BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics picked up a huge win over the Washington Wizards on Monday night, but something didn’t sit well with head coach Brad Stevens after the 110-102 victory.
After watching a 20-point lead evaporate into just a six-point advantage late in the fourth quarter, Stevens had seen enough of a trend that’s plagued the Celtics recently, one that needs to come to an end with the playoffs just around the corner.
“The thing that has probably bothered me about our play of recent is that we just have too many moments of casual basketball,” Stevens said Monday night. “And that’s going to get you beat on more times than not. We’ve got to correct those moments.”
Stevens joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand on Wednesday and expanded on those comments, saying the team’s occasional lack of focus while on offense has made some games much more interesting than they needed to be.
“It really shows itself more with us from our ball handling; making the right passes, making the right reads. We’ve been at our very best when we’ve been in the Top 5 or 6 in the league in turnover percentage. That’s been most of the last two-and-a-half years, but we’ve turned it over more than I’ve liked to see over the last couple of weeks,” said Stevens. “We’re not going to be able to win against the best teams when it matters most if we’re turning the ball over.”
The Celtics currently rank 26th in the NBA in turnover differential with a minus-1, but sit third in the league with a 1.97 assist/turnover ratio. They watched 15 turnovers turn into 24 points for the Wizards on Monday night, the day after they turned the ball over 18 times in a disappointing loss to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. That game was another instance where Stevens and his team watched a double-digit lead disappear in the second half.
“Our defense is much-improved, our rebounding is much-improved and if we get back to really maximizing possessions on the offensive end, we’ll be more prepared when the playoffs roll around,” said Stevens. “We’ve been really good in a lot of areas, just not, in my opinion, in every area.”
Stevens also explained why he’s not concerned with Boston’s streaky shooting, touched on the NBA’s issue with star players resting for games and gave a quick shot of confidence to the Boston Bruins: