Brad Stevens could brag. He could flaunt his success at the face of the media and his peers. He could talk about how great his team is, and the incredible job he’s been doing so far this season.
Heck, the Boston Celtics were supposed to finish at the bottom of the NBA, and obtain a top-5 lottery pick at the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, right?
Capped off by what many are coining the “Manhattan Massacre,” a 114-73 trouncing of the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, Stevens’ Boston Celtics sit atop the Atlantic Division by 1 ½ games. Though they are only 10-12 on the year, what the Celtics have managed to do has been good enough in a poor conference. Indeed, it has surprised many.
"What Boston came in here and did was an embarrassment," Carmelo Anthony said. "To lose like that on our home court, I think everyone should be pissed off right now."
Still, Stevens remains reserved, focused, and humble.
"I'm not doing cartwheels," Stevens said. "[Celtics players] know I'm not going to do cartwheels ... I just said, 'Keep being a team and keep playing together.' The other thing is that we need to keep building off the good things we are doing."
Stevens also took the luxury of laying some proverbial wisdom down on all willing to listen, stating that the Celtics have a lot of work to do.
"Never as good as you think you are, never as bad as you think you are, and you're never far from either," Stevens said of his team.
These comments came after a day in which the Celtics shot 54%, while the Knicks shot a dismal 34%. The Celtics outrebounded New York 46-26, while sinking 14 three-pointers to the Knicks 6.
Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge hired Stevens during the offseason. So far, so good for the former Butler head coach.
Because of all this, Stevens did have some sort of praise for his team inside of him. However, it came with a word of caution.
"I've already learned in this league, you can be on the good end or the bad end of [games like this]," Stevens said. "We were lucky today to be on the good end. Everything we did will get over-exaggerated, everything they did will get over-exaggerated, but the bottom line is, we just played better today for 48 minutes."
Then he masked his compliment with another challenge for his team.
"And we played almost 48 minutes, which is good,” said the Celtics head coach.