WALTHAM, Mass. -- A short while after his team had fumbled away a 22-point lead and lost their home-opener to the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens elected to relive a nightmarish second half by watching the game film in his office at TD Garden.
Stevens cut up all the necessary clips and was ready to open Saturday's practice with film review that would hammer home all the mistakes Boston made. Then he trashed that practice plan.
"I decided I wasn’t going to do that today with these guys," said Stevens. "I thought it was most important to address a couple things in a quick huddle and then move forward because they are all hurting from the loss. There are different ways to react to it, individually and collectively. But the one thing we can’t do is let it affect us tomorrow."
Stevens had said after Friday's defeat that he wanted losing to bother his young team, but didn't want that frustration to linger. While Stevens said he didn't hear some of the strong comments from veterans like Gerald Wallace and Jeff Green lamenting Boston's second-half effort (or lack thereof), Stevens knew his team took the defeat hard and didn't want to dwell on it.
Instead, the Celtics engaged in a light 50-minute session on Saturday afternoon at HealthPoint before flying to Detroit for the first end of a back-to-back on Sunday against the Pistons.
With his mind on Detroit (and Memphis right after that), Stevens patiently reflected on Friday's second-half collapse against the Bucks. He noted he's fine with veterans sounding off, so long as the team reacts to it constructively.
"At the end of the day, guys are going to often times say what they feel, and they are also in the heat of the moment," said Stevens. "It's a competitive game, and we were frustrated that we didn’t finish the game out yesterday. I didn’t see any ill effects of that today in practice. Which was really good."
Wallace, who called his team selfish after Friday's loss and questioned whether players were content to pad their stats rather than play as a team, was still upset at how Boston played. He said Milwaukee "basically wanted the game more than we did." Asked if that was tough to swallow, Wallace didn't hold back again.
"Especially us. We got a lot to prove," he said. "Nobody is expecting us to do anything. We should always be walking around with two chips on our shoulders. We should go out every night and try to prove, instead of being happy or settling for a 20-point lead, we should have tried to push it up to 40-point lead. Nothing against Milwaukee, but try to make a statement to us as a team."
Asked if the team had moved on from Friday's game, Jeff Green offered a firm, "Yup." Green said the team has to be better at fighting through adversity.
"There are ups and downs, momentum swings, and just fighting through when things not going your way," he said. "I think that’s probably the toughest thing -- you’re not going to play a perfect game, you’re not going to make every shot, you’re going to turn the ball over. You just gotta figure out a way to play through it."
Even after Wallace and Green were critical of the team's effort on Friday, Jared Sullinger said the team simply has to learn from the situation and move forward.
"That's just our teammates speaking up and just seeing what they see," said Sullinger. "You can’t really take anything personal. Once you start taking things personal, that's when people fall apart. We understood what was said in the media. We're just going to move forward from it as a team -- not individually, but as a team we're going to move forward from it and understand that they're just voicing their opinion. So hopefully it helps our team out."