BOSTON (CBS) – The Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks make their way to Boston Wednesday night to take on the Celtics in both teams’ final game before the NBA All-Star Break.
Celtics head coach Brad Stevens talked about the soaring Hawks with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak Wednesday afternoon.
“I think the best thing [about Atlanta] is everybody plays their role to a tee on both ends of the floor. They’ve got really good basketball players. You don’t get named an All-Star if you’re not a really good basketball player, and they’ve got for of them in their starting lineup,” Stevens said of the Hawks.
“And then on the other end of the court they’ve just really created a great synergy defensively. They play well together. It looks to me like they knew where to be last year, and now they’re just there without thinking. It’s just really unconscious. They’ve got really smart basketball players. They’ve got savvy guys and they really cover for one another. There’s a lot of good experience on the team, there’s a lot of good skill on the team. But I think the one thing that stands out, more than anything else, is these guys understand the game at a really high level. Kudos to their staff and to their players, because they’re really good on both ends.”
Celtics big man Kelly Olynyk has been sidelined in recent weeks after suffering an ankle injury on January 22 in Portland, and Stevens said the seven-footer is still not ready for game action.
“He’s still not ready. He did a little more court work last night. He’ll stay here through tomorrow and get more treatment, and then he’ll go over to the NBA festivities at the All-Star weekend and will not participate in the Rookie-Sophomore game, but he’ll be around for some of the events that lead up to it,” Stevens said of Olynyk.
After tonight the Celtics will have played 52 regular season games, meaning only 30 are left on the docket. The Celtics are currently just two games back in the loss column of grabbing that eighth seed in the East.
“We talk about [the playoffs] pretty frequently. The thing that is really important is you focus on the day-to-day. This is what we need to do today to be successful today, this is what we need to do today to get a little better today. But at the end of the year that’s the thing, is where do you stand in relation to everybody else? Do you have a chance to be involved?
“Our guys have done a good job, really in the last three weeks of getting us back in that discussion. We’ll see how it all plays out down the road, but we do talk about it very frequently with our guys. I think it’s important to talk about. We want our guys to be shooting for something every day, and I think obviously that’s something to point to.”
Listen below for Gresh & Zolak’s full conversation with Brad Stevens:
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