BOSTON (CBS) — The Celtics are currently above everyone else in the Eastern Conference, but the team doesn’t really seem all that interested in their place in the standings.
They’re focused on Wednesday night’s tilt against the Milwaukee Bucks, and their seven other games remaining in the regular season.
“If we don’t, we’ll probably be in trouble,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday. “You just have to focus on what you can control. I looked up at those 17 banners in our practice facility and none of them said what you did after 74 games. You focus on, again, how can you be playing your best basketball?
“When we ultimately get into the playoffs, no matter what our seed may be, we’re going to have to play well. There isn’t a ton of separation, and our guys have been very consistent in their approach. That’s why we are where we are,” Stevens said. “The nice thing about the NBA is each team challenges you in unique ways that you don’t have time to think about anything else. … If your mind is somewhere else, you’re going to get beat.”
Stevens said this is the time of the year where teams are “tightening the screws,” and he’s knocking on wood when it comes to his healthy roster.
“This team has shown itself able to have different guys step up and step in. The biggest thing that health affords you is more flexibility in how you play. If you have one or two of your more versatile players out, that can be really hurtful, because maybe you struggle to go small because you have to go deeper into your bench. If you have a couple of bigs out, you struggle to match somebody’s size.
“Obviously, you want to have 15 bodies healthy all the time, but you also want to be able to play a couple of different ways at all times, to adjust on the fly against some of these teams,” he added. “The more bodies you have available, the more flexibility you have at changing it up.”
Stevens also touched on Isaiah Thomas’ health, the UMass coaching search and a question a 12-year-old asked South Carolina’s Frank Martin at the NCAA Tournament: