A common thing you'll see in young teams is inconsistency. In the first game of the season the Celtics looked amazing. They were the exact opposite in the 2nd game. They were a little bit of both in the 3rd game.
The second half comeback was impressive, but it wouldn't have been necessary if it wasn't for the putrid first half.
Stevens said his halftime spiel to the team was succinct. "I said, 'You have to play,' " he recalled. "You can't start that way. You can't start that way versus anybody. You can't start that way versus the best offense in the league. And they had it rolling, they had it moving, and it was like one team was playing five-on-zero in the first half."
The team was rightfully upset about they way they played, but thankfully they didn't give up. They fought all the way back to within 1 point.
"It’s like getting punched in the mouth," Green said. "Once you get punched in the mouth you tend to wake up a little bit and start to play a little harder. The last two games, it’s been that. Houston and Dallas both came out and punched us in the mouth, and we woke up in the second half. We have to be the aggressors. We can’t allow teams to jump on us like that."
As you might expect, the way they fought back was mostly through hard nosed defense.
Stevens implored his team to "just go play" and that included having the team's three-guard lineup of Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley and Marcus Smart ratchet up the backcourt pressure for much of the second half. Sparked by their defense, especially that of rookie Smart, the Celtics trimmed 14 points off their deficit in the third quarter and surged within a point in the final minute only to have the Mavs fend off their charge in a 118-113 loss.
Let's hope that they take care of the ball better and get off to a better start in the next game. They learned another hard lesson last night. That's another mark of young teams. They learn and get better.