After watching his team fall to .500 with its third straight loss Wednesday, coach Brad Stevens wondered if maybe the Celtics were overrated all along, relays Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.

“I just don’t know that we’re that good. Maybe it’s not a wakeup call if you keep getting beat,” Stevens said after a home loss to the Knicks. “We have to play better. It’s not because we’re not capable of being good. It’s not because we weren’t good at one time in our lives. It’s you’re good if you play good and the results are speaking for themselves.”

The Celtics entered the season as the favorites in the East and were considered a legitimate threat to win the NBA title after reaching Game 7 of the conference finals last year without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Instead, they have experienced struggles on both offense and defense as Stevens has tried to work out effective combinations of his veterans and younger players.

“It’s not one guy. It’s not two guys. It’s all of us,”Stevens said. “We’re not playing with the same personality we played with last year. That’s the easiest way to describe it. And then the 50,000 issues that are below that, we have to tackle one at a time.”

There’s more today out of Boston:

  • Al Horford said the team’s “effort” isn’t where it needs to be, relays A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. However, he suggested that the early-season struggles could benefit the team down the road. “These are the times I feel like make teams stronger,” Horford said. “I feel last year, what made us stronger was that adversity that we faced with different injuries and things like that. Different situations make teams tougher. Right now, as much as I don’t like losing and going through this, I feel like this is what’s making us stronger as a unit.”
  • Hayward came off the bench for the second straight game Wednesday as center Aron Baynes remained in the starting lineup, Blakely notes in a separate story. In addition to improving the first-team defense, Stevens explained that the move puts players in their more natural positions. “There’s a comfort level to that,” he said. “As we continue to try and grow and get to the best version of ourselves, we’re going to have to be able to play both ways. We’re gonna have to be able to play small; we’re gonna have to be able to play big.”
  • With the Wizards contemplating a sell-off, Tom Keegan of The Boston Herald suggests that the Celtics might benefit from acquiring Markieff Morris to play alongside his brother, Marcus.

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Yardbarker: Boston Celtics

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