Celtics getting defensive

WALTHAM — The Celtics finally found a winning formula in their third game of the regular season, an 89-86 result against Washington on Saturday, but they are still performing below expectations, according to coach Doc Rivers.

“We had great first half in Washington, that is what we needed see,” Rivers said of Saturday’s game. “But we didn’t sustain it and I just think everyone is starting to figure out to be a good team, you’ve got to actually work at it. It’s hard work and you don’t just show up, because you’ve got good names on a piece of paper, and become good. You have to work at it, you have to work hard at it, and it’s exhausting.”

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The Celtics, who host the Wizards in a rematch Wednesday, are surrendering 101.7 points per game and opponents are shooting 48.1 percent from the field.

“I thought we played defense,” Rivers said of the game against the Wizards. “We got into the ball, there was pressure. I mean, the first seven, eight minutes they struggled to get a shot off, let alone score a basket. But then, as the game went on, you could see us slowly moving away from it. And I don’t know if that’s breaking old habits from other places or that’s conditioning. When you watch it on film, you think it’s a little bit of both.”