Stevens: Celtics have ‘a lot of room to grow and get better’

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Justin Quinn
·3 min read
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Looks can be deceiving, and while the Boston Celtics may be at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with an 8 – 4 record, in truth the team is a couple of lucky plays, tip-ins and near-misses from being a .500 team.

When asked what he thought of his own team and also in contrast to the Philadelphia 76ers — who, despite their early struggles, have crept back into the top of the East as well — the former Butler chief did not pull any punches. Instead, speaking to the media post-practice Tuesday, he offered some withering praise likely meant to inspire greater effort and poise than was seen in Sunday’s 105 – 75 blowout at the hands of the New York Knicks.

“I think we’re okay,” he began. “I’ve been around a lot of good teams here, some teams that went far in the playoffs, and I think we’re okay. I think we’ve got a lot of room to grow and get better.”

“I think we’re fortunate to be where we are from the standpoint of our record. Can we be better? Yes, I think so. We just have to keep working towards that. I’m encouraged by the fact that we have are getting contributions from a number of people. Although I think that we’ll be searching for consistency with the Sixers, the Sixers are a really good team. They have been for the last few years. Obviously, [Joel] Embiid and [Ben] Simmons are special. They’ve surrounded those guys with really good players. The guards are playing great; [Tyrese] Maxey, [Shake] Milton — they’re having a great year.”

“Tobias Harris is a really good player, obviously, and on down the line, so they’ve got a really nice team — and that was surprising I’ve started the way they started,” Stevens finished.

If the Celtics take the floor with anything less than their “A” game on Wednesday (and again on Friday as the two teams wrap the two-game away mini-series) as they did in their home game against New York, it’s all but certain it will translate into a loss.

And despite the joy of seeing Kemba Walker back on the floor and the growth of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum as players, even with the growth from the bench, the road ahead for the club will be a rough one.

Mercifully for Celtics fans, Stevens is also right that this team can be much better — if it wants to be.

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Boston Celtics Week 5 power rankings: Kemba Walker's return

OddsMoney LinePoint SpreadTotal Points
Washington
+190+6.5O 232.5
Boston
-233-6.5U 232.5