Scott Souza had a little article on his blog with Doc throwing some cold water on the celebration of the 40 point win over the Knicks.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers wasn’t about to feed into that with his team today. In a move straight out of Foxboro, Rivers did his best to douse the preseason crowning of his revamped squad following a 90-minute workout at HealthPoint.
“I was happy with a lot of things but we have a lot to work on,” he said about 14 hours removed from a 101-61 lambasting of New York at the Garden. “Obviously, you look at the score and you get caught up in that. I’m not. I’m not going to let them either. I told them that this morning.
“I said: ‘First of all, we’re 0-0. We haven’t won a game,’ ” he continued. “I told them we broke the rules on a ton of little things. We are not going to be a good team if we don’t do the little things.
“Even if that was a regular season game, and we won like that (I wouldn’t be satisfied),” he concluded. “If we break the rules that we broke yesterday when it is a big game, we couldn’t win that game.”
We can make a very good case to show that the Knicks are not a very good team. But, when you consider that the margin of victory was 40 and we had players on the floor in the 4th period who are most likely going to be cut, it kind of puts a little perspective on it. A decent team will beat a bad team by 20, and the margin of victory that the Celtics had shows more than just a bad opponent.
I can see Doc trying to keep his team grounded and not letting them get ahead of themselves. If he can do that all year, he will earn his money as a coach. One of the biggest dangers for this team, or any team for that matter, is that they would get complacent and take games for granted. But, seeing KG off the bench in the 4th quarter of the Knicks game, shouting instructions and encouragement to his teammates, I somehow don't see that happening. I don't believe that KG will ever get complacent and I don't think he will allow his teammates to either.
Putting Doc's comments aside, there have been plenty of others who aren't quite ready to give this team the championship quite yet. They cite the lack of a back up point guard, the inexperience of Rondo, and lack of depth at the center position as reasons for their doubts about the team. Those are legitimate questions that have to be answered. So far, Rondo has looked very good as the starting PG and House and Pruitt have been very capable as back ups. Pollard has yet to step on the court, but Leon Powe has done a good job as back up center, although 12 fouls may not be enough for Perk and Powe.
After watching this team for 4 games, and seeing them improve in each one, I am convinced that they are going to be contenders for the title this season. We haven't seen Tony Allen at his best yet and I believe that he isn't all that far off from getting back to form. We haven't seen Pollard play at all. We haven't seen a good game from all 3 of our stars at the same time. So far one of the 3 has been less than steller in each of the games. I agree with Doc that we have work to do. For one thing, shooting 56% from the line just isn't going to get it done. We need to work on free throws for certain. The defense still has lapses and at times, players miss cues and plays break down. But, those are little things that are going to happen less and less as they learn each other. When you consider that there are 11 new faces, 9 of which will make the team, it is amazing that they are coming together as quickly as they are. They haven't really been challenged yet and that will come as well and how they react will tell a lot about this team.
In answer to my question, no I don't think we are celebrating too quickly. This team is special and I believe that it is just going to get better and better. I haven't seen players diving on the floor and hustling for every loose ball like this in a long time. The hustle is there. The experience is there. The desire is there. The talent is there. The chemistry is getting there. There are still some questions, but I believe that these are going to be answered as the season goes on. Rondo and Perk are going to be fine. House and Powe have done fine as back ups. And, Scal has shown some nice things so far in the preseason which is just gravy. My bold prediction is 60 wins this season and something tells me we will be celebrating all season. After all, we have waited a long, long time to do so!