As Celtics coach Brad Stevens watched the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl with their overtime win over the Chiefs in the AFC title game Sunday, he turned to his son, Brady, and stressed how significant New England’s seemingly unending run has been.
“It was amazing,” Stevens said Monday. “I think being in this and knowing how hard it is to win a single game, you know, I was telling my son, ‘You know, you’re talking the ’60s Celtics, ’60s and ’70s UCLA. That’s the kind of thing we’re talking about with what the Patriots have accomplished.’”
Stevens pulled several teaching moments from the Red Sox’ World Series run, and he said he’ll do the same with the Patriots in the coming days, although that has almost become a rite of winter in recent years.
“I think at the end of the day, it starts with just their resolve, their dedication to doing every little thing, and their ability to just stay the course with incredible connectivity,” said Stevens, who has been a guest at Patriots training camp. “I think when you talk about, it was clear as day that they had a plan of attack, that they all knew the plan of attack, and they stuck with it, no matter what happened. That was an amazing game. It was fun to get a chance to watch it.”
Stevens, who is from Indianapolis, chuckled when he thought back to the fortuitous decision to name his son Brady long before the family ended up in Boston.
“It seems like a great thing now, but when we were at daycare and there were two Peytons next to him on the first day, it was a little bit rough when we lived in Indianapolis,” he said, smiling. “Didn’t realize we had done that. But it’s worked out great.”
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra was wowed by quarterback Tom Brady’s latest gem, too.
“You can’t even write a script for that,” Spoelstra said. “You get into the last two minutes and watch greatness and excellence like that, it seems like you’re watching a rerun to a movie under the highest stakes, pressure, all those things. I just enjoyed watching the sideline when they showed a picture of him and it just looked like he was Buddha on the mountaintop in Zen getting ready for his next push.
“I can’t say I was rooting for them, but you respect it. Man, it’s incredible what he’s doing. It’s up there with what anyone’s accomplished from the team standpoint.”
Celtics center Al Horford said that he was excited to see the Patriots advance to the Super Bowl, and that he was once again wowed by Brady.
“It’s unreal,” he said. “I think there’s no debate of who the best of all time is. I know he probably doesn’t want to talk about that and what it is, but we’ll say it for him. We all know that he’s the best and we should all just celebrate and enjoy, because it’s something very special.”
The NBA fined Celtics guard Marcus Smart $35,000 for his actions after he was ejected from Boston’s win over the Hawks on Saturday, but he avoided a suspension.
Smart picked up his first technical foul in the third period of the game, and then with 7:35 left in the quarter he and Hawks forward DeAndre Bembry were whistled for double technicals for having a verbal altercation. Since it was Smart’s second technical foul of the game, he was automatically ejected.
Smart was briefly led away by a member of the team’s security staff, but he then charged at Bembry before being restrained by Atlanta’s Dewayne Dedmon. The NBA said Smart was fined for “aggressively pursuing an opponent in an attempt to escalate a physical altercation and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following his ejection.”
“That day right there, that’s behind me, so I’m focused on today and moving on,” Smart said Monday. “So, that’s out of my mind, so I’m not talking about that anymore. That’s gone.”
Smart said he was relieved that he was not suspended, however.
“I think everybody was,” he said.
Learn by doing
Stevens said that because the Celtics now have a healthy roster, rookie big man Robert Williams will probably be assigned to the Maine Red Claws this week. “We just think he needs game reps,” Stevens said. “And probably a few games in a row instead of one-game trips.” . . . Stevens notched his 250th career win. “I think he’s done great, not just with this team but over the last five or six years just getting everything out of the groups that he’s had,” Irving said. “He came in here on a rebuilding situation and really put his mark on the teams he had.”