Isaiah Thomas says the Boston Celtics are missing Evan Turner

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The Boston Celtics haven't started the season as they and many others expected. With a 3-4 record to begin the campaign, those who tipped the franchise to be the main challengers to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference may be having second thoughts. 

The addition of All-Star Al Horford to what was already a talented and well coached young team seemed to make the Celtics a bigger threat in the east, but things haven't gone according to plan for the men in green and they are currently on a three-game losing streak.

One aspect of the game that head coach Brad Steven prides himself on is defence and Boston have been among the best defensive teams in the league under his stewardship, but they are dead last in defensive rating so far this year. 

So why have the C's not hit the ground running like many - including the organisation itself - thought they would?

Of course, the loss of Horford (concussion) and Jae Crowder (ankle sprain) for the last three games hasn't helped, but point guard Isaiah Thomas points to a key departure over the summer as a huge reason for their struggles.

"The wing position in this league, if you're missing that, then it's going to be tough for you, especially (because) we don't have Evan Turner," Thomas said. "So it's like, we're not just missing Jae, we're missing Evan, who was a big part of what we've done.

"Now we've got a rookie (Jaylen Brown) in his place that, things are coming fast for him, he's trying to figure out on the fly as well, and, at the same time, play at a high level. So it's tough but we gotta just sustain or whatever we need to while Jae is out. Help rook at the things he needs to get better at and go from there.

"But all the things that we're getting beat at are not because certain guys are out. It's because we're not playing with our heart and we're not giving it our all for whatever reason."

Turner decided to join the Portland Trail Blazers in free agency on a four-year $70 million contract. He was a valuable member of the Celtics' second unit last season as he excelled when given ball-handling responsibilities by Stevens.

All-Star guard Thomas has taken on a leadership role with the team and also gave a damning assessment of their performances earlier this week claiming they were "all talk" and "not as good as we thought we were."

It's certainly too early to hit the panic button in Massachusetts after just seven games, but it appears the increased pressure and expectations are having an effect on the players. 

Eastern Conference
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Isaiah Thomas

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