- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens joined The Mike Lupica Show on ESPN New York on Friday for a lengthy segment on Friday with plenty of Eastern Conference playoff chatter.
The segment did open with Stevens reflecting on the 2013-14 season and enduring 57 losses.
"[Losing] is really hard, there’s no doubt about it," said Stevens. "Our guys competed to the end, our guys prepared to the end, I thought our staff worked with them hard to help continue to develop them, also help to prepare them for each and every last game. In this job, what you do, you do your best, and you learn along the way, and you try to grow along the way. That said, a couple times towards the end of the season -- we’ve got to get better in a lot of areas.
"But I’ve got a long list of things that I’d like to do better myself and I think that’s something that you do regardless, if you lost a lot of games like we did, or if you had a great run and you came up a little short like we did at Butler multiple times. You always do an end-of-the-season self assessment and take time, when you step back and get away from the night-in and night-out grind of the season to really analyze it. The last couple weeks, that’s what I’ve done. I’m obviously eager for Sept. 30 to hit again, because I really feel like I can do a lot of things a lot better."
Stevens also looked back on simply being the outside-the-box selection to helm Boston after Doc Rivers' departure last summer, and the pressure of playing in a championship-driven city.
"There are very few opportunities like the Boston Celtics that present themselves," said Stevens. "After the initial shock, it was, 'OK, I need to really think and analyze and go through this.' I knew that, looking at this year, I was called in the midst of the [Kevin] Garnett and [Paul] Pierce trade, so I knew those guys weren’t going to be around, I knew this was going to be a very young team, I knew we had a lot of moving parts with regards to the fact that we had four guys coming from Brooklyn that had never played with the six or seven returning guys, and we had three or four new rookies. I knew it was something we were going to have to work with and it was potentially going to take some time.
"But at the same time, it was the Boston Celtics. And I can’t tell you how impressed I’ve been with the organization , with the people at the top of the organization, the ownership, Danny [Ainge] and his staff, and our fans have been unbelievable. Our last few home games of the year, we're not even in the playoff race, and it was sold out and loud and rocking and really amazing. And as I watch now, the Bruins playing in the playoffs, and I got a chance to be here for a Red Sox World Series championship already, and a Patriots AFC championship appearance -- you just feel giddy about what living one of those experiences here in Boston."
Stevens also talks about the Pacers' Round 1 struggles, the Raptors pushing Brooklyn to the brink, an early exit for the Bulls, and the success of the Spurs.