Boston Celtics head coach Brad Stevens got a much-needed spark off his bench in Game 1’s loss to the Brooklyn Nets, but if the Celtics plan on evening up their best-of-7 series Tuesday before heading to Boston for Game 3; Stevens knows he’s going to need more from his core on both ends of the floor.
Jabari Parker supplied 9 points on 3-of-6 attempts from the floor, 4 rebounds, one block, and one assist in 22 minutes off the bench in the Celtics’ 104-93 loss, they now trail the Nets, 0-1 in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal matchup.
Celtics’ Kemba Walker On Jabari Parker: ‘It Was a Really Strong Impact’
But, for point guard Kemba Walker, what stood out most about Parker’s play on Saturday were the intangibles.
“I thought his energy was great,” Walker said during his media availability, Sunday. “His attention to detail. Everything that we wanted and talked about in the scouting report, he did it. He kind of poses a different threat for us. He can get downhill. He can play in the post. He can make great passes out of the post, he’s smart. He’s been around a lot of basketball.
“It’s good to have him. I’m happy he made that impact (Saturday) night; it was a really strong impact. So, hopefully, he can continue to do that.”
Brad Stevens On Celtics’ Defensive Switching: ‘Jabari (Parker) Has Real Size’
For coach Stevens, Jabari’s presence also resonated on the defensive end of the floor.
“I thought he was pretty darn good, and I think one of the things when you start thinking about how you’re going to guard Durant and Harden and bigs, and all that stuff,” Stevens said after the Celtics’ loss, Saturday night. “And obviously Irving, but we did a lot of switching. So, obviously, Jabari has real size and he’s long.
“I thought he did a good job today on both ends.”
For a team that averaged 118.6 points per game — per Teamrankings.com — throughout the regular season, the Nets were held to just 104 against Boston. Still, although the Celtics did a stellar job of weathering the offensive storm of superstar trio Kevin Durant (32 points), Kyrie Irving (29 points), and James Harden (21 points); that’s not going to help you score points.
Celtics’ Brad Stevens On Game 1: ‘I Felt Really Good About How We Needed to Play’
The Celtics, who are without All-Star Jaylen Brown, barely cleared 90 points — which is 22 points shy of their regular-season average (112.6). Stevens is going to need to get creative on his offensive approach.
“I think obviously we got to score the ball better,” Stevens said during his media availability, Monday. “And got to attack our switching better.”
Still, Brad is encouraged by his team’s play in Game 1.
“I felt really good about how we needed to play,” Stevens said. “I felt we did that, especially on the defensive end. But, we weren’t as good, offensively, and I think we knew what we needed to do but have had two more days to really hone in on that. But also, the other team is doing that, too.”
For a coach in the midst of his sixth consecutive postseason, Stevens certainly knows a thing or two about constantly making adjustments throughout the course of a best-of-7 series.
“Anytime you’re in a playoff series, I think it’s really important that you are anticipating what they might do different or what they’re thinking about,” Stevens added. “Obviously, I felt we played good defense but I think the whole time we have to score more than 110 (points) to beat these guys on a normal night. I think that’s where we have to be better, offensively and we have to bring that same energy level, that same competitiveness but be alert to different things they’re doing, different spacing they’re doing, different screening angles they do.
“They’re really good at that. I give them a lot of credit.”