Elite team? Rivers believes in C's

January, 12, 2012
1/12/12
3:54
PM ET
Elsa/Getty ImagesCeltics coach Doc Rivers doesn't want his players hanging their heads.
WALTHAM, Mass. -- Off to a 4-5 start and without a win against a quality opponent, are the Celtics still an elite team? He's clearly biased, but coach Doc Rivers believes so, even if he admits his team needs to prove it.

"Well, we’ll have to find that out. I think we are," he said after Thursday's practice at the Celtics Training Center at HealthPoint. "But, obviously, we’re 4-5 right now. Our record says we’re not [an elite team]; We say we are. I’m just going to warn you, it’s nine games. Don’t jump off the bridge yet. I can feel you jumping off.

"What I’m saying is, it’s early guys. Coaches always worry about their teams, that’s my job -- concern [and] worry. That’s what it should be. If we were 10-0, I’d be concerned that we’re getting overconfident. We’re 4-5 and really haven’t beaten anyone yet. So we have to do that, eventually, if we want to be an elite team."

Rivers still sees plenty of positives in his team, even after allowing the Mavericks to escape with a victory Wednesday night at TD Garden.

"We’re getting closer," said Rivers. "Actually, I was more encouraged than discouraged. Now, the rebounding problem we have to fix, but a lot of the other things -- defensively, we’re really good until we gamble. We lost 12 big points on gambles, and nine were down the stretch, which you can’t do. Which is what I meant about discipline. But, overall, I like some of the things we’re doing. We have to get better offensively and we have to start games better."

Rivers thinks his team is pressing a bit and getting a little discouraged when things don't start off on the right foot. But he wants them to feel a little pressure from a less-than-dominating start.

"I’m sure they are [pressing], a little bit," he said. "They should be; It’s good to. When you’re not winning and you’re not playing as well as you’d like to play -- we know how well we can be. We’re just not being that. I think our guys know that. That’s not a bad thing. I'd rather go through it now, I’ll just put it that way."

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
16.9 1.7 0.7 34.2
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 8.1
AssistsR. Rondo 9.8
StealsR. Rondo 1.3
BlocksB. Bass 0.9