Blakely: Plenty of issues for Celtics at season's start

Blakely: Plenty of issues for Celtics at season's start
November 3, 2013, 11:15 pm
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Sunday's 87-77 loss at Detroit kept the Celtics winless at 0-3 this season. It marks just the 10th time in franchise history that Boston struggled so mightily out the gates.

Here's a look at the previous not-so-stellar starts for Boston and how the Celtics how the Celtics' season ended.

Year | Season ended with ...

2012 - Eastern Conference finals

2007 - Did not qualify for the playoffs

1995 - First round

1978 - DNQ for playoffs

1971 - DNQ for playoffs

1970 - DNQ for playoffs

1951 - First round

1950 - DNQ for playoffs

1947 - DNQ for playoffs

Early struggles with a smidgeon of progress thrown in here and there, followed by a disappointing finish and even more disappointing end result.

This is the Boston Celtics, this season's "Good try, Good effort" team that's setting the pace for NBA lottery-bound clubs.  

They have enough talent to compete with most teams in the East, but clearly don't have the players to finish squads off when they are in position to do so.

In each of their three games this season, the Celtics have either led or have been within a possession or two going into the decisive fourth quarter.

In the season opener at Toronto, the game was tied at 71 going into the fourth.

Boston's home opener against Milwaukee saw them squander a 12-point lead after three quarters of play.

And on Sunday, despite Detroit having its way around the basket most of the game, Boston found itself down just 63-58 going into the fourth.

A pair of free throws by Jared Sullinger in the fourth gave the Celtics a one-point, short-lived lead.

"We had our opportunities," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game.

Sadly, that will be a common refrain for Stevens this season. Because it's clear that opportunities to be successful will be there for the Celtics under Stevens.

The mistakes that they make over and over again, have nothing to do with his play-calling and everything to do with the players called upon to execute the game plan.

Avery Bradley at the point didn't work under Doc Rivers, and it doesn't look any better under Stevens.

In three games, he has nine assists with 14 turnovers.

Ouch!

Bradley's a great defender, evident by him being named to the NBA's All-Defensive second team last season.

He can knock down the corner 3-ball, and his work ethic is as good as you'll find in the NBA.

But he's not a point guard!!

Both Bradley and the Celtics will be better off once this truth is embraced and treated as such.

Then there's Jeff Green who tends to go back and forth between being magnificent one minute, and downright miserable to watch the next.

Arguably Boston's most talented player, his inconsistency has been among the many reasons why the Celtics are 0-for-the-season.

If those were the biggest issues facing the team, Boston would be in pretty good shape.

But sadly, it's not.

There are more; lots more.

More than anything, they have a roster that's simply not functional or put together to win games which truth be told, is not a major priority this year (shocker, I know).

The Celtics didn't have to lose their first three games for folks to realize that this season was going to be challenging in ways Celtics Nation hasn't seen in years.

While victories will be few and far between, Boston has shown the ability to compete every night.

And for a team that's rebuilding, that's the kind of foundation that you want no matter how painful it may be to watch right now.