Brad Stevens’ reaction to first NBA win: ‘Winning’s more fun than losing’
|11.07.13 at 1:41 am ET|
After starting his NBA coaching career 0-4, Brad Stevens stepped up to the podium Wednesday night after a 97-87 win and asked Celtics longtime public relations director Jeff Twiss if he should make an opening statement. Without missing a beat, Stevens showed his dry sense of humor and his ability to understate the obvious.
‘Winning’s more fun than losing,” Stevens said. “But at the same time, I think we played two pretty good games back to back, so that’s the most positive thing moving forward. And hopefully we feel better about ourselves as we move forward.’
Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck marked the occasion of Stevens’ first NBA win by getting the basketball at the end of the game and presenting it to Stevens in front of the team.
‘Wyc was nice enough to grab the ball for me, so that was really nice,” Stevens said. “You know, I’m going to celebrate for a whole 12 minutes and then I’m going to start watching Orlando and trying to figure them out. Obviously they’ve had a great start to their season, and they’ve got good young talent. And we’ve got a couple more road games ‘ I feel like we’ve already toured half the NBA this week ‘ so just a couple of more road games this week.’
The Celtics started in a 16-3 hole but all of that seemed to change when Stevens went to his bench and brought in the likes of Jared Sullinger, Phil Pressey, Gerald Wallace and rookie Kelly Olynyk.
‘I told Gerald this today: I thought the Sully/Kelly ‘ with their ability to pass and stretch the floor, would open up some driving lanes for him,” Stevens said. “And some plays for him. Those three guys complement each other pretty well. So, I kind of made up my mind [Tuesday] night that we were going to go with Gerald off the bench, and then went from there. And then I thought Phil gave us a spark. To me, the best teams I’ve been a part of have had sparks off the bench. The energy level has actually gone up, or at least in a really good night, stayed the same. And I think that that’s what happened.’
The bench spark Stevens was looking for resulted in an ambush of the Jazz to the tune of 27-8 and the Celtics had a 50-34 halftime lead. They would build the lead to 25 and this time, unlike Friday against Milwaukee at home, the Celtics managed to hold on, allowing the Jazz to cut the lead to six with less than seven minutes left.
‘They had a 13-point lead to start the game. This game, in the NBA, just fluctuates,” Stevens said. “It goes back and forth; that happens a lot. My biggest thing was, ‘Get back on ‘D’ and play the next play.’ I thought both times it started ‘ Milwaukee and tonight ‘ with baskets at the rim fairly uncontested by them. So whatever’s going on on one end, or you miss a shot, or whatever the case may be, we’ve got to get the rim protected in those moments.
“And sometimes, when you’re up, you tend not to do those little things. And I did think we extended a little bit, and it probably hurt us. You know, we got a little antsy in trying to extend it. When I say extend it, extend the floor. I thought we were picking (Gordon) Hawyard up too high. I thought we were picking (Alec) Burks up too high. When those guys get going offensively, they’re hard to guard.’