BOSTON — You never know where a lesson learned will come from, but ... the Charlotte Bobkitties?
Charlotte's 89-83 victory over Boston was a classic example of what can happen when one team plays with a sense of urgency (Charlotte) and the other (Boston) plays with a sense of false accomplishment.
Having won four in a row, it doesn't come as a total shock that the Celtics players started believing the upstart-hype that they were better - a lot better - than folks pegged them to be this season.
The "Riggin for Wiggins" talk seemed to die down for a hot minute, replaced by optimism that the Celtics just might be able to continue rolling along and into the playoffs.
While there's still plenty of games left and that's still a possibility, the loss to Charlotte displayed to the masses that the Celtics are not talented enough to simply show up and beat teams the way previous Boston teams have been able to do in recent years.
This Celtics team has no margin for error or cockiness, both of which were on display Wednesday.
It wasn't the in-your-face, bravado brand of cockiness. It was more along the lines of not showing great hustle for 50/50 loose balls because well, it's the Bobcats.
Boston's resident effort expert, and former Bobcat, Gerald Wallace chimed in with his thoughts on the game.
To the surprise of no one, he had some choice words for his teammates and their overall effort; or rather lack of effort.
"We got cocky with the four-game winning streak," said Wallace, who had 10 points and eight rebounds. "Confidence was up, we were feeling good about ourselves and we just felt like if we show up tonight, we're playing the Bobcats, an easy win."
Not so, fellas.
Charlotte (4-4) is a team that's lacking in a number of areas, but effort isn't one of them.
Former Celtic Al Jefferson said that was one of the main reasons he signed a three-year, $40.5 million deal with Charlotte this summer after several years with the Utah Jazz.
"That's what I love about these guys," Jefferson said of his Charlotte teammates. "They're going to play hard until the end."
We say the same thing about the Celtics ... sometimes.
And that is the problem.
Effort shouldn't be a light switch that the Celtics turn on and off, especially when they don't have the upper echelon talent that some teams possess that would allow them to squeak out a victory on nights like this.
It has to be a non-stop, full blast, all-the-time kind of thing for this group.
And sadly, Boston didn't bring that on Wednesday night.
"They play hard," said Boston's Jordan Crawford of the Bobcats. "It's good to play them to show how hard we have to play."
Am I the only one to cringe at the thought of the Bobcats, one of the more tradition-deprived franchises in the NBA, being the example-setter for the Celtics?
And here's more from T.R.E.E. (The Resident Effort Expert), aka Gerald Wallace.
"We can't take anyone lightly regardless of who they are," Wallace said. "This is the NBA. They play just like we play. Anyone is capable of winning on any night. You give yourself less of a chance of winning when you come lackadaisical and just expect to win."
And with that the Celtics will try to move on and start another winning streak after a refresher course in Butt-kicking 101 taught by the Charlotte Bobkitties.
Is that a SMH moment or what?