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Brad Stevens lauds young core evolving into ‘men,’ not ‘kids’

Terry Rozier, Brad Stevens

The Boston Celtics managed to stun the Milwaukee Bucks, bouncing back from an unforeseen game-tying buzzer-beater from Khris Middleton, who had his prayers answered with a 30-foot heave to knot Game 1 at 99 after regulation.

The Celtics rallied back in overtime, carving a decent lead riding their young pieces in Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown making shot after shot, accounting for 12 of the 14 points scored in overtime.

“Sometimes I think they’re at their best when those things happen, you know?” Stevens said after Game 1, according to ESPN’s Chris Forsberg. “I think it’s just a resilient group of kids.”

“Not kids — men.”

Rozier, Brown, Jayson Tatum and Shane Larkin are all growing right before Stevens’ eyes, harnessing the lessons of their veterans in Marcus Morris and Al Horford, making the most of their potential without Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart, who are out with injuries.

Every player in the roster is conscious of the hearsay around the league, doubting this team due to some key absences.

“We know people are saying, ‘They’re a 2-seed, but that’s the best 2-seed you can play. They’re missing four key guys.'” Larkin said.

“You can think it’s going to be easy — you may think that — but we’re still going to fight. The guys on this roster just keep fighting.”

The Celtics have proved fighters indeed, charging back at all costs and now with an edge to themselves they didn’t have before with a proven scorer at point guard.