You don’t really need much more motivation at this point in the season, but the Boston Celtics coaching staff are making sure no one is off focus from the task at hand.
After the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in their play-in tournament game Tuesday, Bruce Brown took a shot at the Celtics heading into their first-round series. Teammate Kevin Durant quickly shot down Brown’s remarks, but the damage was done.
“When we were in the locker room, it came up and also like in film sessions, (they) just showed it. Coaching staff showed (the clip),” Daniel Theis told MassLive’s Brian Robb.
Celtics head coach Ime Udoka was quick to dismiss Brown’s remark. However, it’s clear that the coaching staff will not let Brown’s comment lay to rest.
“He said what he said,” Theis said. “For us it’s more we show it on the court. If he thinks the way he thinks, we’re going to prove him wrong.”
Robert Williams III could possibly make his return in the first round, but for now, it will be Al Horford and Theis protecting the paint.
“It would be a different story if he didn’t mention me and Al’s name,” Theis told Robb. “Because obviously, everybody knows Rob is not playing, it’s a different defense, because nobody can do what Rob does like, like protecting the rim-wise by calling out names, probably not a good, good start for everything. We as a team, we didn’t need extra motivation but for me personally, it’s going to be like, it’d be like a little extra chip there.”
Durant, an experienced veteran, tried his best to quell down the chatter and wanted to put the focus solely on the game.
“He don’t like the talking and stuff,” Theis said. “I think it’s one thing if you talk as a team in the locker room, what you want to do to attack a team but coming out, right, right after the game in the media after you beat the play-in team? Probably not (a good idea). That’s probably what KD thought, like, extra motivation from talking like this is probably not the right move.”
The Nets beat the Celtics last season in five games in the first round. Positions are now reversed, and the Celtics also hope the results will be reversed as well.
“You could tell that he probably spoke his mind too fast,” Theis said. “Obviously, it’s part of it. Like it’s the NBA where players who try to talk, start talking stuff, but we like I said, we are going to see on the court. I can’t speak for Al but for me, it’s like he thinks that way? We are going to see really in the series.”
The Celtics hold home-court advantage in the first round and will take on the Nets on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. ET.