Is it any wonder the stock of Brad Stevens as a coach of the year candidate has heated up down the stretch?

It was drilled home when Jaylen Brown’s basket with three-tenths of a second left Wednesday night gave the Boston Celtics a 97-94 win at Utah.

All of these injuries and absences have highlighted Stevens’ ability to rub two nickels together for a dollar. Al Horford and Marcus Morris each missed two games during their current five-game winning streak, and Kyrie Irving, Marcus Smart, and Daniel Theis have joined Gordon Hayward in the ranks of the long-term injured.

So does Stevens deserve to be the NBA’s coach of the year?

“Without a doubt,” an understandably biased Brown said. “Just what we’ve been able to accomplish so short-handed. A lot of our starters have missed over 10 games and we’ve still got 50-plus wins. If anyone deserves it, it should be Brad.”

The Celtics finished off their 14th comeback from a double-digit deficit, tied for second most in the league.


“I think it starts at the top with Brad, but then the makeup of our locker room,” said Brown. “We’ve got a lot of tough, talented, resilient guys. Terry (Rozier), Shane (Larkin), Guerschon (Yabusele), (Abdel) Nader, (Aron) Baynes, JT (Jayson Tatum). Go top to bottom, Semi (Ojeleye). We have a lot of tough, mentally tough guys.”

76ERS: All-Star center Joel Embiid has a concussion and will need surgery for an orbital fracture of his left eye.

Teammate Markelle Fultz was driving toward the basket Wednesday against the Knicks when he appeared to accidentally head-butt Embiid.

There was no timetable on how long Embiid would be sidelined.

LAKERS: Former Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas will need four months to recover from arthroscopic surgery Thursday on his right hip.

The two-time All-Star will be a free agent after this season. He averaged 15.6 points and 5.0 assists in 17 games with Los Angeles, which acquired him from Cleveland in February.



PISTONS 103, WIZARDS 92: Andre Drummond scored 24 points and pulled down 23 rebounds, and Detroit won at home.

Detroit was missing power forward Blake Griffin, who was a late scratch because of an ankle contusion.

HEAT 103, BULLS 92: Josh Richardson scored 22 points as Miami trimmed its magic number for clinching a playoff berth to one with a win over visiting Chicago.

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