one thing that we grew from it. It happens you know whether it’s injuries, whether it’s what we are going through right now. There’s always bumps in the road along your journey and you can look back and say okay we got through that, we persevered. We have a lot of new people, a lot of guys trying to get adjusted, trying to feel comfortable and familiar with each other. It’s gonna take a while, but to get outworked is definitely unacceptable."
You can see the uncertainty in guys like Terry and Jeff Green out on the court. Terry admitted that the team isn't familiar with each other out there yet. It's going to take a lot more practice. Until it clicks, Terry is keeping the right attitude.
"Stay positive, stay optimistic, it’s a long season," he said. "We’ve got a lot of talent in this room but we’ve got to stay together and it has to be on the defensive end first."
It is a long season, but never too early to win. The C's get another chance Saturday night, and with the sour taste of a loss to Milwaukee still in their mouthes, expect a different team this time.