Danny Ainge: Brad Stevens least to blame “by far” for Celtics' struggles


Danny Ainge has no problem assigning blame for the Boston Celtics' many issues.

But he's drawing the line at his head coach.

The Celtics president of basketball operations said Thursday in his weekly interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub's "Toucher & Rich" that "everybody has some fault" in the Celtics' failure to live up to lofty preseason expectations.

Ainge also offered a passionate defense of Brad Stevens, who he believes deserves the smallest slice of the blame pie.

"There's blame to share for everybody, but I will say this: He's the least, by far, of anybody that there is to blame," Ainge said of Stevens.

"Because I know that Brad is going to be prepared, and I know that Brad is putting in the work to do whatever he can to try to help this team and fix this team. So, that is the very bottom of the rung."

Stevens directed the blame his way after Saturday's loss to the Chicago Bulls, telling reporters he was "disappointed in (himself)" and that he has to do "a lot better."

Those comments weren't lost on Ainge, who clearly admires Stevens' effort and willingness to hold himself accountable amid a rocky season.

"I know that he takes more responsibility than anybody, in my opinion, as to the success and lack of success," Ainge added. "He takes ownership in the things he needs to do better.

"Anyway, he's the least of all the problems that we have on our team right now."

The Celtics certainly have their problems: Wednesday's loss to the Portland Trail Blazers was their fourth consecutive loss and their sixth in the last eight games, dropping them to 10.5 games out of first place in the Eastern Conference.

If there's any internal finger-pointing, though, it's not headed the coach's way.

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