As the Boston Celtics prepared for their first playoff game in the NBA’s Orlando bubble, they received some words of encouragement from a man who knows a thing or two about postseason success.
Speaking Monday on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni & Fauria,” Belichick said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens asked if he’d address the team. Belichick, who’s built a strong bond with Stevens since the latter arrived in Boston in 2013, was happy to oblige.
?We have a great relationship with Coach Stevens here,” Belichick said. “We have several people who have worked with him. (offensive coordinator) Josh (McDaniels) is close with him. I?m close with him. He actually spoke to us earlier in the spring and talked to us a little bit about their situation.
“We were starting our season, and (the Celtics) were preparing to go back and finish theirs, so it was quite different, but (he was) kind of talking about managing time and dealing with some of the challenges of being a professional athlete or a professional football team and things that were going on around us. But he?s spoken to our guys several times, and he?s great. He does a great job. He did a great job the night that he spoke at my foundation event.
“So anything I could ever do to help him or help them, I?d do whatever I could.”
Stevens also has attended Patriots training camp practices in the past.
Belichick said his message focused on what it takes to compete in a high-pressure postseason environment. The Celtics, the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, have reached the playoffs in six of Stevens’ first seven seasons but have not played in the NBA Finals since 2010.
“I was flattered that he asked and just tried to talk about playing at the time of year they?re playing at,” Belichick said. “Playoff basketball, playoff football — it?s a little bit different. I don?t know anything about basketball, but I know a little bit about competition and trying to perform well at the most critical time of the year, which is what they?re in right now. It was a great experience for me. I appreciate the opportunity from Coach Stevens and the Celtics and wish them nothing but the best.”
Belichick, whose Patriots held their first padded training camp practice on Monday, said he and his players will be rooting on the Celtics from afar.
“They treat us so well at Celtics games,” Belichick said on WEEI. “If the Celtics were playing at the Garden, you know as well as I do, in the playoffs, we could have a team meeting at halftime. We?d have 25 guys there. … I know they get going (Monday night), and other than when we?re in our meetings and all that, I?m sure we?ll all be watching and all be cheering for them here.”
Celtics center Daniel Theis relayed Belichick’s message to Abby Chin of NBC Sports Boston.
?Be prepared and control whatever you can control,” Theis said. “Don?t be surprised on the court when they run something, because you should know and be well prepared for it.”