Philadelphia 76ers fans like myself are looking for any hope that we can catch the Boston Celtics in the Atlantic Division. But we couldn’t take much from the Celtics losing to the Miami Heat on Oct. 30, since they were expected to do that. However, suffering an even worse defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks in their home opener on Nov. 2 is much more worrisome.
The Celtics had no real offense to speak of until garbage time, which is ironic given that they racked up 107 points on the world champion Heat in Miami. But against the sub .500 Bucks in Boston, the Celtics were ice cold en route to a 99-88 defeat and an 0-2 start.
Technically, Boston was pretty balanced as six players scored in double figures. Yet none of them racked up more than 15 points, as they couldn’t match 21 from Brandon Jennings and 18 from Tobias Harris. And while the Celtics totaled 58 points in the second half and 30 in the fourth quarter alone, they only had 30 points in the entire first half.
Perhaps since the Celtics weren’t facing the Heat, they couldn’t get that revved up, even in their home opener. Maybe their losses to Miami to end last season will take a long time to truly put behind them. In any case, there are still 80 games left to go and this team is more than experienced at catching fire eventually.
Nevertheless, it is rarely too early for a team to worry, even in an 82-game schedule. The Los Angeles Lakers can attest to that after their own 0-2 start that came from nowhere. In the Celtics’ case, losing their first two games is less surprising – or at least losing their first game was – but a team that may have just one more shot at a championship should get out of the gate better.
While the Sixers got a nice opening win over the Denver Nuggets, and the New York Knicks thumped none other than the Heat on Nov. 2, the Celtics’ opening statements have been far less impressive. But by the time they visit the Sixers on Nov. 9, the Celtics might just work some of the kinks out by then. At the very least, they should rediscover their scoring touch a little better – in theory.
The last time the Celtics played in Boston, they were even colder and lost their best chance to eliminate the Heat in the conference finals. Unfortunately for the Boston faithful, not much changed in their return back to the Garden – except the stakes, of course. Yet while this loss can be written off, a few more early defeats like this will be harder to just ignore.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and 76ers fan – who has become quite familiar with the rival Celtics in that time.
Other stories from this contributor
Celtics look to stay ahead of teams other than Heat
76ers lock up Holiday as pillar of their future
76ers need next 25 years to go better than last 25
Hawes reminds 76ers they have more than one big man
New look 76ers look much like last year’s 76ers in opening win