Fans at TD Garden saw a much different Abdel Nader on Sunday than the version that used to play for the Boston Celtics.
Nader returned to Boston and had a huge impact on defense, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder squeeze out a narrow 105-104 victory for the Boston’s fourth-straight home loss.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was asked about Nader’s development during his last two seasons with the Thunder before the game.
“His whole path has been an upward trajectory,” Stevens said, via CLNS Media.
“Starting in Maine with Scott Morrison, one of our assistants who was the head coach there, and a year here with us, and I just think he’s really taken more steps in OKC. He’s in a great place with a great structure and great coaching and he’s just continued to become better and better. He’s a guy that you could put in the game and impact winning with because he can shoot it, he can drive it, he’s great in those slots catching it on the run and driving it. And then he’s a long athletic guy that cares and that usually adds up to a pretty good defender as well.
“He’s done a good job, I’m happy for him. I like him a lot.”
Those comments were before Nader made four blocks in the win, along with six points and three rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench. He was 2-for-2 from the 3-point range.
When asked by reporters if a win over his old team felt a little sweeter, the forward confirmed.
“It felt a little good today,” Nader said.
Nader was traded to Oklahoma City in 2018. He may not have elaborated as long as his former coach did, but it would be safe to assume he uses the chip on his shoulder as motivation against Boston.
Thumbnail photo via Michael McLoone/USA TODAY Sports Images