Rivers: 'We can't ease into games'

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Rivers: 'We can't ease into games'

NEW ORLEANS With the games coming fast and furiously for the Boston Celtics, they would love to develop a rhythm, a pattern of sorts to their play.

The Celtics have done just that.

But they're not the least bit happy about it, especially when that pattern consists of slow starts that have been major factors in both of their losses.

They're hoping to end that trend - and their two game losing streak to start the season - tonight against the New Orleans Hornets. To do so will likely involve having a better beginning than they have had in their first two games.

In the loss at New York on Sunday, the Celtics got down by as many as 17 points before their rally came up short. They followed that up with another early deficit to the Miami Heat on Tuesday, and once again they made it a game in the second half but could not get over the hump.

Rivers believes more than anything else, his team's attitude at the start of games must change.

"We can't ease into games," he said. "We just can't. It's like we get down, we get upset and then we fight back. That's how, you get down. It's two games, so it'll get better."

With so many new faces, there is a sense that the Celtics are trying to figure out what type of team they are.

Fortunately for the Celtics, tonight's game against the Hornets will be their first test against a team that, in many ways, is searching for an identity as well.

The Hornets (1-0) won their season opener, 85-84, over Phoenix. But it was a game that, based on their play, rarely results in a victory.

Consider all this:

The Hornets shot 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) on 3s.

They were 13-for-21 from the free throw line (61.9 percent) They shot 2-for-16 on 3s

They had more turnovers (13) than assists (10).

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only once in the last eight seasons has a team performed that poorly and emerged victorious (Golden State vs. Utah in November, 2010).

So while the Celtics are certainly disappointed in their start to the season, there remains a strong sense of optimism that the issues they can get on track tonight and head into the home opener on Friday against Detroit, with a bit of momentum and even more important, that first win of the season.

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

Julien sidesteps job security question with "shock journalism" comment

BOSTON -- With three crushing losses in a row at a time when results are really all that matters, the Boston Bruins are reeling at the wrong time during the regular season. The B’s tried their best to win a game 0-0 with strong defense against a sleepy Chicago Blackhawks bunch on Friday night, but ultimately coughed up a Marian Hossa goal in the final minutes for a 1-0 regulation loss at TD Garden.

The defeat continued a swirl downward for the Black and Gold over the last week, and was a second straight shutout loss on home ice for the first time in almost 15 years. The losing stretch has also kicked up the chatter that Claude Julien is in trouble as head coach of the Bruins, and the hockey club’s underperformance up and down the lineup is ultimately going to cost the NHL’s longest tenured bench boss his job.

The Ottawa Senators have passed the Bruins in the Atlantic Division, and it’s only a matter of time before the Toronto Maple Leafs move by them as well with both Toronto and Ottawa holding six games in hand on Boston. Combine all of this with the B’s having missed the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons leading into this one, and it shouldn’t be at all surprising that Julien is squarely on the coaching hot seat.

The B’s bench boss was asked about his job security after the Chicago loss, and clearly didn’t appreciate the tough, but appropriate question.

“Well, I’m not into shock-journalism,” said Julien in a prideful tone. “So I’ll stay away from that question if you don’t mind.”

The Bruins posted their Saturday schedule shortly after Julien and the B’s players had addressed the media following the loss, and sure enough the embattled coach is scheduled to address the media post-practice as part of the regular practice day routine. So it doesn’t seem that a move with Julien is imminent this weekend despite another loss, but both the coach and the players know something is going to happen to shake things up with this team if they continue to struggle.

“Right now it’s a results based situation, so if you’re going to keep losing games then probably something’s going to happen,” said Torey Krug. “But right now we’re just pretty down emotionally after this game, so I don’t want to look at the big picture. I just [want to] focus on what’s going on in this room, and hopefully we can come back with a good effort the next game.”

A good effort might help Julien’s standing with the Bruins in the short term, but it’s impossible to imagine the B’s bench boss making it through the rest of the Bruins regular season given all of things working against him right now.