Brad Stevens can’t stop praising Nets

Posted on

No amount of criticism is going to make Celtics coach Brad Stevens stop praising the Nets.

After coming under fire over the past two days on the sports-talk airwaves for saying it’s “hard to see” the Nets not winning the NBA title, Stevens doubled down Thursday on casting the 17-time NBA champion Celtics as little David facing Goliath, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving in a first-round playoff series.

“There will be some tip-your-cap moments: Nice shot and go on the other end and score,” Stevens said. “You aren’t going to hold these guys to 90 [points]. These guys are a high-octane offense. You have to guard them as hard as you can and go score on the other end.”

Stevens coached Irving for two seasons before the guard left the Celtics to sign with the Nets as a free agent in June 2019. Irving infamously told Celtics fans he planned to re-sign but later cited a chance to return closer to his West Orange, N.J., roots and make a community impact for his reversal.

“He is a super special player with a really good heart,” Stevens said. “I certainly don’t have anything negative to say at all. He’s a guy who puts you on your heels when you play against him and has impacted winning in so many ways wherever he has been.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens
Getty Images

Nets forward Joe Harris confirmed he is ready to go after missing the final three games of the regular season with a left gluteal strain.

“I feel fine to be honest, and I’m ready to go come Game 1,” Harris said. “It was kind of an unusual sort of injury, nothing in particular that really stood out. It wasn’t even painful by any means. It was just one of those things where I had a little weakness in the hip, in the glute area, and I’m back close to 100 percent right now.”

Harris won his second career NBA regular-season 3-point shooting title, connecting at a 47.5 percent clip.

“It’s just a by-product of the work that has been put in,” Harris said. “I pride myself on being an elite shooter in this league, so those are the marks I’m trying to reach.”

Harris made just 19 percent of his 3s in a playoff series loss to the 76ers in 2019, but that was before the Nets’ Big 3 arrived to make his life easier.

“I’m sure they don’t want to give him any free looks,” coach Steve Nash said. “He’s one of the best shooters in our game. Having said that, it’s a little trickier when you have three guys out there that can break the defense down. That’s the beauty of our team.”

Nets center Nic Claxton is making his playoff debut with some margin for error because of the defensive athleticism and rebounding he provides in a series where the Nets could be at a disadvantage otherwise.

“I think we can suffer some mistakes out of him due to inexperience,” coach Steve Nash said, “because of his skill set.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *