After a 99-88 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Celtics’ home opener Friday night, “some words were said” in the Celtics locker room, according to Jason Terry.
And Kevin Garnett did most of the talking.
“Since I’ve been here we’ve built a code on which this great organization has been built on,” Garnett said. “And that’s been not any individual, but team. And I just spoke about that and this group — and let the new guys know what it means to be a ‘C,’ and let them understand the severity of putting this jersey on and everything that comes with it and I just went into that.
“I felt like tonight was the perfect night to do that.”
The Celtics experienced communication breakdowns, defensive breakdowns, and offensive letdowns.
“Communication is everything,” Garnett said. “We’re still a work in progress, obviously. The lack of communication makes it more difficult. All in all, we’re still working, still working to get the chemistry, the consistency. The different lineups Doc [Rivers] is playing with, simultaneously, we’re still working on.
“No one said this was going to be an easy process. Part of it, and the only good thing about tonight is, we get to play [Saturday at Washington].”
The Celtics lost their first three games last season, but had not lost a home opener since the 2006-07 season.
“Urgency — it’s early, man, only two games into the year,” Garnett said. “Not going to overreact to two games. Consistency, I’ve always said since I’ve been here, chemistry is the reason why — just because you have a very, very talented locker room, talent which looks good on paper, you still have to make it work and combine it. So, I think we’re in that process right now.”
Celtic captain Paul Pierce totaled 11 points on 3 for 13 shooting, having committed three early fouls and scoring only 2 points in the opening half.
“It was tough, it threw me out of rhythm,” Pierce said of the foul trouble. “When that happens we’ve got to have guys ready to step up.
“The way our team played on offense and defense, we just didn’t play well. We’re still trying to develop some chemistry with one another. We’re still trying to understand each other, we need to understand the system, which is going to take some time. We’ve got 80 games left so we’ve got time to get it together.
“We have made some changes and we have to do them and do them the right way and together. Defense is about effort and communication and we just didn’t have either one of them at times. At times we had the effort, but we didn’t communicate — that’s the things that cause defensive breakdowns.”
The Celtics last performed at home in a Game 6 defeat to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals in June, receiving a rousing send-off from the crowd.
“I will always remember the last minute of the debacle against Miami because of our fans,” Rivers said before Friday’s game. “They were phenomenal and that’s something you don’t forget.”
Asked about the impression fans might have made on potential free agent recruits, Rivers replied: “I know that everyone was watching that game. And if you were a player and you can go either way, that can’t hurt you at all.”
Praise for Daniels
Marquis Daniels’s last significant contribution to the Celtics was in a victory over Atlanta in Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs last season.
“He was a great professional for us, he was terrific,” Rivers said of Daniels, who was scoreless in a reserve role for the Bucks. “I talked to him yesterday. He was good, good for our team. He had a lot of guys in front of him, never complained about it. Last year in the playoffs, he hadn’t played a lot, came in and helped us win a game. That’s who you want on your team, that’s the type of veterans you want.
“He can help [Milwaukee] because he’s a heck of a defender and can play multiple positions, and we asked him to do that with us.”
Brandon Bass appears to have solidified his starting role. Bass had 15 points and 11 rebounds in the Celtics’ 120-107 loss to Miami in the season-opener Tuesday and 10 points and six rebounds in 27 minutes against the Bucks.
“We talked about [rebounding] as a team,” Rivers said of the opener. “[Bass] has been great, obviously, in the first game — and in preseason and practices, and we need it.”
Frank Dell’Apa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org