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Let's hope that the C's can replicate what the '06 Heat did
There is no denying that the Celtics have looked sluggish during the first three games of the season. The chemistry has been slow to develop as the C's sit at just 1-2, with that one win a shaky 3 point victory over the Wall-less Wizards on Saturday.

There is also no denying what this team's goal is - An NBA championship. Danny's off-season completely revolved around surrounding the 'New new Big 3' (Rondo-Pierce-KG could probably use a new nickname, but alas) with enough talent to compete for a title this season. Re-signing Bass and Green (along with KG of course), signing Terry, trading for Lee, and drafting Sullinger all made the team stronger for this 2-3 year window. The time is now.

So now it's time to ask the question, what does the Celtics slow start have to do with their title aspirations? Obviously three games is a small sample size, one that cannot be counted on much, however when we take a look at recent NBA champs the pattern is clear. Championship teams get out of the box quick. I looked at every NBA champ since 1993 (a 20 year sample size) and how they started the season. I was hoping that there was solid evidence to show that plenty of championship teams had gotten out of the blocks slowly - there was not. Let's take a look:

1993 Bulls 2-1 thru 3 games
1994 Rockets 3-0
1995 Rockets 3-0
1996 Bulls 3-0
1997 Bulls 3-0
1998 Bulls 2-1
1999 Spurs 2-1
2000 Lakers 2-1
2001 Lakers 2-1
2002 Lakers 3-0
2003 Spurs 2-1
2004 Pistons 2-1
2005 Spurs 2-1
2006 Heat 1-2
2007 Spurs 2-1
2008 Celtics 3-0
2009 Lakers 3-0
2010 Lakers 2-1
2011 Mavericks 2-1
2012 Heat 3-0

8 teams (40%) started a perfect 3-0
11 teams (55%) started 2-1
1 team (5%) started 1-2 (the '06 Heat)
0 teams started 0-3 (What up 2012-13 Lakers!)

Yikes. Fact is that just one team over 20 seasons has started the season like the C's. Troubled by this, I took a look at how the team's fared thru 10 games of the season. Trying to see if this pattern of hot starts continued, and I'd have to say it did. Once again, the numbers:

1993 Bulls 8-2 thru 10 games
1994 Rockets 10-0
1995 Rockets 9-1
1996 Bulls 9-1
1997 Bulls 10-0
1998 Bulls 6-4
1999 Spurs 5-5
2000 Lakers 7-3
2001 Lakers 6-4
2002 Lakers 9-1
2003 Spurs 6-4
2004 Pistons 6-4
2005 Spurs 8-2
2006 Heat 6-4
2007 Spurs 8-2
2008 Celtics 9-1
2009 Lakers 9-1
2010 Lakers 7-3
2011 Mavericks 7-3
2012 Heat 8-2

2 teams (10%) started 10-0
5 teams (25%) started 9-1
4 teams (20%) started 8-2
3 teams (15%) started 7-3
5 teams (25%) started 6-4
1 team (5%) started 5-5 (the '99 strike shortened Spurs)

Again, the numbers do not look pretty for teams that start slowly. The results do not shock me, hell, good teams usually get off to fast starts. But still, wouldn't you expect at least a few teams that got off to sluggish starts to end up on top? Fact is that 19 of the past 20 champs were 2-1 or better at this stage of the season, and an amazing 16 of the past 20 teams that hoisted the Larry O'Brien trophy were at 7-3 thru their first 10 games.

Message being? While the C's slow start certainly doesn't remove them from championship consideration - the longer it takes them to get going - the more the numbers work against them. While how you finish the season may be all that matters in the end, how you start it seems to be just as telling.

Follow Mike on twitter. Mike_Dyer13

Michael Dyer 11/05/2012 03:48:00 PM Edit
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