Brad Stevens is very, very good at his job. But don’t try to tell him that.
The Boston Celtics coach on Sunday guided his team to a rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals, in which it held the greatest player on the planet to 15 points and seven turnovers. The statement win was yet another reminder of Stevens’ brilliance, as Boston continues to exceed expectations without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
So, the fifth-year coach was asked Tuesday about the recognition he’s receiving for his coaching prowess. Turns out he isn’t eating it up.
“It’s silly,” Stevens told reporters, via ESPN. “The praise is uncomfortable.”
“It’s just something that the guys should be getting it all. We have a role to play and we all need to play that role as well as we can.”
Stevens is humble and self-deprecating to a fault: When asked about receiving zero votes from his peers for the National Basketball Coaches Association’s Coach of the Year Award, he replied that he wouldn’t have voted for himself over any other coach in the league.
So, the fact that all this praise makes the 41-year-old squirm should surprise no one.
We have bad news for Stevens, though: The plaudits will keep coming. Boston’s plan to stifle James in Game 1 worked to perfection, and the head coach has pushed all the right buttons during this postseason run to bring a club with just one healthy All-Star to within three games of an NBA Finals berth.
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