Stevens proud of Celtics' composure battling back in Bulls series


CHICAGO – When the Boston Celtics were down 2-0 to the Chicago Bulls, head coach Brad Stevens showed no signs of panic.
Four wins later, Stevens remains just as even-keeled even as the Celtics move on to the next round – a first for him in his four seasons as the Celtics head coach.
“I was really proud of our guys for how they treated each other, how they stuck together and how they … nobody pointed fingers,” said Stevens, referring to the team’s 0-2 deficit to start this series. “They were just a great support network for one another, especially for Isaiah. They appreciated being counted out a little bit. We knew that, those first couple of days were really tough.”
Thomas’ younger sister, Chyna J. Thomas, was killed in a one-car accident near Thomas’ home town of Tacoma, Wash.
The two-time All-Star left United Center arena shortly after the game, and will be headed out to Tacoma, Wash. for her funeral which will be Saturday. He’s expected to then turn around and head back to Boston for Game 1 of Boston’s Eastern Conference semi-final matchup against the Washington Wizards.
“It’s big, especially where we came from and everything that went on, it’s huge for everybody,” Boston’s Kelly Olynyk told “We started playing well at the right time and just hit the ground running.
For several Celtics, getting past the Bulls not only means their season remains alive, but it to some degree moves them closer to validating themselves as the best team, record-wise at least, in the Eastern Conference.
And while Boston has made significant progress every year under Stevens, it was clear that the perception of their continued growth had to include a trip to at least the second round of the playoffs this year.
Coming into this series, Stevens had dropped eight of his first 10 playoffs games which was only compounded by Boston losing the first two in this series at home.
While Stevens’ future was never in any kind of jeopardy, losing 10 of his first 12 playoff games was not a good look for a coach who many have dubbed as one of the brightest minds in the pro game.
Sensing he had to do something to change the course of the series, Stevens shocked many by inserting seldom-used Gerald Green into the lineup.
Since the change, Boston hasn’t lost a game.
Green’s play has certainly been a plus for Boston, but you have to give it up to Stevens for having the guts to even put him with the first group after having not played much during the season.
So after explaining what the move meant to his players, I asked Stevens what did getting to the next round of the playoffs mean to him.
“I’m not defined by this stuff,” Stevens said. “Certainly, it’s meaningful because I want everybody in there; coaches, players, to experience the greatest highs of this. I think we’ve been through it long enough. We’re not going to ride the emotional roller coaster of the lows. And we have perspective on the highs. They’re hard to accomplish. Other teams are out there playing their butts off too. So we have to prepare for Sunday afternoon versus Washington, quick turnaround. Our focus is on that.”

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