Despite what Robert Parish may say, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has said he’s just ‘uncomfortable’ with the praise he’s received for helping guide an undermanned Celtics squad to the third round of the NBA Playoffs.
Joining 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday, and with Scott Zolak determined to get the Celtics coach to take some credit, the 41-year-old Stevens downright refused to bend even slightly on the praise-front.
“Uh, no,” Stevens told Zolak when asked if he’s more comfortable with the praise given his team’s Game 2 performance, which sends this series back to Cleveland with the Celtics holding a 2-0 lead over LeBron James and the Cavs.
“You know how it goes. As I said the other day, we all have a role to play, we have to play it well,” Stevens continued. “These guys have been incredible throughout this run, but we have a long way to go. We still have things we can improve on from the last two gams, we have things we all need to work on to be better. We just kind of have to keep that mindset. I think anybody that has ever been through one of these series knows that these things turn very quickly if you don’t stay locked in, you don’t stay focused. And nobody has a better ability to turn [a series] than LeBron James.”
The Celtics experienced close to this exact thing on Tuesday night, too.
James went off for 42 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds, but still found himself on the losing side of things, as the Celtics got double-digit scoring from all five members of their starting lineup in a 107-94 comeback win over Ty Lue’s squad.
But with the series shifting back to The King’s court, Stevens doesn’t want anybody, including himself, to get comfortable.
“We’ve gotta stay in the right mindset, we gotta stay focused,” said Stevens. “As far as the praise goes… that should be on the players, that should be on Danny [Ainge], that should be on our coaching staff. But at the end of the day, I’ll deflect it because like I said, it’s not the most comfortable feeling in the world. I’d much to prefer to just stay under the radar.”
Stevens and the Celtics will go for a 3-0 series lead Saturday in Cleveland.