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Team’s Grit Has Taken Celtics To Conference Finals

by Daniel Gerbick on Thursday, May 10th, 2018

al horford bosotn celtics The Boston Celtics are proving to be a fierce team in these playoffs.

On the way to the Eastern Conference finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers not one of their players has been afraid to shoot or venture outside their proven skills set, which is something head coach Brad Stevens has demanded from them since Kyrie Irving’s knee surgery.

The Celtics give maximum effort every second of the game. Nurturing such a strong culture, while returning just four players from last season’s playoff team is both an enormous challenge and accomplishment.

It starts with general manager Danny Ainge drafting tough players. The drafting of such guys can have an exponential effect on a team’s collective toughness.

These Celtics inspire each other to play with grit and give it all for each other, something that has to be attributed to Stevens. If Ainge does a great job picking the players for the team, Stevens does an even better job coaching them and shuffling their playing time.

Because as much as people applaud Stevens’ demeanor and his play-calling genius, he is also known for demanding the best from every player on the court. With him it’s simple, if his players don’t play hard they come out.

The players feel he supports them 100 percent even though he holds them and himself to almost impossible standards and that is a really hard balance to achieve.

The Celtics are not a charade either. Stevens, Ainge and the players have all managed to create an environment of serious, hard and consistent work. After all toughness and mental strength without talent don’t get you very far in the NBA playoffs, but if you combine it all you get a team that seamlessly combines to play almost perfect basketball.

Boston is a team that makes fewer mistakes than almost any opponent. They are huge and versatile on defense. They move their pieces around yet still they continue to perform in sync to close their opponents’ windows of attack faster than anyone else.

The Celtics’ greatness on defense this season lies in their composure under pressure. The Celtics are a team that makes almost no coverage mistakes during clutch-play situations.

Some of that poise comes from having confident and mature players leading the way. Some of it is Al Horford settling the team down and some of it comes from Stevens and the calm demeanor he shows under pressure.

Boston has home-field advantage so it would be no shock to see them advancing to the NBA Finals, but even if Boston’s playoff run ends against LeBron James and the Cavs, they won’t back down so don’t expect this series to last less than seven games.

 

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