This is not good.
The Celtics were thrashed by a New Orleans team missing its best scorer tonight. They head home to Boston at 0-3, looking entirely unlike a championship contender.
There are certainly caveats available. No Paul Pierce, no training camp, no continuity amongst the new players, not enough effort. Eventually, these may all prove valid reasons for this sluggish start and the Celtics may find their defensive mojo (the biggest surprise of this slow start) and run off a long winning streak. But Boston looked meek and often lifeless in this game, like they were playing to stay in the game rather than win it.
Most of the Celtics played poorly tonight.
Kevin Garnett (8 points, 7 rebounds) has looked old this season, particularly in light of Doc Rivers’ stated intention to run more of the offense through him (it’s not happening). Jermaine O’Neal has faded badly since the first game of the season and was outplayed tonight by unheralded rookie Greg Stiemsma.
After two terrific games to start the season, Rajon Rondo wasn’t aggressive enough going to the basket, made some lazy passes and racked up 4 turnovers. His positional opponent, Jarrett Jack, raced around him on the way to 21 points and 9 assists. His backup, Keyon Dooling, cannot create anything off the dribble.
Let’s leave it there. There are more lowlights to revisit and we’ll get into them in detail overnight. But for now, feel free to vent, worry or rationalize below.