WALTHAM, Mass. — Brad Stevens has never coached in a playoff game at TD Garden. He has, however, attended one strictly as a fan.
The Boston Celtics coach shared after practice Wednesday the story of how he scored tickets to Game 1 of the 2008 Eastern Conference finals between the Celtics and Detroit Pistons.
“Luck,” Stevens said. “I knew a guy, he got me tickets, we went to the game. (My wife) Tracy and I were on a little mini-vacation. It was the only time I had ever been to Boston before.”
The C’s won that game 88-79 behind 26 points from Kevin Garnett and the series in six games before going on to knock off the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.
“(It was) phenomenal,” Stevens said. “I think this atmosphere is great all the time. I’ve said it all along, the fans here have been great to us when things haven’t been going well, and they’ve been great to us when we started to show a little progress.”
Unbeknownst to Stevens, who at the time had just completed his first season as head coach at Butler, he also got to watch one of his future players that night. Tayshaun Prince, who played a brief, nine-game stint with the Celtics earlier this season, scored 16 points to lead the Pistons.
Stevens will get his first true taste of Garden playoff action Thursday, when Boston hosts the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series. It’s a virtual must-win game for the Celtics, who dropped Games 1 and 2 in Cleveland earlier this week.
“I’m really looking forward to it,” Stevens said. “The guys are looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to it for a couple of reasons: No. 1 is you get to play in front of your family, and No. 2 is you get to play a playoff game against a really good team.”
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images