Building Chemistry or Identity?

I'd like to call 'em the "getting to know you" games.

After Danny Ainge made those gutsy moves a few weeks ago, we are still feeling the aftershocks of the trade deadline and from the looks of it ... it's either going to last for another week or two, or until the very end of the regular season.

That happens when you introduce 5 new players and ship out the same number.

If you are like me, there's still a part that's surprised every time I see Murphy, Pavlovic, Arroyo, Green and Krstic on the court, wearing green and white. Daniels is out, no more Turkish delight (Erden), the growling Perk gone along with Donkey (his buddy Shrek still injured). And the O'Neal Hospital remains open for business.

Since the "semi-revamping" of the Celtics, they have posted a 5-2 record (not counting the loss to the Denver Nuggets). Not all five newbies were dressed to play in all seven games however. In the last two games they did so, both resulted in losses. One via a failed comeback and the other more recent - let's just say that the 76ers are looking great.

Watching them however, gives me both a feeling of hope and uncertainty. Too early to tell, and my thoughts may change before the season ends, but I hope Doc and the Cs figure this out sooner. Are they straightening out their chemistry or searching for a new identity?

Our trademark defense in the previous games have become a little bit disoriented. That's normal when you've got new guys playing along with the old ones who can run their sets blindfolded. Not normal though when you decide to trade baskets instead of grinding it out and preventing the opponent from easily scoring.

The offense, no question, has grown in leaps and bounds. Whatever opinion you have on Pavlovic or Arroyo, they're not just another set of bodies occupying space, but they've got experience and hunger on their side. Jeff Green has been tremendous. Capable of playing the two, three and four spots - he's a gift from the Thunder. Same with Nenad Krstic who I think is showing all of us in every game he's played that he can fill in the shoes of Kendrick Perkins. Krstic and Green, in their last seven games have been averaging 13.8 and 10.5 points respectively. That's a breath of fresh air for the Celtics who we know are prone to go on scoring draughts.

Only Troy Murphy to date remains a mystery.

All of these replacements, enhancements, upgrades - call it what you may - have definitely redefined how Boston plays overall. That of course, has its pros and cons. Other teams now need to adapt to the new-look Cs. Even Kobe Bryant, whose first reaction was "What the hell", admitted it changes everything on how they approach the Celtics on both ends of the floor.

The flip side of that is if Boston fall short on its chemistry classes or establishing its identity, then they have nothing to blame but themselves. Talent, skill, and experience is not a problem in this ballclub. It's more of the injuries and how everyone adapts to each other's play that's the main issue at stake. Even though guys like Krstic and Green are in a scoring and rebounding binge, there should still be no excuse for the Big 4 to have an off night, and the defense needs to be the main focus.

Either that or Doc re-invents the Cs and gives them a new identity indeed, just like Pop's Spurs and Thibodeau's Bulls. There's still roughly more than a month to go before the playoffs kick in and before we get to see how this whole metamorphosis turns out.

Thankfully we're still on top of the East ... for now.

Enjoy the ride.