BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are off to a rough start this season. They are just 2-5 on the season after blowing a 19-point lead to the Bulls on Monday night, and there is some turmoil inside the locker room with Marcus Smart calling out stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown following that embarrassing defeat.

Growing pains were expected with new head coach Ime Udoka taking over for Brad Stevens on the bench, but it wasn’t supposed to be this bad.

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Enter Mr. Optimism. With a new view of the franchise as the president of basketball ops., Stevens remains confident that the team will put it all together on the floor.

Is this the right group to turn it around? Stevens said that time will tell on that front, but he remains upbeat even after a difficult start to the season.

“We’re going to find out,” Stevens told NBC Sports Boston’s Michael Holley on Tuesday at the ABCD Hoop Dreams charity event at TD Garden. “I thought last year, we were 8-3 to start the year and it didn’t feel like we were 8-3 from the seat I was in.

“Right now at 2-5, I feel a lot better from the structural standpoint than 2-5,” Stevens added. “It’s a long year. There are 75 games left. Every loss and every moment gnaws at you and eats at you. But my responsibility is to look at it from the 10,000-foot view and not to make those decisions based on the emotion of a 14 tough minutes from a basketball game.”

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Stevens said that there have been moments in each of Boston’s first seven games where the team could have taken control on the contest, but they have failed to seize many of those moments.

“We could easily be 1-6, but we could also be 5-2 or even 6-1,” he said. “We have to get better at playing on both ends of the floor, figuring each other out and playing together. Making sure every day we’re making strides toward that; we can’t have anything that derails that or sets it back.

“We’ve had a lot of lessons in our first seven games and I hope we can take off and go forward from here,” said Stevens.

As for the crux of Smart’s grievances following Monday night’s collapse against the Bulls — that Tatum and Brown are not passing the ball enough — Stevens said he felt the ball moved better Monday night than it has for much of the season. And while it’s never good to have one player airing out dirty laundry in the press, Stevens said that he also saw Smart and Tatum discussing the matter on Tuesday morning.

“The important thing to last night’s message is [Smart] talked to those guys about it. I saw that today. When you’re in it and see guys in the facility, see [Smart] and Jayson sitting down at breakfast today talking about how to find a solution for our team – those guys want to win,” he said. “At the end of the day, that is the most important thing.”

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The Celtics will look to get back on track Wednesday night with a visit to the 2-6 Orlando Magic.

CBSBoston.com Staff