Celtics keeping their cool on the court

Celtics keeping their cool on the court
December 8, 2013, 8:45 pm
Share This Post

As the Boston Celtics began to pummel the New York Knicks, there were signs that the game was getting a bit chippy.

Like when Boston's Avery Bradley was slammed to the floor, in front of the Celtics bench no less, in the second half.

Bradley rose to his feet quickly and walked away, but was clearly bothered by the play.

Celtics forward Gerald Wallace would later steal the ball from Andrea Bargnani, only to horse-collared on the play.

Wallace, who didn't move from where he was standing for a couple seconds after the clear-path foul was called, gave Bargnani the "what the hell were YOU thinking?" stare-down.

But that was it.

No retaliation. No demonstrative over-reaction.

The call was made.

Dumb foul, no harm done.

For all that went Boston's way in their 114-73 win over the Knicks, those two plays were two of the clearer examples of how much this team is starting to take on the cool-as-they-come demeanor of their head coach Brad Stevens.

"Coach (Stevens) day-in and day-out shows great poise," said Boston's Brandon Bass. "It's rubbing off on me. And I think it's rubbing off on other guys."

Even in the aftermath of the biggest blowout in his still-short NBA career as a head coach, you would have thought the Celtics won by four and not 41 on Sunday by his reaction afterwards.

"I'm not doing cartwheels," Stevens said after the win. "They know me well enough to know I'm not doing cartwheels (about the win).

He added, "But I was impressed."

And while his players are a bit more emotional, they are starting to tone things down and view the game in Stevens-like fashion.

That's why as the Knicks intensified their play to where it began to straddle the line between tough and dirty play, the Celtics never flinched.

"I felt they were trying to find some way to get going," said Wallace. "We knew they were going to do that. We were able to keep our minds focused on what we wanted to do. We didn't get caught up in it."

And that is what we're starting to see that separates this team from many of their opponents.

As this season has progressed, they are doing a better job of understanding the value in staying composed whether they're up big or getting blown out.

Celtics forward Jeff Green was among the Boston players pleased with Sunday's performance.

"We enjoyed this one because the way that we played," Green said. "It's fun when we do the right things and get a win like this."

And while the Celtics players continued to be drenched in superlatives by the media about how well they played and how dominant a showing Sunday's victory was and its impact on their steadily rising confidence, Green turned the praise-o-meter a couple of dials to the left by reminding anyone who was within earshot that the Celtics are far from a finished product.

"We're not content where we're at," he said. "There's still some things we can get better at. We'll follow his (Stevens) lead. He's not content, and neither are we."