The Celtics lost their first two games and neither one was close. Last night was game 3 and the Wizards were missing John Wall and Nene and they still managed to push the Celtics to a mere one point victory. That's not exactly the kind of fast start that you'd like to see from your team that is supposed to be a contender for at least one more year.
Jason Terry wrote in a diary for ESPN about this and talks a little about the slow start.
The first two games were some of those speed bumps. It takes time to jell as a team. Preseason is one thing, but when you talk about regular-season basketball, we're competing at the highest level. We're playing against teams like Miami. The Heat are the champions, and the core of that team has been together and had two full seasons for the most part. They're going to know each other very well, while we're still trying to figure it out. We're going to struggle in a situation like that. I think we did struggle a little bit to start the season. But, like I said, we're very optimistic. We know our ceiling is very high with our expectations. We know if we continue to grow at a steady pace, then we'll be clicking at the right time, which is what we want.
Hopefully that is all that this is. Taking some time to get to know each other and learn the defensive fundamentals. The Lakers are going through their own growing pains with all the fresh faces that they have, but nobody is writing them off. The Heat struggled early in the year a couple of years ago when they added LeBron and Bosh. The Celtics still have a core of Rondo, Pierce, and Garnett, but not having Ray running around changes things. Adding new faces like Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, and Jason Terry certainly changes things as well.
It is still painfully early in the year, and way too early to judge a team. In years past I've promoted a 20 game rule where you are encouraged to give your team 20 games before really judging how well they are doing. It just promotes a longer term vision for the team and lowers the swinging emotions that can come from reacting to one big win or loss.
I still think this team will be a contender once they get more familiar with each other. Time and patience are needed for now. (Of course if they are still struggling 17 games from now, then it is time to panic and fired up the trade machine ideas!)