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Stevens: Defense Has To Continue To Be Celtics' Calling Card

BOSTON (CBS) -- The Celtics enter Wednesday night's game against the Denver Nuggets winners of three straight and six of their last eight.

While their defense has been strong for most of the season, it seems like the Celtics' offensive play is catching up as of late. The C's are coming off back-to-back blowout wins on the road over the 76ers and Wizards, scoring a combined 228 points in the two games, and have hit the century mark in each of their last nine games.

But for Boston to enjoy any kind of success this season, Brad Stevens knows his team will have to continue to play hard-nosed defense. Stevens joined 98.5 The Sports Hub's Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday for his weekly call into the show, and said suffocating defense has to continue to be the team's calling card.

"We've been a top defensive team all year, that really only took a dip was earlier this month. I felt like when we came home... we had a chance to really talk about getting back to our defensive DNA and let everything else take care of itself. We've emphasized simple things, just trying to do those a little better, and we were fortunate to win the three games this weekend with all the travel and weather. It gave us a chance to re-center ourselves on what is going to win.

"Defense has consistently given us a chance [to win], so we have to make sure that continues to be our calling card," said Stevens.

Stevens also touched on the Cleveland Cavaliers firing head coach David Blatt last week, despite the team sitting in first place in the East and fresh off a trip to the NBA Finals last season.

"It's certainly frustrating from a coaching fraternity standpoint. When you're a new coach to the NBA there is a learning curve to the league. I felt so much better at this time last year than my first year, because I was a year and a half in," said Stevens. "[Blatt] is a real good coach who did a lot of good things through the playoffs, and was probably just going to get better and better because of familiarity to the NBA."

Stevens said it's not easy to adjust to the NBA's 82-game schedule, and thinks Blatt should have no problem finding another head coaching job if he wants one.

"You think, without question, he'll be even better the next chance he gets, and that's a scary thought," said Stevens. "He'll find another gig soon if he wants to."

Stevens also touched on Boston's small lineup and the opportunities it has opened up for the team:


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