Brad Stevens spoke about the close games that have eluded Boston this season. It's tough for us watching at home, or for some in the garden. But for Stevens on the sideline, prepping the team, and spending almost every waking moment getting ready for one game. It's tougher than you and I know. This is his passion, and his life to some degree. He's shown little frustration this season, but at the same time he's shown his hatred for losing and his desire to win.
You can make the case that, with a few more fortuitous bounces and clutch play, the Celtics would be spending these final days of the 2013-14 season competing for a playoff spot in a downtrodden Eastern Conference rather than jockeying with the likes of Orlando for prime lottery position.
With five games remaining, Stevens would like nothing more than for his team to show progress by finding a way to win any remaining games that go down to the wire.
"In the big picture, what bothers me and what I'm going to study and get better at is we have had some opportunities to win the close games," Stevens said. "I think there's a lot of factors that have ultimately played into why, but it's been fairly inconsistent.
"Sometimes it's one thing, sometimes it's another. But at the end of the day, those are the ones that drive you nuts, and I've got to spend a lot of time looking at them, and spending a lot of time trying to fix it over the next five games."
Call me naive, but I think this team is still mentally the 12-14 team that was in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference. Too many determining factors hurt this team along the way. Some injuries here and there. With a couple of trades in the mix, and a rookie coach with a star point guard returning mid-season. This season was more than the playoffs. It was never about that. It's always been about learning, and teaching, plus building chemistry. Which I think the Celtics have come close to doing.