Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he’s not “putting a lot of weight” into comments made by Chicago Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg after Sunday’s Game 4 when Hoiberg suggested that Isaiah Thomas is impossible to guard because he discontinues his dribble.
During a conference call on Monday, Stevens offered praise for Hoiberg but noted that the best players in the league are difficult to stop because of their talents.
“It’s not my place to worry about what somebody else is saying. Again, I’m not putting a lot of weight into that,” said Stevens. “There’s a reason why the best scorers are really hard to guard. In Isaiah’s case, it’s not any different than some of the other better scorers. He’s got a tremendously high skill level, tremendous change of pace. He’s just a hard guy to guard. He’s a hard guy to keep in front of.
“After each and every game all season and before each and every game, there’s a reason why [opposing] coaches are asked, ‘How do you contain [Thomas]? How do you keep Isaiah from doing what he does?’ It’s just a really hard thing to do.”
After Thomas scored 33 points in Boston’s Game 4 win on Sunday, Hoiberg vented while noting, “When you're allowed to discontinue your dribble on every possession, [Thomas] is impossible to guard.”
Stevens was asked during a conference call Monday if he would ever express similar frustration in a press conference setting.
“I’m not going to say what I would or wouldn’t do with regard to what somebody else chooses to say. Anytime you’re in front of the podium you have the right to say whatever you want to say, but ultimately I’m not putting a lot of weight into that,” Stevens said. “I think Isaiah’s one of the best scorers in the league. Like the other really good scorers, he’s hard to guard because of his skill, his change of pace and his explosion. If you go through the guys in the league that are hardest to guard, there’s a reason they’re hard to guard.
“I think highly of Coach Hoiberg. I’ve known him for a long time. Whatever he wants to say is his prerogative, and I’m focusing on our team and coaching our team.”
Thomas likewise dismissed Hoiberg’s comments when asked after Sunday’s game.
“That’s not the reason why I’m an impossible cover,” Thomas said. “It is what it is. I guess [Hoiberg is] going just keep saying it. But I’ve been dribbling that way my whole life. I don’t know what to say to that.”