BOSTON (CBS) — Brad Stevens has seen a little bit of everything in his rookie season as an NBA head coach, but he’s seen a lot of losing basketball over the last two weeks.
The Celtics have dropped nine straight, and blew a nine point fourth quarter lead to the Hawks on Wednesday. Stevens has remained upbeat throughout the season, and for the most part, the Celtics have been competitive in most of their games.
But now, Stevens faces a challenge of keeping his players motivated with only four games left to go and nothing to play for.
“The end of our season is Wednesday and that provides some challenges. It’s disappointing from a standpoint there were close opportunities missed and we’re not going to the playoffs,” Stevens said Friday afternoon on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak.
“No matter what the expectations at the start of the season, you always have that mindset that that is what you’re going for and what you want to achieve. So for us it’s the challenge every day that we’re not going to do that,” he said. “But for us as professionals and people with pride and who want to do well every time you put on that uniform, we have to go out and be the very best we can be regardless of the circumstance.
“I may sound like a broken record, but I really think that’s the only way to go about it.”
Celtics legend and TV analyst Tommy Heinsohn was very critical of Rajon Rondo recently, saying the point guard has been showing some bad habits that he formed during the Big Three era. Stevens doesn’t see them as “bad habits,” just habits that are better suited for a winning team.
He also, once again, took responsibility for the team’s poor play as of late.
“First of all, the biggest thing is we all share responsibility and we can all do things better. That goes from the players to the staff, but most importantly, to me. If someone can do a better job it’s got to be me to help those guys be in better situations,” said Stevens.
“The thing about the habits, those are habits based on the system they played and with the people they played. I wouldn’t characterize those as bad habits. I’d call them habits that formed when they had these teams the last few years that were exceptionally good and exceptionally well-coached,” he said. “It wasn’t bad from the standpoint of what they were doing; it’s just wow we just have to have a little more movement to get the best shot that we can. Rondo has done a great job at times at that and other guys haven’t. And then other guys have done a good job, but I haven’t done a good job putting us into movement.
“It is not necessarily one person and I think that is important,” said Stevens. “When you talk about execution that has to start with me.”