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This is not a Brad Stevens team



Article Summary:

“There are some that are a function of just getting better playing against extra attention,” Stevens pleaded to his team after another loss to the Nets where Boston turned it over 21 times. “That’s why we play big a lot. The big lineup wasn’t always necessarily good early. But our results were pretty good early. So the ability to rotate effectively the rest of the game, mix in playing big, playing small and then as we got more comfortable playing big, the results as far as those minutes and how those have been offensively and defensively have improved.”

The team returned to wing-heavy units when Ainge traded Daniel Theis, elevating Semi Ojeleye and Romeo Langford to starts against the Nets one week ago. The Celts rank second in transition points per possession, but their frequency of using transition ranks 22nd in the NBA. Jaylen Brown is Stevens’ best fast break player ever, yet Stevens’ teams peaked at fifth and fourth in possessions per game in 2015 and 2016 before Brown arrived. Boston did not do the same, and defensively Stevens left a stinging assessment:

“I thought we were guarding them like we were expecting to play ourselves, like we were going to hold it for an extra dribble.”

The coaches challenge, an admitted thorn in Stevens’ side, added a new layer of interaction with his team where players expect Stevens to have their back when they grow frustrated with officiating.

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