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Boston Celtics start the season with two strikes against them

Forgive the baseball analogy, but it is October after all.

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics are rebuilding and even at full strength in normal circumstances they don't have a roster to compete for a Championship anymore.  Heading into the season they have two other obstacles to overcome.  A tough November schedule and the absence of their best player, Rajon Rondo.

Regarding the schedule, Stevens is trying to downplay it somewhat.  He quoted Larry Bird's famous "41 home, 41 away, yup, looks right to me."  Still, he understands that it is a challenge.

Brad Stevens, Boston Celtics understand November schedule brings a brutal stretch of games | masslive.com

"No I don’t (worry about the calendar)," said Stevens. "I know the calendar and I know big picture what we want to do with our team, with regard to rest. So no, I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about it. But we do plan for it, and we need to plan for it. You talk around our office, the guys that have been in the NBA, November’s as challenging as some of those guys have seen."

Eventually help will be on the way.  Rajon, as Steve Bulpett points out, changes absolutely everything.

C’s wait a-Rondo | Boston Herald

"He raises all ships," said coach Brad Stevens, who is trying to get a gauge on this whole NBA thing as well as his own team. "Everybody should be a little bit better when he’s in. "So a little bit of the quandary right now is that we’ve got a lot of guys that are playing pretty well and doing a lot of good things — and you know that there’s some light at the end of the tunnel because you’ve got one of the better point guards in the league just standing over there."

I like that like "he raises all ships."  I'm looking forward to seeing this team with him on the court.  Though at the same time I don't want him to rush back.  I want him fully healthy and yes, I admit a little part of me wants plenty of ping pong balls (though the rest of me isn't very excited about the journey there).

So it will be a long November.  ...and maybe December,... and, well, the whole year might be long but here's hoping that there will be a lot of baby steps forward as we go.  No wonder Brad Stevens is stressing process over goals.