CLEVELAND -- Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens finished fourth in the coach of the year balloting.
Stevens received two first-place votes (five points), four second-place votes (three points) and 28 third-place votes (one point) to finish with a total of 50 points. Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer (513 points) won the award, which was announced Tuesday. Golden State's Steve Kerr (471) and Milwaukee's Jason Kidd (57) rounded out the top 3.
"It’s very nice when you talk about stuff like that and I don’t want to diminish how honored that you are to be in that discussion," Stevens said of his fourth-place finish before Tuesday's Game 2 against the Cavaliers. "Other than that -- I’m not big on the postseason [awards]. I think we all try to do our jobs to the best of our ability. I’ve learned from all 29 other coaches in this league and there’s no way you can appropriately rank them."
Stevens landed on 26.2 percent of the 130 ballots cast by sports writers and broadcasters. His two first-place votes were submitted by ESPN's Mike Tirico and Los Angeles Clippers broadcaster Ralph Lawler.
It's a respectable finish for Stevens, who had downplayed his candidacy, joking, "I wouldn't vote for me." Stevens believed the award should go to coaches of teams with the best records and, in Budenholzer and Kerr, the two top teams in each conference were well represented.
Stevens finished one spot ahead of San Antonio's Gregg Popovich (38 points), a coach he has often expressed an admiration for. Popovich was the only coach other than Budenholzer and Kerr to receive more first-place votes (three) than Stevens.
Asked what it meant to finish ahead of Popovich, Stevens quipped, "That's bad voting."
The Celtics finished 40-42 and earned the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. That was a 15-win improvement after Boston posted a 25-57 record in Stevens' first season.
The last Celtics coach to be named coach of the year was Bill Fitch during the 1979-80 season. Tom Heinsohn (1972-73) and Red Auerbach (1964-65) also won the award as Celtics coaches.