Boston Celtics: 2012Game3
December, 28, 2011
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com
Steve Babineau/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Hornets don't look much like the team the Celtics saw last year.We're trying something a little different this year to get you geared up for game days. Before each contest, we'll play a little game of 3-on-3 discussing the hot topics around the Celtics and looking ahead at the next opponent.
The Celtics travel to New Orleans Wednesday night for the back end of their first back-to-back this season (8 p.m., CSN). I'm joined by ESPN Boston intern Greg Payne and CelticsHub's Brian Robb. Let's play a little 3-on-3:
1. Fact or Fiction: Two losses in two games is no big deal for Boston
Payne: Fact. While a team never wants to start out 0-2, the Celtics have shown plenty of heart and grit in their two losses (both against high-quality Eastern Conference opponents) and that, to me, is very encouraging. I'd be far more concerned if Boston had simply keeled over once it fell behind by double-digits in both contests. But the fact is, even without their leading scorer in Paul Pierce -- who will provide needed offense in the final minutes -- these Celtics have fought until the final whistle, and we should be encouraged by that, not dismayed. If the Celtics can bring that same intensity against the lesser teams of the NBA (the Hornets, for example), they'll have no trouble righting the ship.
Robb: Fact. Obviously the slow start is not ideal, but given the opponents and injury problems Boston has been dealt out of the gate here, it's hard to get overly concerned. The upcoming schedule also helps to soften the blow as four likely non-playoff teams are next on the docket (New Orleans, Detroit, Washington (twice), New Jersey). Lose to a couple of those teams and you have a problem. For now? There were enough positive signs from the first two contests to avoid the panic button.
Forsberg: Fact. But I'll say this: If the Celtics lose in New Orleans, feel free to dust off those panic buttons. While there's been plenty to be encouraged by, there's been an equal amount to lament (particularly the utter disappearance of this team's defense that had to resort to a zone to scramble back against Miami). The one thing that concerns me: Good teams find a way to overcome their mistakes and win games. The Celtics have hung tough in the face of adversity, but they've faltered in crunch time. That's when this team is supposed to be better than everyone else based on their experience together.