We have only ourselves to blame. We allowed ourselves to be pumped up by statistical models predicting the Celtics to win 50 plus games. We were lulled into a false sense of accomplishment by a 4-1 preseason record. We convinced ourselves that Brad Stevens could make Thanksgiving Dinner without a turkey.
Now don't get me wrong, it really is still early and way too soon to make dire judgments. We've only completed 4.8% of the regular season. One of our losses was against the still-undefeated Raptors and another one was against the immortal Spurs. Yes, last night's loss smarts a bit more because the Pacers are a beatable team, but it was down to the wire and could have gone either way. So all is not lost after 4 games.
But it isn't great either. There are concerns and complaints that are completely legit to voice at this point. We've already had our first shakeup of the starting lineup. There's been so little separation in the rotation that last night Brad Stevens used all 12 active players ...in the first half! If you had told me 10 days ago that Sully would be starting and Zeller would effectively be benched, I would have told you to get your Delorean checked for bugs.
It is great that Isaiah Thomas has picked up where he left off last year. He looks great but he needs some help. We need someone on the team to step up beside him and carry some of the load on a consistent basis. Marcus Smart was banged up last night so he couldn't do it. Avery Bradley did his best but he's really more of a support player. Same could be said for most of the roster at this point. Which is exactly what the experts have been saying about regarding the Celtics all offseason long.
In the long term everything is still going according to plan. The Celtics are not supposed to be contenders this season. They are supposed to be competitive and hopefully make the playoffs and try to win a playoff series. But all of that is secondary to developing talent - which is going to take time an patience. Something that is in shorter supply now that expectations have been raised.
Still, this season is not lost by any means. This team can still mesh together and do great things this year. Perhaps as the season wears on and other teams wear down, the Celtics depth will be a larger advantage. On any given day the team can win against anyone. They can also lose against just about anyone.
Coach Brad Stevens likes to talk about margin of error. I think that's what were seeing early on. Against the Sixers there was a large margin of error. The Celtics could play less than perfect (like they did early in the game) and still manage an easy victory. Against the Raptors and Spurs, there was very little margin of error and the result was unsurprising. The Pacers provided a better chance at victory but on any given day the ball is going to bounce a certain way and the other team will get what they need out of their players to get the win that day.
If a layup or two had bounced in last night, we could be looking at a 2-2 record. If a few more "breaks of the game" had gone our way, we might even have a 3-1 record this morning and we'd have a completely different outlook on things. But they didn't and here we are wondering if we might have been a little overzealous in our expectations headed into the season. That's the kind of uncertainty you get with small sample sizes.
I don't have any hot take opinions or easy fix solutions for you though. The old adage still applies. Time will tell.
But hey, while we wait, we can at least glory in the Brooklyn Nets' 0-5 record!