Brad Stevens sits on the sideline

Pregame Post-Ups: Stevens Reveals Candid Thoughts on Schedule

Wednesday, February 24 - Celtics at Hawks

Pregame – Stevens Paid Little Attention to Schedule Release

Brad Stevens is head-down, tunnel-vision, and his only care in the world is figuring out how the Boston Celtics can improve and win games.

Stevens made that mindset abundantly clear prior to Wednesday’s matchup with the Atlanta Hawks after he was asked about the second half of the team’s schedule, which was released this afternoon. Boston faces a five-games-in-seven-days stretch right out of the gates during the second half, and will play eight back-to-backs over 36 games – an increase of one such set from its first half of the season, which seemed borderline impossible.

Stevens said that he got his first look at the schedule three days ago and has only looked at it once, for good reason.

“I’m getting peppered with questions about travel and game times and all kinds of stuff,” Stevens said. “Like, I’m just trying to figure out how to guard Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Like, somebody else can figure all of that crap out.”

That “crap” Stevens is alluding to is the minutiae of the schedule, which coaches around the league typically dive into during the offseason. Every now and then a coach will see a draft of the schedule during July or August and ask the league for a tweak. For instance, he might think the tip-off of one game doesn’t seem fair given recent travel, or that one particular stretch of the schedule seems a bit too heavy. The league will listen and sometimes make alterations.

Those worries are at the very back of Stevens’ mind, however, in the middle of the season. He has never dealt with a schedule release mid-season before, and it sounds like he never wants to do so again. He and his team are far more concerned with what it will take to get back on track and win some games, as they’re currently caught in a stretch of 13 losses over their last 20 games.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he said, “and I assume we’re just playing great players, and I assume we’re basically playing every night. So I don’t really even care.”

Amid normal circumstances, every coach in the league would care deeply about the challenges of their upcoming schedule. As we all know, this year is far from normal.

This year, teams – from coaches to players to support staff – need to have their heads down while concentrating on one thing and one thing only: playing and winning games.

- Marc D'Amico


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