Celtics

Celtics

This wasn't the way Jay Larranaga wanted his first professional game as a head coach to come about.

And it certainly isn't the result he wanted, either.

But Larranaga did a commendable job on the Celtics bench and along the sidelines in trying to get his team a win in Chicago.

He can't call the plays and take the shots too, though.

Upon hearing that he was going to be coaching the team the morning of the game, Larranaga got to work on the game plan against the Bulls. He blocked out the reason behind him coaching, which was that Brad Stevens was visiting a former Butler player battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and instead did what he could to prepare the Celtics for later that night.

"Brad always says his focus is to win the next game one possession at a time," Larranaga told reporters after the game. "Obviously thinking about Brad, wanting to represent him well, and our players, wanting to do right by them. They work really, really hard. They're traveling all over the place, they played last night in a tough game, coming out tonight and I thought played really, really hard again. So I just wanted to do my part to help us get the win."

Unfortunately, the Celtics couldn't maintain their early lead and went cold from the field in the second half, falling 101-92.

Not having Stevens on the sidelines was definitely something the C's needed to adjust to, and made it tougher because so much of what they do is through his direction.

"You've got to refocus your mind a little bit more because he's a leader on this team and he's one of our biggest leaders and he helps us night in and night out," Jae Crowder told reporters. "I think every guy tried to pull for him and try to help one another. We knew it was going to be tough times. We tried to weather the storm I think. My hat goes off to Larranaga, he did a great job tonight. It was tough, but we stuck together and we tried to pull it together as a team and try to get the win."

Evan Turner echoed Crowder's remarks on the great job he thought Larranaga did, but admitted there were some aspects of Stevens' coaching the team missed.

"I think Jay Larranaga did a great job and everything like that. He was very positive and stuff like that," Turner told reporters. "No disrespect to him, but obviously you miss Brad's presence. He's our head coach so that's what we're used to so obviously that. [Stevens] is positive just as much [as Larranaga] and gets on our butt when we need to. That's pretty much it. Coach Larranaga did a great job. The after timeout plays, Brad is very great at that."

Regardless of the outcome, it was a good opportunity for Larranaga to get the full feel of head coaching. The team didn't pull off the win, but they kept it competitive throughout.

"There's a lot of aspects that our assistant coaches don't get a lot of credit for, for what they do," Jared Sullinger said. "I thought Jay Larranaga did a tremendous job stepping in and just pretty much handled the team the way it's been handled. Through the one-game absence of Brad I thought he did a hell of a job."