BOSTON — The Celtics had more than just a blizzard to worry about when making their travel arrangements ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Madison Square Garden. There also was the matter of a certain, rather important football game taking place Sunday night down in Arizona.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Sunday that after conferring with forward and resident New England Patriots fanatic Gerald Wallace, the team has decided to fly to New York late Sunday night, giving Wallace and the rest of the C’s plenty of time to watch the Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
“I’m going to be watching. Our team’s going to be watching,” Stevens said before the Celtics’ matchup with the Miami Heat at TD Garden. “That’s the reason why we’re leaving at 10:30 (Sunday night). Obviously, I think we all wanted to watch the Super Bowl, and then Gerald Wallace approved that. Everybody’s going to be in good spirits to watch it, hopefully.”
Stevens might not be as big a Patriots fan as Wallace (he also declined to offer a Super Bowl prediction), but he is a great admirer of New England’s coach, Bill Belichick. The Celtics boss showered his football counterpart with praise Sunday, comparing Belichick’s impact on the sporting landscape to that of San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.
“I mean, he’s an unbelievable coach, and he’s done an unbelievable job throughout his entire tenure,” Stevens said. “I think he’s one of the guys that people across sports look up to. I think when you talk about people in basketball like that, you probably talk about the Popoviches of the world — he’s in that (conversation). Basketball people look at Belichick like people across other sports probably took at Pop.”
Stevens never has met Belichick, but the two have exchanged a number of text messages since the former arrived in Boston two summers ago. Stevens said he and Belichick haven’t talked much about coaching techniques in those conversations, but that he hopes to one day get the chance to pick the three-time Super Bowl champion’s brain.
“More just checking in and encouragement than anything else,” Stevens said. “First of all, those (conversations) would be one-sided if it was (about) coaching. It would be me asking him what the heck to do. Hopefully I’ll get a chance sometime in the future to sit down and talk to him. Obviously, he’s incredible.”
The Celtics are scheduled to visit the New York Knicks on Tuesday, one day after a winter storm is expected to dump another foot of snow on the Boston area.
Thumbnail photo via Matt Slocum/Associated Press