“Well, we won the game,” Rivers said after the Celtics survived a 16-point blown lead against the Washington Wizards on Saturday night. “And right now that’s the type of team we are. We’re not playing great. It’s good to win a game like that. We’ve won two like that. You knew coming into this night, no matter who you’re playing, when you’re play a team back-to-back games, you give them three days, you knew it’d be a tough game. But we made it so much harder. I thought we played for the first five minutes great, and then we went back to old habits. I thought our energy was terrible.
“I thought Chris Wilcox saved the game for us, singlehandedly, with his effort. And I thought it was obvious. He didn’t do anything but played hard and played with great effort. And I thought that that leadership led everybody else into doing. Kevin, always, I always exclude him because he always plays the right way. But we’ve got to get more guys that play harder, better. I don’t care about ‘well,’ you know, I don’t care if we play ‘well’ or not, because that’s just human. If you can make shots or not, it happens. But we just have to play with a better focus and we’ve got to run our schemes better.”
Doc Rivers, as many coaches, can be pessimistic after wins, too. His observations of the Celtics’ efforts were spot on, because the players did seem to lack energy, other than Kevin Garnett, as he indicated, who never lacks energy.
When the C’s aren’t hustling, there’s not a lot to be pleased about, because hustle is necessary for this team to win. It’s necessary for most teams to win. Many are anticipating Avery Bradley’s return because hustle can be contagious and it is something Bradley has never been short on.
The execution for the Celtics hasn’t been so great either, and part of that is just the fact that the players still need time to adapt to one another. Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, Jason Terry and Darko Milicic are all rotation players that are newcomers, and they have to get used to playing with Rajon Rondo.
Rondo can increase the quality of a players’ looks, but only if he is used to playing with him and receiving the many looks that catch some of Rondo’s teammates by surprise. Rondo is able to find teammates even when they aren’t all that open, and until the C’s perfect (or at least vastly improve) their ball movement, the turnovers are going to be a hinderance.