Stevens' reaction to Nurse's coaching tactics is predictably measured

Brad Stevens

Brad Stevens and Nick Nurse are two of the best (relatively) young coaches in the NBA. But the bench bosses of the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors could not be more different.

The demonstrative Nurse has been a human meme on the Raptors' sideline during the teams' second-round playoff series and got into hot water during Game 6 when he appeared to bait Jayson Tatum into throwing an errant pass near the end of regulation.

He's also worked the officials aggressively, using his coach's challenge in every game of the series.

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Stevens, on the other hand, is much more subdued on the Celtics' bench and held off on a few challenge opportunities in Game 6 despite some questionable calls.

So, after Nurse's Raptors won three of the last four games in this series to force a Game 7, would Stevens consider taking a page from Nurse's playbook and pushing the envelope a bit?

"Nick's a great coach, and I think each person has to do it their own (way)," Stevens told reporters Thursday. "If I think there's something worth challenging, I'll challenge it."

Stevens then pointed to the obvious risk of the coach's challenge -- a lost timeout in the final two minutes of a game -- as an apparent statement he wouldn't be swayed by Nurse's tactics.

As for Nurse's wild sideline gesticulations? Don't expect Stevens to make any cartoon faces in the near future.


"As far as whatever they're deciding to do, I'm not going to do things for the sake of doing it," Stevens said. "I'm going to do it if I think it's right for us.

"My job is not to react emotionally to somebody else. It's to make sure that I'm focused on our team and what we need to do to be successful."

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That's an on-brand answer for the even-keeled Celtics coach, who's taking a similarly measured approach to Friday's must-win Game 7.

"Right now, you throw some ice on your legs and get ready for Friday," Stevens said Thursday night.