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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Brad Stevens responds to talk of Celtics players tuning him out

Brad Stevens

The Boston Celtics have played some of their worst basketball in years over the past few weeks, and naturally reporters have asked Brad Stevens if he has any answers. One line of thinking is that players have begun tuning Stevens out, but the head coach does not believe that is the case.

Stevens was asked during an appearance 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Zolak & Bertrand” show on Thursday if he feels players are ignoring him. He acknowledged there is frustration but said he is not losing the locker room.

“Certainly you’re going to go through times of the year where guys are frustrated with their own individual experiences,” Stevens said. “You’re not gonna play more than five guys at a time and you’re not gonna play more than eight, nine, sometimes 10 guys in your rotation when fully healthy. So there’s always going to be something, right?”

The Celtics have lost five of their last seven games, and three of those losses came against bad teams. They’re now 14-14 on the season, though that is still enough for 5th in the Eastern Conference.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge appeared on 98.5 The Sports Hub earlier on Thursday, and he too was asked about the idea that players are tuning Stevens out. He emphatically dismissed it.

“Absolutely not. That is ridiculous,” Ainge said. “I just think that’s the culture of sports and sports reporting. It’s a common theme; it must be this if you don’t show up to play or show up to play with the intensity and motivation it takes to win. I don’t see that at all.”

Even if Stevens still has the respect of all of his players, there must be some reason the Celtics are struggling. They’re simply too talented to be a .500 team.

Kemba Walker made some troubling remarks after a recent loss that reflect poorly on the coach, so that may have contributed to the narrative that Stevens is being ignored. Whatever the case, the Celtics need to play better as a team. They stand virtually not shot in the postseason with the way they have played as of late.

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