Stevens celebrates first NBA victory quickly

Stevens celebrates first NBA victory quickly
November 7, 2013, 12:45 am
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BOSTON — There was no confetti pouring down from the rafters or "CONGRATULATIONS" banner anywhere in sight as Brad Stevens notched his first win as an NBA head coach following Boston's 97-87 victory over Utah.

Stevens surely relished the victory ... for a few minutes at least.

"You know," Stevens said following the victory, "I'm going to celebrate for a whole 12 minutes and then I'm going to start watching Orlando [Boston's next opponent] and trying to figure them out."

That's vintage Stevens.

Embrace and acknowledge the moment while seamlessly shifting his attention towards the future.

It is how he handled success at Butler, and it's clear that won't change now that he's coaching the Celtics.

Still, this victory was symbolic in more ways than Stevens notching his first victory as an NBA head coach.

It was a much-needed reminder to his players that what Stevens is asking them to do, the sacrifices they have to make, can produce the only thing that truly matters when all is said and done - winning games.

And he did it by making the kind of adjustments that on many levels serve as examples as to why he's often talked about as one of the better basketball minds in the game, college or pro.

Period.

His decision to put Jordan Crawford in the starting lineup and have Gerald Wallace come off the bench was brilliant.

Crawford split time running the offense with Avery Bradley, but was clearly the calming influence this team needed with the first unit.

Crawford had seven points and four assists.

But the most important number he posted was zero; as in zero turnovers.

And Wallace, who wasn't overly thrilled about coming off the bench - something he has rarely done since his early days in the NBA in Sacramento - had a near double-double with nine points and nine rebounds.

You go down the line and just about all the calls and lineup changes and adjustments made by Stevens seemed to work.

And the crazy thing is, if you look at the four previous games that Boston lost, the Celtics had chances in the fourth quarter of all those games to emerge victorious.

Of the teams that were winless going into Wednesday, the Celtics were the only one to have not lost multiple games by double digits.

As much as Stevens will continue to preach about this being a process filled with ups and downs for the Celtics, he understands that ultimately he has to put his players in the best position to win games and they have to execute that game plan down the stretch.

They had their stumbles at times in the fourth, but ultimately did enough to escape with a victory.

And so the spiel about progress and getting closer to success took the night off.

In its place was a speech about winning, the kind of speech Stevens would love to give more often.

"Winning's more fun than losing," Stevens said.

Ain't that the truth!