BOSTON (CBS) – Brad Stevens and the Boston Celtics are ready to say goodbye to November.
Stevens and his 6-11 Celtics wrap up a tough November schedule over the weekend with their sixth back-to-back of the month — Friday night at home against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Saturday night in Milwaukee against the Bucks.
The C’s have dropped their last four at home, and Stevens is hoping to see a much better effort in front of the home crowd on Friday.
“You never want to lose anywhere, but we want to play as well as we can at home. We’re on a four-game losing streak at home, starting with Charlotte, a game in which Charlotte outplayed us. I thought we played when we went back to Charlotte, so that was good in that response to that home loss,” Stevens told Jermaine Wiggins and Joe Murray on 98.5 The Sports Hub Friday afternoon. “The last three games [at home] we’ve had our moments; we played Portland who is one of the best teams in the league, Indiana who is paying as well as anyone in the league right now, and Memphis, who even without [Marc] Gasol is still very accomplished and still has guys that have been through it. Those are good basketball teams.”
“We played well at times… and I’m doing my best to try to say ‘how can I evaluate this from an objective standpoint with who we’re playing and how we’re playing'” he said. “One of the things I try to do the best I can is I really try to evaluate regardless of result. I try to stay in the moment of the process; this is what we’re getting better at, this is what we’re falling behind in. I think that’s my job, and even more pronounced in the NBA because of the 82-game schedule. If you ride the highs of winning and the lows of losing, the emotional toll I anticipate going through wouldn’t be healthy for anyone.”
“The bottom line is we hopefully give ourselves a better chance by playing better basketball for 48 minutes regardless of venue.” Stevens said. “The one thing we’ve got that not a lot of teams have is a great fan base and great support in our arena. The atmosphere is awesome and the fans have been awesome. I hope we can come out on the right side of it more than not when we’re playing (at home).”
Stevens also gave an update on a few of his injured players. He termed guard Courtney Lee, who left Wednesday’s loss to the Grizzlies with a knee sprain, as “hour-to-hour” and a game-time decision against the Cavaliers. Stevens didn’t sound confident that rookie Kelly Olynyk, who injured his ankle last week against the Pacers, would be returning soon.
“Olynk is probably out, at minimum, another week, and maybe more,” said Stevens. “He did his ankle pretty good, and were not going to bring him back until he’s 110-percent ready.”
Stevens didn’t have much of an update on Rajon Rondo, but said the injured guard has been a big help on the bench.
“He’s feeling good and is in a good state of mind. He’s a really bright guy and is not going to come back until he’s ready, nor should he,” Stevens said. “Our relationship has been great. He’s been an easy guy to coach and has a lot of great insights on the bench and in practice. I’ve enjoyed picking his brain.”
“As much as I’ve been in coaching and in basketball, these guys have been in the league a long time. It would be silly for me to tune out what their thoughts are, especially a guy like Rondo, and I appreciate his thoughts on things,” he said.
Stevens is still learning in his rookie year as an NBA coach, but don’t count on him taking a page from Jason Kidd’s playbook. The NBA fined Kidd $50,000 on Thursday for intentionally spilling a drink onto the court on Wednesday, giving him a timeout he did not have.
“I don’t think I’d put myself in that situation,” Stevens said. “One of the things that I’m going to try to do is use them (timeouts) and hopefully you have one left. At the same time there are times when you don’t, and at that point you hope there is something to review on the monitor.”