BOSTON – Brad Stevens was in rare form following Boston’s 97-96 win over Portland, a game in which Al Horford drained the game-winner as time expired.
But it was difficult to do a deep dive into the game itself, not with Stevens addressing the media with the sleeves cut from his shirt a la New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, and Celtics forward Marcus Morris – a Philadelphia native who is a die-hard Eagles fan – by his side.
Stevens was asked if them being together on the podium was part of a bet.
“No,” Stevens said. “You don’t want to do that.”
Morris replied, “Taking all bets …”
Stevens was asked about his football-themed attire which included a winter Patriots cap.
“Football game to watch,” Stevens said. “And we’ve had a lot of back-and-forth discussions, so I thought I’d bring Marcus along.”
In his fifth season, it was arguably the most light-hearted press conference ever involving Stevens with a lot of the amusement centered around Stevens’ Belichickian preferences and attire.
Stevens was asked about whether he would cut the sleeves of all his suits now.
“If the NBA would let us, I would wear – I was hoping that we would figure it out and go to a much more casual look on the sidelines,” Stevens said. “But maybe … Nike can push the NBA on that a little bit.”
Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Boston’s 97-96 thriller against Portland.
Al Horford: Even before delivering the game-winning shot, Horford was having a special game for the Celtics. He would finish with a team-high 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting and 10 rebounds for his team-leading 13th double-double this season.
Damian Lillard: He struggled with his shot most of the game, only to deliver down the stretch to give the Blazers a shot at pulling out the win. He tallied 21 points, 17 of which came in the second half.
C.J. McCollum: For most of the first three quarters, McCollum’s scoring was a key to Portland maintaining the lead. He would finish with a team-high 22 points on 9-for-22 shooting.
Terry Rozier: He didn’t have a triple-double or set a career high scoring, but Rozier did a lot of good things for Boston today. He had 11 points on 5-for-18 shooting to go with six rebounds and five assists.
Mo Harkless: After having made just six 3-pointers in the month of January, Harkless had five against the Celtics today, finishing with 19 points off the Portland bench on 7-for-12 shooting.
Jayson Tatum: We’ve seen him score, but he’s also showing he can get others involved as well. Today he had 17 points on 6-for-14 shooting along wit five assists.
Jusuf Nurkic: Very effective scorer in the post, Nurkic had 14 points on 7-for-13 shooting to go with eight rebounds before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Evan Turner: We love Evan Turner the person, but the player today? Not so much. He took just three shots – all misses – while grabbing four rebounds in just over 23 minutes of court time.
Celtics’ points in the paint defense: It was a low-scoring game, but that didn’t stop the Blazers from dominating inside scoring. Portland finished the game with 40 points in the paint compared to just 22 for Boston.