C's might actually be learning to win

C's might actually be learning to win
November 9, 2013, 1:00 am
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It's amazing how winning a couple games can change one's outlook.

A week ago, the Celtics were playing their way into front-runner status in the "Riggin for Wiggins" sweepstakes.

Today, they head to Miami with a two-game winning streak and maybe just as important, confidence that if they can keep the game close they can (gasp!) win.

A victory in South Beach is far-fetched and unlikely to happen, I know.

Still, at least the hope and optimism that the Celtics have now is based on their play and not prayers.

Down the stretch against Orlando, Boston made all the big shots, defensive stops and of course, a slew of hustle plays.

Brandon Bass impacting the game at both ends of the floor with blocked shots and buckets.

Kelly Olynyk.

Jordan Crawford.

Avery Bradley.

There were plenty of Celtics players whose contributions were not just noticeable, but absolutely essential to Boston getting the victory.

And because of that, they had every reason to celebrate on the short plane ride to Miami.

But Brad Stevens is doing his best to keep everything perspective.

That's part of his job; to keep his players grounded while preparing them for greater rewards down the road.

That said, Friday's win was a big, big one for this team.

Not just because of what it means record-wise.

They were able to get a win by closing out a tightly contested, down-to-the-final-shot affair, doing all the little things needed to flourish after repeatedly failing to do so earlier.

"The most excited I've been since I moved to Boston was when Jordan (Crawford) dove on that loose ball with about three minutes left," Stevens said. "We have to start making winning plays at winning times, and we did."

Winning plays breeds a winning mentality which this team is still working towards developing.

"It's good to win, but when you rest on that ... you have to ride the momentum if you can positively," Stevens said. "But you can't let it consume you, let your head get too big."

Fat chance of that happening.

"Overall, very pleased with the result but we still have a lot to work on," Stevens said. "We just have to figure out how to get better, and move on."

And that is what makes Stevens the right man for this job, at this time.

He understands that all of this is a process, one that will have its highs like back-to-back wins as well as its lows such as four straight losses to start the season which ranks among the top 10 worst starts in franchise history.

Part of that process involves establishing a foundation which is starting to take shape before our very eyes.

This team is going to take its share of lumps, for sure.

But at the end of the day, they will also compete.

And in doing so, that has a way of changing everyone's outlook on a season that might not be nearly as bleak as some envisioned.