The Celtics are very fortunate to have a few days off after the debacle in D.C that resulted in their first win of the season. The lads in green are starting to realize that it takes more to win than just putting on a Celtic jersey.
The Celtics are all saying the right things, that they are a work in progress. As we all are I dare say. However it is more than that. If you look at the new additions to the team, they are mainly from the Western Conference.
This is not an indictment on the conference, but more of an understanding of how they play. If you look at the contenders in the West, you will see they play a more wide open style. It is also important to note that they rely more on individual stars than a group effort.
The conference is ran by the likes of Kobe, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Tony Parker. All of the aforementioned players are more scorers than distributors. Chris Paul may be the only exception and even he is saddled with a running-mate all-star in Blake Griffin who is more style than substance. The West is about finesse, no one really gets knocked on their butts.
Now let me list the players who came over to the green-side:
Jeff Green (to some extent)
All were raised in a more open-style offense and weren't called on to do more than guard their man.
The East on the other hand, is about 'grit and balls' (as Kevin Garnett is wont to say). It is about rolling up your sleeves and having an all-hands-on-deck attitude. No one embodies that spirit more than the Boston Celtics. In fact it is down right Auerbachian and the green blueprint for the 17 banners that hang in the 'GAH-Den' rafters. It is what you see in those grainy black and white footage of Russell, Havlicek and other Celtics holding hands as they walk off the court after winning a championship.
Of course, there’s no reason to panic yet, or to believe that these issues won’t eventually work themselves out. Truth is, most of the problems that Boston has encountered are on par with what you’d expect from a team with so many new pieces. In a way, this is where 2008 spoiled us; the C’s made it looked so easy that season. But it’s not easy. Building a team is hard. It should be hard. Right now, the Celtics are finding out how hard it can be.
That is the hornets nest of championship legacy these new Celtics are walking into. And in some ways it has blindsided them, this intense brotherhood that allows them to say "I am a Celtic."