The Boston Celtics received a special message Sunday morning ahead of Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who's won six Super Bowl titles in New England and two more as the defensive coordinator of the New York Giants, preached the importance of preparation in a video call with the C's.
Celtics center Daniel Theis told NBC Sports Boston that Belichick's message was, “Be prepared and control whatever you can control. Don’t be surprised on the court when they run something, because you should know and be well prepared for it.”
Belichick admitted Monday on WEEI radio show "Ordway, Merloni & Fauria" that he was honored to speak to the Celtics as they prepare to begin their quest for a championship.
“We have a great relationship with (C's coach Brad Stevens). I was flattered that he asked and just tried to talk about playing at the time of year they’re playing at," Belichick said, as transcribed by WEEI's Ryan Hannable. "Playoff basketball, playoff football -- it’s a little bit different. I don’t know anything about basketball, but I know a little bit about competition and trying to perform well at the most critical time of the year, which is what they’re in now. It was a great experience for me.
“I appreciate the opportunity from Coach Stevens and the Celtics and I wish them nothing but the best. I know they get going (Monday night) and other than when we’re in our meetings and all that I am sure we’ll all be cheering for them here.”
Stevens was hired by the Celtics in 2013, and him and Belichick are the two longest-tenured head coaches in Boston.
“We have a great relationship with coach Stevens here," Belichick said. "We have several people who have worked with him. Josh (McDaniels) is close with him. I’m close with him. He actually spoke to us earlier in the spring and talked to us a little bit about their situation. We were starting our season and (they) were preparing to go back and finish theirs. It was quite different, but (he was) kind of talking about managing time and dealing with some of the challenges of being a professional athlete or a professional football team and things that were going on around us.
“But he's spoken to our guys several times and he’s great. He does a great job. He did a great job the night that he spoke at my foundation event, so anything I could ever do to help him or help them, I’d do whatever I could."
Game 1 between the Celtics and Sixers begins at 6:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Boston. Be sure to also tune in to "Celtics Postgame Live" after the final buzzer. You can live stream the game and the postgame show on the MyTeams app.