Photo: Indy Star
Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big story line. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
“Butler is by far (my family’s) favorite team, and I heard earlier (when I was introduced) that I was born and raised a Hoosier; I was born a Hoosier, but I was raised a Bulldog,” Stevens said to a crowd of about 200 donors, staff and children assembled at the club’s basketball court. “It felt like it was the best culture that you could ever work in in sports. … Ultimately, it was almost an impossible place to leave.”
Though he did end up leaving for the Boston Celtics in 2013, the Zionsville native couldn’t pass up an opportunity to come back home and speak at a fundraiser for the club where he spent time playing basketball growing up.
Stevens covered a wide variety of topics in a 30-minute Q&A session co-emceed by Board Chairs Rob Schein and Chip Barnes (who was Stevens’ former high school basketball teammate), telling stories from his youth sports days, to his time at Butler and his four seasons in Boston, where expectations are sky high.
Among other miscellaneous interesting nuggets, Stevens revealed that “Ms. Pac-Man,” of all things, is a staple of his game-day rituals. He said his wife, who was in attendance along with his parents and children, bought him an old “pizza parlor machine” a few years ago, and he has been hooked ever since.
“I play ‘Mrs. Pac-Man’ for 10 to 15 games as a break between video,” Stevens said. “And then I go on my jog, and go about my daily routine, but I make sure to get my ‘Mrs. Pac-Man’ game in at home every single day. 10-15 minutes (of video games) isn’t that bad, tell your parents you’re good.”
August is so dead in the NBA that even Brad Stevens is taking time off, but only to do the most Brad things.
Of course he went back to the small town (population 26,784) where he grew up. Of course he helped the Boys & Girls Club. Of course he told everyone how much he misses Indiana (while making it clear he’s in Boston to stay). And of course he shared that he’s mildly addicted to a video game that was released 35 years ago.
Hold up – that last one was a surprise. But it’s such a “Dad” thing, and we don’t call him Dad Brad for nothing. Stevens is a down-to-earth, humble guy in public and, by all indications, in private too. He clearly has a special ability to connect with all sorts of people, from NBA superstars to the youngest kids asking him questions on a Saturday afternoon at a local gym. I’m pretty sure Brad is the favorite father of all his kids’ friends – and would be even if he wasn’t coach of the Celtics.
In the four years since Stevens came to Boston, the Knicks have had four head coaches. Hiring Brad away from “an impossible place to leave” was obviously one of the smartest and most productive moves Danny Ainge has ever made.
On Page 2: Washington spin
Now that hindsight has set in, both Wall and Brooks looked back at Game 7 on the day Wall’s new supermax contract was announced earlier this month. The prevailing takeaway was that yes, Wall was tired but they feel good about the effort they put forth.
“In the third quarter, like three minutes in, I asked coach for a sub and he was like ‘no, you’ve gotta play.’ I was like ‘oh s—.’ This is gonna be a long night for me,” Wall said.
“Game 7 was not the way we wanted it to end, but I definitely went out swinging. I didn’t go 0-for-0. I went 0-for-11. I shot the ball and played the game I wanted to play. At least I wasn’t being passive. I was aggressive like I was the whole playoffs. I can deal with losing that way and use that as motivation for this season coming up.”
“Going into that game, it was either you move on and you advance or you stay home. So, I was going into the game knowing he was going to play high minutes, probably not the 24 straight in the second half. But I look back at it with no regrets. I look back at it like we were right there with the No. 1 seed in the East on their court. I thought we had about four or five minutes of not-good basketball that probably cost us the game,” Brooks said.
CSN Mid-Atlantic – John Wall, Scott Brooks look back on Game 7 loss to Celtics with no regrets
The Wizards are right at home in Washington, D.C., where everyone excels at spinning the truth to their needs. Credit to Wall for acknowledging his 0-11 finish, but he and Brooks had their talking points down pat: They tried hard. They were happy to come close to the top seed in the East. They felt satisfied because they gave it their best shot.
Good job, good effort.
In hindsight, maybe Wall shouldn’t have jumped on the scorer’s table at the end of Game 6. Then maybe he’d have had some energy for Game 7’s fourth quarter. You know, like Isaiah Thomas did. And I sort of remember the series as being more intense than Wall and Brooks let on.
Anyway, the Christmas game should be more of the same, and probably one of the highlights of the season. This writer agrees:
WIZARDS VS. CELTICS, 5:30 P.M. ET, ABC — A
I love this matchup. The Celtics and Wizards took their rivalry to comical heights last season, with funeral games mixed in with hard screens and some extremely flagrant fouls. Their seven-game playoff series was the best of the most recent postseason. These teams have a healthy dislike for one another, and it translates on the court. Both the Wiz and the C’s are lurking as usurpers for the throne in the East, and they would love nothing more than to tear down each other along their fight to the top. Plenty of stars will be involved as well—John Wall, Brad Beal, Isaiah Thomas and Boston newcomer Gordon Hayward to name a few. Expect both of these teams to try to make a statement on Christmas Day.
Sports Illustrated – Grading the Best and Worst 2017 NBA Christmas Day Games
And, finally: What’s your rating?
The NBA2K ratings are important not only to video gamers but, especially, to the players themselves. Tatum is just asking a question here, although you can get the sense he thinks he should be higher than 77. But least the rook isn’t issuing ultimatums to the 2K crew, like some people.
By the way, Jae Crowder doesn’t like his rating. To no one’s surprise, he’s taking it personally.
Related: Forbes – ‘NBA 2K18’ Will Feature All-Time Teams And 16 New Classic Squads
The Rest of the Links:
CBS Sports – Jabari Bird: Agrees to two-way deal with Celtics
Sports Illustrated – Luka Doncic Is Europe’s Next Big Thing