It took Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens five tries to get his first win in the NBA. He hasn’t lost since.
The Celtics absolutely ran the Orlando Magic off of the floor Monday night to the tune of a 120-105 rout that put the Celtics at .500 for the first time this season.
The Magic entered this game with the NBA’s second-best field goal percentage defense, but the Celtics torched them by shooting 60% from the field and just over 41% from behind the arc. Things were going so well for the Cs that even an alley-oop attempt that Jeff Green fumbled wound up going in the basket, with Green getting fouled on the play, to boot.
And it was Stevens, not Orlando’s coach Jacque Vaughn, who kept pulling rabbits out of his hat all night long. Stevens gave ten guys on his roster at least 14 minutes of playing time tonight, with seven players scoring double-digit points, including all five of his starters. Every substitution that Stevens made seemed to produce immediate results, be it Jared Sullinger coming in to nail two quick buckets, or Gerald Wallace providing instant hustle to save a ball. Coaching isn’t supposed to look quite this easy when you are a rookie, but Stevens sure made it look simple tonight.
Two two keys to tonight’s victory:
1. The Celtics pushed their agenda all night long.
In just their second game of the season, the Celtics had the Milwaukee Bucks on the ropes, to the tune of a 22-point lead in the third quarter. The problem is , they took their feet off of the gas and slowed the game down in the fourth, allowing the Bucks to set up their defense, get key stops, and stun the Cs with a come-from-behind victory. Tonight, the Celtics attacked all night long, and racked up 20 fast break points to Orlando’s four. Defensively, they buzzed around the Magic like an annoying swarm of bees, causing 18 turnovers and collecting 11 steals. This is how Boston must play all season long: fast, aggressive, frenetically-paced basketball.
2. The Celtics apparently believe they are better than any of us have given them credit.
Earlier this season, Gerald Wallace nailed it when he compared Boston to an expansion team and said that his team could band together as underdogs. If these guys know they are “supposed” to lose this season in order to land Boston a sweet pick in next year’s draft, they sure as hell as showing it. Every single one of these guys is giving his all to help this team win – the fight in this team is absolutely unbelievable, and impressive as hell.
Here’s what I tweeted at one point of the game:
I love how all of the Cs are currently playing like rookies fighting for a roster spot.
— Hardwood Houdini (@HoudiniCeltics) November 12, 2013
There’s just no quit in this team right now, and they are playing inspiring team basketball. It’s fun to watch – let’s hope they can keep it up.
Thanks for the read, and tune in tomorrow as I share my Three Stars of the game!