Stevens says praise he has received for Celtics' success is 'silly'

Brad Stevens would rather not receive praise for the Boston Celtics' play this NBA season.

Boston finished 2017-18 with a 55-27 record despite losing All-Star Gordon Hayward in their season opener. But many experts predicted an early playoff exit for the second-seeded Celtics after star guard Kyrie Irving suffered a knee injury in late March that required two surgeries.

Boston, however, topped the Milwaukee Bucks in seven games and easily handled the Philadelphia 76ers to advance to the Eastern Conference finals, where they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in game one on Sunday.

Many have said Stevens is the major reason for Boston's postseason success. But, he said his players deserve all the credit.

"It is silly," Stevens said (via ESPN). "The praise is uncomfortable, and it's just something that these guys should be getting it all. We all have a role to play, and we all need to play that role as well as we can."

Stevens has led Boston to back-to-back seasons of 50 or more wins and four straight playoff appearances. Celtics center Aron Baynes compared Stevens to Gregg Popovich, who has won five championships and three Coach of the Year awards with the San Antonio Spurs.

Baynes, who is in his first season with the Celtics, played for Popovich in San Antonio from 2012-15.

"They're both great coaches. There's definitely a similarity between them," Baynes said to ESPN. "They definitely have their own methods as well. There are some comparisons but in a lot of ways they are their own coach, and I'm just lucky to be able to learn from both of them and [I'm] still learning from Brad a lot."

The Celtics will face the Cavaliers in game two on Tuesday.

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