Brad Stevens takes shot on own team
The Boston Celtics had their worst loss of the season so far after suffering a 123-107 defeat at home against the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night. Emmanuel Mudiay led the Mile High City team’s charge as he scored 24 points in the first quarter alone, finishing with a total of 30 points in the matchup.
“I thought, looking at film, this could be bad for us, and the reason I thought that is because — the nicest way I can say this is I think we play like a finesse team, and they play physical. So I kind of saw that right out of the gate. You know, they were getting where they wanted to on their drives. I thought the (Danilo) Gallinari dunk was a great example of that. I thought Kenneth Faried diving on the floor at 3:57 left in the fourth quarter was a great example of that. That’s who we’ve been the last week.”
Before the season started, there were plenty of talks on how good the Celtics would be on defense after adding Al Horford to their fold, as the 6-foot-11 center is a former All-Star and one of the better defensive big men in the league.
After adding him to the roster already bolstered by the likes of Jae Crowder and Avery Bradley, it became a surprise to many that they are currently ranked 29th in the league in opponents points per game. When asked what it would take to make the team one of the best in that category, Stevens took the blame and had this to say:
“But it starts with holding your ground physically. (Emmanuel) Mudiay goes nuts, that’s fine. But Mudiay also gets two putbacks, or at least one putback early, that gets you going. It makes you feel good about yourself to see the ball go through the nets, it’s an easy basket. Now you hit a couple of the tougher ones. But we brought a little bit of aggressiveness at the start of the third quarter, but that wasn’t sustainable. So I don’t know. I don’t have the answer. Obviously we’ve got some guys that aren’t playing that will play. (Jae Crowder, Al Horford and Kelly Olynyk all missed the game due to injury.) But this is about holding your ground.”
“I told the players it’s my fault because I played — I watched us play this way, and you can’t do that. But, bottom line is when you have a spot you have to hold it. When you have a spot you have to take it. And we’re not. So whether it’s changing who plays, whether it’s creating a new scheme, whether it’s subbing differently — whatever the case may be, we just have to figure it out.”
The 40-year-old bench tactician hopes that his comments will serve as a wake up call to his team and motivate them to play better defense to string some wins together. The Celtics currently hold a 3-3 record and will look to go above .500 when they face the Washington Wizards on Wednesday.