BOSTON Following Friday night's 87-74 loss to Indiana, the Boston Celtics were in keep-your-head-up mode inside their locker room.
Phrases like "it's still early" and "no need to panic" were tossed around with the same kind of frequency as all of their missed shots.
And head coach Doc Rivers felt the same way.
But when talk turned towards the team's 4-4 record and a player said the C's were better than that, Rivers did not bite his tongue in disagreeing with that opinion.
"We're a 4-4 basketball team," Rivers said. "That's what we are. You are what your record is. Don't make no mistake about that."
Being a .500 team just eight games into the season is not reason to panic.
However, acknowledging who they are - a .500 team - is part of the process in moving forward from that position.
"You always have the ability to do something about that," Rivers said. "Right now, Indiana's a 5-2 team and we're a 4-4 team. That's who we are. That's not who we want to be, and that's not who we're going to be hopefully, but right now that's who we are."
Of the Celtics' first eight games, Indiana was clearly one of the tougher challenges even before the tip-off.
Losing to quality opponents like the Pacers or bad teams, doesn't really make much of a difference to Rivers.
"Well, we're 0-fer against quality opponents," Rivers said. "But again, it's eight games into the year, so I'm not going to overdo that."
You knew the 3-point shots were going to be flying all game long when the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets tipped off Monday night.
Now whether they would go in, that’s another matter entirely.
Boston’s struggles with knocking down the long ball played a pivotal role in them going into the half trailing the Houston Rockets, 58-48.
Houston, the NBA’s leader in three-pointers made (14.0) and taken (37.0), were 8-for-21 in the first half on 3s while the Celtics were a not-so-impressive 5-for-18.
Despite the shooting struggles, Boston managed to lead 37-36 after a driving lay-up by Jaylen Brown.
But the Rockets had too much firepower and when they weren’t knocking down shots, they were getting to the free throw line where there 18-for-20 compared to Boston which was just 1-for-2.
Here are the first half Stars, Studs and Duds from Monday’s game.
The MVP candidate was bringing it all areas, scoring 21 points to go with seven assists. But he was far from perfect, evident by his six turnovers.
He led the Celtics with 11 points, but looks to be growing frustrated with the lack of calls going the Celtics’ way. Near the end of the second quarter, Thomas was grimacing while holding his right groin. But it didn’t appear to be too big a deal as he hit a 3-pointer just moments later. But it’s worth keeping an eye on in the second half.
He gave Boston a surprisingly strong lift off the Celtics bench. At the half, he had seven points which included a lay-up that put Boston ahead 37-36.
He doesn’t get a ton of attention, but Ariza’s play has been one of the keys to Houston’s success this season. At the half he had 10 points and six rebounds.
He got the start tonight, but looks nothing like the high-energy, impact player he has been of late while coming off the bench. He was scoreless in the first half while missing all three of his shot attempts.
Click here for the gallery.