How Brad Stevens' cool demeanor sparked a crazy comeback in front of Celtic legends

One of the more interesting aspects of the Celtics rise back to relative national relevance is the simply arithmetic some have made to explain away Boston's current standing in the league:

Perceived lack of talent plus success and results must equal great coach.

And while that could all be true, those who have closely followed the last three seasons understand there's so much more to Brad Stevens possibly being among the best five coaches in the NBA. Whether it's accentuating the strengths in players rather than worrying about their weaknesses or the amazing creativity and attention to detail on his ATO plays, it has long reached a point where others in the coaching fraternity have tried to replicate.

So coming off of back-to-back double digits losses, what does Stevens say at halftime to a team entering the locker room having played its worst half of basketball all season?

Down 24 to Miami after the first 24 minutes of play, what does Stevens say to a team that was utterly embarrassed in front of an arena flooded with Celtic legends (and one legendary football coach)?

Apparently, according to Isaiah Thomas, it certainly wasn't a Knute Rockne impression. Via Chris Forsberg,

"Brad sat down in the chair and he talked real quiet," Thomas said. "You could tell he was upset, but he was basically like, 'Figure it out. You guys are playing real selfish, not just offensively, but the defensive scheme is real selfish. Everybody is hugging their guy and we need to play as one and get ourselves together and get ourselves out of whatever funk we're in.' And we did that. We kept looking at each other telling ourselves we're going to win this game, we're going to make a comeback and just believe, and that's the special thing about this team."

Stevens was straight to the point. Via Marc D'Amico,

“We just sat there (at halftime) and talked in this (calm) tenor and said, ‘Who do we want to be? There’s guys sitting around this building that hung banners,’” Brad Stevens said before continuing, “’How do you want to play? How do we want to feel about ourselves?’”

Honesty soaked in coolness, not the typical bombastic coach outrage. That quiet candor has been a real staple of the Stevens tenor from the very beginning and his players respond.

It's why, given his reaction, a game-winner against the two-time defending champs is just another day in the park. It's how you build a mid-major college basketball program into a national championship contender. It's how you turn a rebuild into a winning culture.

Photo Credit: Brian Babineau

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