Stevens Pleased with Back-to-Back Practices
WALTHAM, Mass. – Brad Stevens sat at the postgame podium Wednesday night just minutes after his Celtics had lost to the Philadelphia 76ers on a buzzer-beating shot. He lamented the loss, but was focused more on the opportunity his team faced in the coming days.
“Friday and Saturday are going to be really important,” the coach stated.
Stevens had his eye on a weekend full of work. The Celtics took Thursday off after a tough back-to-back before hitting the practice court in Waltham, Mass. for back-to-back practices on Friday and Saturday.
“Yesterday was really good because we went a little bit harder,” said Stevens. “Today was more of a walk-through slash skill session.”
“These days are good,” he continued. “These days are good for us because at the end of the day, our old and young guys have got to get better, and these days help you do that.”
Stevens seemed to be pleased with both practices and the same can be said for his players. Phil Pressey spoke to the media following Saturday’s session and gave positive feedback on the work he and his teammates put in over the last two days.
“We really came in and got after it,” Pressey said. “We had to shore up some things on the defensive side and offensively as well. We’re just trying to get better every day.”
Boston worked on its offensive and defensive schemes but also mixed in plenty of preparation for Sunday’s opponent, the Orlando Magic. Orlando downed Boston 93-91 on Jan. 19 and the C’s are looking for payback. Pressey says that the past couple of days have set Boston up nicely to avenge that recent defeat.
“Having two days of practices really helped us out and really helped us focus on the Orlando Magic,” he said.
“You really get a chance to go over what the other team’s game plan is and really hone in on what you’re going to do for the next game. When you’re going back-to-backs (games), you don’t have enough time to really go from game plan to game plan. You just have to do everything on the fly. Having two days of practice, you really get a chance to work on what you need to work on.”
Asked if it’s safe to say that the Celtics are confident in their game plan heading into Sunday’s matchup, Pressey responded, “We’ve been working for two days, so if it’s not ready by then I don’t know when it would be.”
There aren’t many things that can excite a coach after he and his team are beaten at the buzzer on their home court. Having the opportunity to put in two solid days of work before retuning to game action is one of them.
Stevens knew that this weekend would be critical for his team in both the short term and the long term. He’s happy with what he saw from the Celtics on Friday and Saturday, and now he’s hoping it translates to game action when the Magic come to town on Sunday.
“The last two days have been good,” Stevens said. “Now I hope we play well tomorrow. Sometimes you do after good days, sometimes you don’t. That’s the imperfect science of this job.”
Stevens is right on with that comment. There are no guarantees that great preparation and practice time will translate to victories. That fact, however, does not take anything away from the hard work Boston put in over the weekend.
Friday and Saturday were important, and the Celtics should sleep well tonight knowing that they took full advantage of both.