Doc Rivers  admitted a couple of things Friday night after his team lost in stunning fashion to the Bucks, 99-88, in their home opener at TD Garden.
The Celtics  coach doesn’t think his team has played with any urgency this season. And on Friday, he had to – for the first time in his recent memory – remind his team to actually pass the basketball.
Those are two developments no one could have foreseen with this particular veteran Celtics group after two games and two losses.
On Friday night, the Celtics didn’t allow 100 points like the 120 Tuesday night in Miami. But they still allowed the Bucks to get out in transition easily and they were having all sorts of problems consistently defending the low post as they were outscored 52-36 in the paint.
‘I don’t know if I’m upset, concerned ‘ I’m all those, probably,” Rivers said. “We just ‘ I don’t see the urgency yet. At times think we thought we would show up, because we have a lot of players on the team, and that would mean we would win. And when you make this many changes, I think our guys have to understand you have to invest, invest into the team to become a team. And I don’t think we’ve done that yet. I think we will. I think guys are, their minds ‘ their spirit is right; we’ve got to get the minds right too.
“But I thought offense was bad too. I thought we fumbled, I thought we had no rhythm. And we haven’t graduated to the point where you can play bad offense and stay defensively. You know what I mean? So I thought it was both; I thought our defense was bad all night. But I thought our offense ‘ you know, that thing where you start struggling on offense, you get down, and then you start not playing defense ‘ I thought that was a lot of it. I thought early on we got open shots, then I thought we pressed, I thought we little ‘every man for himself,’ and then selfishly I thought every guy was trying to win the game for us. But I thought there was very little ball movement, extra passes. I thought each guy, when he tried to make the play, I thought that was out of frustration. I really thought they were pressing.’
Offensively, the Celtics were out of rhythm from the get-go Friday. Rajon Rondo  had just three assists in the first half as they fell behind by 16 and scored just 30 points. Not helping their cause were 18 turnovers.
‘Yeah, yeah, that was a byproduct of that,” Rivers said of the problems on offense. “You know, trying to dribble through people, and hell, we bobbled things all by themselves. So, one of those nights. But I still don’t like our urgency yet, honestly. And that’s on just the game, when you watch us play, I don’t like how we’re approaching the games. And until we do that, we’re going to struggle.’
Is Doc concerned after just two games?
‘I’m concerned all the time, but like you just said, you kind of said it, it’s early,” he said. “If this was game 30 and we were playing like this consistently, then I would be worried. If it was game 30 and we’d been playing well and we play like this once, you live with it.’
By the time the Celtics had fallen behind by 20 in the third quarter, Rivers had already started coaching with a bigger picture in mind.
“I wasn’t worried about the score,” Rivers admitted. “I was coaching a lot of things. I was trying to get us to be consistent in some of our coverages defensively, which we really never did. I was, in time-outs, saying ‘three passes’ which I haven’t had to say that in five years, probably. ‘Just make three passes, please.’ And then I was starting to look at minutes, because I’m fully aware we play [Saturday].
‘We missed a lot of shots. I mean, listen, we missed a lot of threes, a lot of open jump shots. I can live with all those shots but then I thought we pressed after that. And that’s tough. It’s tough to do that. You’ve just got to stay and trust what we’re doing.’