Houston Rockets head coach Kevin McHale won three championship rings with the Boston Celtics in 1981, 1984 and 1986, but that didn’t stop him from beating his old team 104-92 at TD Bank Garden on Monday night. The loss was the Celtics’ ninth in a row—halfway from matching their longest losing streak—an 18-game slide during the 2006-07 season.
After trading away Paul Piece, Kevin Garnett and former head coach Doc Rivers, the Celtics essentially went into the 2013-14 season in rebuilding mode. The transition was further cemented with the hiring of Brad Stevens out of Butler University last summer, making him the youngest head coach in the NBA at age 36.
Stevens, now 37, holds a 13-26 record thus far in his early NBA coaching career. He’s had to make use of a lineup that is without All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who may return soon after tearing his ACL almost a year ago on January 27, 2013.
Coach McHale had a soft spot for the team he played thirteen seasons for when asked about the Celtics’ current growing pains under the guidance of Coach Stevens.
“He’s done a good job,” McHale told The Boston Globe. “There’s going to be a learning curve. There’s a big difference (between the NBA and college). What I really remember is playing and having some coaches come in from college and they were just like, ‘Wow. Where’s the practice time?’ And, ‘All these games . . . the game is so different and it’s managed different.’”
“It’s vastly different, but I think he’s done a good job. I talked to (Celtics General Manager) Danny (Ainge) for a while last summer when he was making his decisions. I think (Brad) is someone that Danny can really talk to. I think they have a good relationship, and I think there are going to be some growing pains.”