The main core of the Boston Celtics remained intact this offseason, but the surrounding pieces are new and it has taken Doc Rivers group time to find their rhythm.
But Rivers knows it will come soon enough.
Offseason acquisition Courtney Lee started the first five games at shooting guard for the Celtics, but Rivers switched things up and went with Jason Terry on Saturday night against the Bucks. Terry will get the start again Monday night against the Bulls, a move Rivers said will get his team closer to staying consistent throughout the game.
Were still just trying to figure out a way where we can play 48 solid straight minutes, and maybe thats not gonna happen right away, but its coming, Rivers said. I do feel like, as a team, and I dont know it has anything to do with whos on the floor or the rotation or anything like that, I think were just starting to figure it out and get it.
Defensively were late on a lot of the stuff we should be there on, but you can see the guys, theyre thinking about it now, and now I guess the next step is doing it. I think offensively we moved the ball, in the second half was terrific. But thats only one half, and so again were just trying to complete a game, a full game.
Terry and Lee were brought in this summer to replace Ray Allen, who signed with Miami as a free agent. The NBAs all-time leading 3-point shooter had been with Boston the last five seasons, and averaged 16.7 points and 2.2 3-pointers per game in that span.
With Allen gone, the replacements have struggled to match that productivity. Lee has averaged just 5.0 points in more than 25 minutes per game. Terry seems to be finding his touch with a 14.6 point-per-game average over the last three games, which has an uptick in minutes closer to a starters.
But while the Celtics chemistry at shooting guard continues to mesh, another concern is who spells Rajon Rondo on the second unit.
Neither Terry nor Lee are true point guards, and with Avery Bradley -- a true shooting guard but a player Rivers trusts to run Bostons offense -- sidelined until December, Rondo has no real backup. He currently leads the league in minutes per game (41.2) but Rivers realizes that trend cannot continue if he wants his All-Star floor general healthy down the stretch.
"Weve basically got one point guard, and its Rajon Rondo, Rivers said. Hes a pretty good one, but he cant play all game. And so what were trying to run is a lot of motion stuff where anyone can bring it up, but weve got to get someone to bring it up.
Rivers even noted that in Saturdays game against Milwaukee, with Rondo on the bench all five Celtics players started running down-court after a made basket, with no one taking the inbounds to bring the ball up.
It takes time. Thats part of team-building, guys. It just doesnt happen overnight. I wish it did, but theyll buy in, Rivers added. I think we have a good group and they all want to figure it out, individually first and then as a team. But I think theyre trying.