Let's kick this off with some quotes from the team:
"You lose, you lose. They kicked our [butts] tonight, period- point blank. Players have to do more, including myself, we all have to dig deep and see what we're made of as a team."
"I think sometimes we don't respect guys like we should. We give them an open shot, uncontested. I just feel like we need to take more pride in the defensive end than we do in the offensive end." - "How many wake up calls are we going to get? We got a lot of them to be honest with you."
"I felt as though at some points in the game they had more energy than us and it looked like they just wanted it more than we did at certain points in the game."
So what faces belong to these quotes?
Respectively: Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed Wallace.
It was halfway February in the year 2010, when these words were uttered. They came on the back of a 104 - 96 loss to the at that time league-worst New Jersey Nets. Their 5 - 52 record stood in stark contrast to our 36 - 20. These Nets came into the season with an all-time record 19 losses. We made it to the finals, after going into the playoffs ranked 4th in the east with 50 wins. The Nets ended up dead last in the league with just 12 wins. Yet, we lost.
Of course, giving the Pistons their second win 11 games into the season hurts - especially when the Celtics play uninspired basketball. On nights like that, Rajon Rondo's epic streak does nothing but add contrast to the depth to our failure. Even the faint glow of what might be a diamond in the rough in Jared Sullinger is suppressed by the darkness that fell over the palace during last night's game.
But in the end, they are still those same old Celtics. It might be a bit of a roller-coaster at times, but they won't drop below .500 for too long while KG, Pierce and Rondo are still around. This is a long season, and between all the rookies and not-yet-jelling pro's, there's plenty of improvement to be had.
More importantly, 71 games is more than enough to round us into playoff form.
Bring on the Spurs!