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.