Pregame Post-Ups: Chemistry, Leadership Keying C's Run

Monday, November 20 - Celtics at Mavericks

Pregame:

DALLAS – Ninety minutes before the Celtics take the court seeking their 16th straight win, a Dallas media member asked Brad Stevens how a team with only four returning players can jump out to a 15-2 start to the season.

Stevens joked with his initial response, saying, “Other than good fortune…,” but he quickly turned to two key ingredients that have led the Celtics in the right direction: chemistry and leadership.

Chemistry is a strange thing. Some teams can be together for multiple seasons but never really click. Some teams, like the Celtics, can come together for the very first time and hit it off.

These Celtics have not only gotten along with one another since convening for the first time at the team’s practice facility, but they truly enjoy being around one another, and they all have one common goal: winning.

“Maybe a group that’s pretty connected,” Stevens said to continue his initial reply. “There’s a lot of pulling together. There have been times where guys have played a lot, and then maybe the next game not played as much. We haven’t even thought twice about it. It’s such a connected group. They’re focused on winning and how they can add value to winning.”

The only way to add value to winning, as Stevens has preached since Day 1, is by getting better every day. Every member of this team is committed to that process.

“The last couple of days, whether it’s in film, whether it’s this morning at shootaround, we’re working on things that we aren’t doing as well,” he said. “Whether that shows itself tonight, this week, the next week, hopefully that adds up when it’s all said and done at the end of the year.”

But chemistry and hard work aren’t the only ingredients necessary to success in the NBA. Leadership must be present, and the Celtics have plenty of it.

Kyrie Irving and Al Horford are four-time All-Stars. Irving and Aron Baynes have championship DNA inside their bodies. Marcus Smart is the longest-tenured Celtic, and he knows what it means to play for this franchise.

Boston may be a young team, but it has plenty of leadership to steer its ship in the right direction.

“The one thing that I would point to is, I think that the guys that are back have done a great job of welcoming everybody and being open and helping in every way that they can,” Stevens said. “We’re not very old. Al and Baynes are our two oldest guys, but those are really good role models and mentors for young players. And so to have that, along with Kyrie and the way that he is doing things and playing and leading, to have all of that has piece by piece added to what you’re after.”

Chemistry and leadership. That’s why the Celtics look like a team that’s been together for years, and that’s why they’ll be seeking their 16th straight win when they take the court tonight in Dallas.

- Marc D'Amico