BOSTON -- Win or go home for the rest of the summer.
That is the plight the Boston Celtics find themselves in facing a 3-2 series deficit to the Atlanta Hawks heading into tonight’s Game 6 matchup.
There’s no question that the players for both teams will come in feeling a bit of pressure to produce in the most important game of the season.
Well what about Brad Stevens?
He was among the top vote-getters for the league’s Coach of the Year award, and the move he made in getting Evan Turner and Jonas Jerebko in the starting lineup has been instrumental in the Celtics getting back in this series after losing the first two games.
Just like players have a tendency to press matters when they so desperately want to do their part in winning, coaches are vulnerable to making similar mistakes.
But Stevens, as we have seen during his three seasons in Boston, isn’t like most coaches.
Many of the pitfalls that tend to engulf some of the best coaches, are not on the list of possible choices Stevens would even consider.
His approach to Game 6 isn’t all that different than it has been for previous playoff games in this series.
“What you have to figure out, you always start with a mountain load of information,” Stevens said. “And your desire is to get basketball in its simplest form. That’s a coach’s job to make it as short, sweet and simple as possible.”
Of course that’s a lot easier said than done, especially in preparation for a game that could potentially be the last one played this season.
While Stevens isn’t expected to make any radical changes like he did prior to Game 3 when he inserted Evan Turner and Jonas Jerebko in the starting lineup, there will surely be some noticeable tweaks at both ends of the floor.
At the top of the list will be finding ways to either 1) get Isaiah Thomas going after he scored a season-low 7 points in Game 6 or 2) inject his players with the confidence they need to make more plays to not just help the Celtics but also take some of the pressure off of Thomas in carrying the team.
Doing those things will give the Celtics their best shot at forcing a winner-take-all Game 7 in Atlanta.
“The one thing that is obvious is when you (play) a 10th game against a team, six in the last how many days, you have a pretty good idea of what you want to do,” Stevens said. “It’s a matter of going out there and doing it.”