There’s more on the line in these final days of the regular season for the Boston Celtics than simply winning games and going into the postseason with momentum.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens had a straight-no-chaser conversation with his players earlier today with a very simple message.
“We are in evaluation stage on who’s reliable,” Stevens told NBC Sports Boston’s Brian Scalabrine. “Like when we get to that moment when we have to know if everyone is going to be on one page doing the exact same thing, who is reliable? Ultimately that’s the end of the story."
Stevens added, “If you don’t have that reliability; If you don’t have that toughness. If you don’t have the ability to move on to what’s next you don’t last very long.”
Having that quality has been a challenge for the Celtics all season, a big reason why Boston came into tonight’s game against Charlotte fifth in the Eastern Conference despite being seen by most as the team to beat in the East.
“We haven’t always shown that this year,” Stevens admitted.
Which is why this final stretch of games is so vital, not only to the team’s overall record but also to who Stevens will lean on when the postseason arrives in less than a month.
“We need to win as many games as we can,” Stevens said. “And every night, whether somebody’s available or not, it’s an opportunity for someone else to step up.”
Tonight it’s rookie Robert Williams III who got his first NBA start tonight in place of Al Horford who was out to resting a sore knee.
Regardless of how tonight’s game plays out, Boston has to show the ability to accept the results and move on to the next game in a relatively seamless manner.
Stevens knows this has been an issue with the Celtics all season.
“So we need to prove it over the next 10 games so we know it going into the playoffs,” Stevens said.
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