Brad Stevens was interviewed before the Celtics took on the Trail Blazers on Sunday. When asked if it is difficult for the team to come into this game ready to play after an emotional and tiring win on Friday, Stevens said “well if we don’t start well today [and start like we did Friday]…we don’t have a chance to come back against these guys. They’ve got too much firepower, too many scorers, and they’re in too good of a rhythm, so you have to do your best to slow them down somewhat.” Stevens says that in the NBA, you have to be able to put what happened the other day behind you and move on so you can focus and play well.
When asked about updates on Jaylen Brown, Stevens said “No update…he’ll go through his pregame routine and he’ll be a game-time decision.” Brown was listed as questionable earlier in the day due to an ankle sprain. On Aaron Nesmith, Coach Stevens said “he has an unbelievable work ethic and he plays very hard. He’s on the upper end of both of those. Again, everybody throws around those things as things that everybody has, but he’s on the upper end of both of those. Then I say, the part that has been the most impressive to me over the last two games has been the fact that a guy can go from not playing that much from a conditioning standpoint and play those long of stretches as hard as he did….that speaks to his work ethic on off days, that speaks to his preparation throughout the season.”
Stevens also spoke on the challenges of defending against the Trail Blazers, specifically Damien Lillard and CJ McCollum. “It all starts with Lillard…Lillard and McCollum. When you have to pick them up at 30 feet, they get over the screen and get downhill on a big, they’re quick enough to get by and make a play for themselves or others. If you’re late to get your defensive set, they just pull up and shoot it. But the stress begins because you have to guard those guys so high on the floor.”