The Celtics expect Jae Crowder to play with a chip on his shoulder. (Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports)
Listening to Brad Stevens before Friday’s game with the Sixers and you get the distinct idea that Celtics didn’t mind Jae Crowder being ticked off by the cheers for Gordon Hayward Tuesday night at TD Garden.
They could’ve just done without him taking his frustrations to social media.
“I think the chip on your shoulder thing is a good thing in a lot of ways,” Stevens said. “Jae talked about it again [Thursday]. I think the one thing that he said he wishes he wouldn’t have taken it to Twitter late. But at the end of the day, we’ve prioritized guys with chips on their shoulders and guys that really want to be good and believe they can be really good and work the right way because we think that’s contagious.”
Danny Ainge also indicated on the team’s flagship station Thursday morning that he wouldn’t mind Celtics fans cheering opposing team’s players if it’s going to inspire Crowder to greatness on the court. Stevens indicated he thought Crowder would not miss a beat and continue playing well.
“I would think fine,” Stevens said. “Yeah, I mean I would think fine. And he said his part [Thursday] and we’ve talked about it a lot. So, our focus since right after media was over [Thursday] was on the Sixers and getting ready for tonight’s game.”
Crowder is averaging 13.3 points, five rebounds and 2.3 assists this season.
Fingers crossed: The Celtics will be without back-up big man Tyler Zeller for two more games as he battles to return from a stomach bug that sent him to the hospital on New Year’s Day.
“Tyler is out for the next two games,” Stevens said Friday. “He got on the bike [Thursday]. He’s going to work out again today but he’s still pretty under weather. Jordan Mickey’s got it now so he’s out. That’s it for now. James Young continues to be out an ankle sprain.”
Stevens was asked if he was feeling OK. “I’m good, knock on wood,” the coach quipped. “Same precautions everybody else takes, right. Wash your hands and cross your fingers.”
What about a quarantine for Isaiah Thomas?
“It’s all part of it,” Stevens said without missing a beat. “You go and see any game that’s played in the NBA right now, somebody’s been sick. You just move on with who’s available.”
All-Star push: The Celtics continued their social media and media relations campaign to get representation on the All-Star team this February in New Orleans. Friday’s focus: Avery Bradley. The guard is averaging career-highs in points (17.8), rebounds (6.9), assists (2.4) and 3-point percentage (40.8). Of course, Bradley is considered the Celtics best defensive player as well. Stevens was asked Friday if a player’s defense should factor in the selection of such honors as All-Stars and player of the month.
“Should be half because that’s half the game but that’s not the way those things are chosen,” Stevens said.