Getting a root canal and having your identity stolen sounds like a pretty terrible week for most of us. Well, for Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, those were the brighter spots of his week as the Celtics have lost four of their last five games, including three in a row.
“Well, I was actually just telling my wife, I had a root canal and my identity stolen last week. And I think those were like, two of my better days, in the last eight days,” Stevens joked on his radio interview with Zolak & Bertrand of 98.5 The Sports Hub on Thursday.
Boston lost their third-straight game on Wednesday in Atlanta, 127-112, falling behind as many as 27 points to the Hawks. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum shot a combined 10-of-36 from the field in the loss. “This has been a tough stretch. This has been a tough, obviously first 32 games, whatever it is. It’s not that unpredictable. Though the last few weeks have been, I would say exponentially tougher,” Stevens said. “So where we go from here is we’ve got to have that mindset for these next four games as much as we can.” https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1365003148767727618?s=20
Losers of seven of their last 10 games, the Celtics (15-17) find themselves outside looking in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, currently sitting in the no. 9 seed. One of Boston’s downfalls this season has been the play of guys not named Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. The two All-Stars are both having career seasons for the Celts while their teammates are struggling to keep up the pace of what a contending team should look like. https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1365384252255129600?s=20
“Their burden is so large right now — those guys are having monster years,” he added.
“They’ve been super special,” Stevens said of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum. “And this is part of the path, right? This is part of, ‘Okay, now, every time you come down the court, your teammates are all looking for you, almost playing hesitantly and unconfidently, right, when you’re struggling as a team, and the other team is just loading up on you.”
Stevens spoke on texting a Celtics player (not Brown or Tatum) to watch film of Boston’s second game against Indiana this season to help instill some confidence back into this player to be ‘more aggressive and more assertive.’ https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1364627054478512128?s=20
“They can’t be staring at those guys wanting them to make a play. And I think that there’s a balance there, there’s a line there. And so, you know, those guys are special, they’ve both been named All-Stars. With that comes an extra level and layer of scrutiny,” the Celtics head coach said.
“We know those two guys are winners. We know those two guys are as competitive as they come at a young age. And we’re going to keep riding them. And at the same time again, that’s my task as a coach right now is to make everybody else feel empowered to be their best self around them. Because we need more if we’re going to be a good team.”
So, where do the Celtics go from here? https://twitter.com/TheCelticsWire/status/1365331793055014912?s=20
They have four games, all at home, remaining before the All-Star break: tonight vs Pacers, Sunday vs Wizards, Tuesday vs Clippers, and Thursday vs Raptors. Four games to regain some confidence and go into the break with some sort of momentum.
“Listen, we feel like we’re underperforming, we feel like we can do better. And at the same time, you know, I’m going to wrap my arms around these guys, and I’m going to help them feel great about themselves. So that, you know, when we get this thing turned around, we can soar with some confidence and soar with our strengths.”
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