- Chris Forsberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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BOSTON -- Boston Celtics first-year coach Brad Stevens got a veteran staffer to hitch a ride to the Garden with him on Monday and arrived more than five hours before tip-off for the exhibition opener against the Toronto Raptors. Asked if he took any time to savor the moment in the quiet time before his first game as an NBA coach, Stevens apologized for being so boring.
"I had to see where my seat was," he quipped. "It’s great to see the basketball arena setup. It’s the first time I’ve been here since that’s been set up. We’re looking forward to it. I kind of chuckled because Toronto shot around in here today, some of our guys haven’t been in here yet. I’m looking forward to a game, as are our guys ...
"That was it. I hate to be so boring and bland. But I was just looking for where we sit and how I get out there. I still have to figure out which door goes out [to the floor]. On my way out, hopefully someone will direct me. Obviously, you’re excited about a new season. I’m a basketball guy, I like basketball, I like the games itself. I love practice, but I love the games. Yeah, you feel a little bit more energy, for sure."
Meeting with reporters a little less than two hours before tip-off, Stevens -- not surprisingly -- said he had no nerves before his debut.
"No, not really. I’m anxious to see how we play," he said. "Anxious to see how we compete and do all the little things and play against somebody else. I think the biggest thing is having the opportunity to get some film against somebody else right now. That’ll be nice."
For Stevens, it's more than his NBA debut. It's his wife Tracy's birthday and his two children will be in attendance to celebrate both moments. The scenario that will be repeated against the Raptors again later this month.
"Our first exhibition game here is her birthday; our first regular-season game is [son] Brady’s birthday, so it’s a pretty good combination," Stevens said.
Asked if he got his wife something nice, Stevens joked he got her tickets to the game.
"Pretty good seats too," he said.