The Boston Celtics, the no.1 seed in the Eastern Conference, find themselves in a 0-2 series hole heading into their Game 3 showdown with the Chicago Bulls on Friday at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. For John Tomase of WEEI 93.7, the outcome of the next 2-4 games will determine the fate of head coach Brad Stevens as to whether or not he keeps his job at the end of their postseason campaign.

Stevens, the man who transformed the Celtics from a 25-win team three years ago to a 53-win powerhouse in the Eastern Conference, could lose his job in an instant. That’s a fact, especially if he doesn’t find a way to stop the battle-tested Bulls from further embarrassing his team in the best-of-seven series, according to the Celtics’ beat writer.

Honeymoon period is over

Tomase cleared that he is not taking for granted the accomplishments Stevens has achieved in four seasons with the Celtics. However, he thinks the coach has been given a grace period long enough for him to perform in the postseason. Sadly, he hasn’t proven anything yet.

“The coach has cracked the code when it comes to winning over the course of 82 games. The question is what happens when the season condenses to a series of seven-game encounters and the rules change. So far, he has come up empty, Tomase stressed in his piece.

Under Stevens, the Celtics racked up 40 wins in 2014-15, 48 in 2015-16 and 53 in 2016-17. As impressive as it looks, Boston has never gone past the first round as they were manhandled by far more experienced teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Atlanta Hawks,

The narrative is still the same for Stevens and the Celtics two games into the 2017 playoffs.

Chicago’s experience and rough playing style pose all kinds of problems for the pace-and-space, perimeter-dependent Celtics. Not even last summer’s biggest acquisition, Al Horford, could bail out Boston in the pivotal battle of the boards (114-93 for the Bulls).

Time to step up

Despite the lackluster performance in the first two games, Tomase is aware the series is far from over.

Stevens (2-10 in the postseason) can still save his job by picking up his players’ lost confidence and showing them how to punch the Bulls in their guts.

The Celtics might be the second top-seed teams to fall into a 0-2 hole, but the odds still bode well for them. In the history of the NBA playoffs, 29 of the 32 team that came back from that deficit and win the series went on to capture the NBA championships.

Numbers don’t lie, but it’s still up to Stevens and the Celtics to prove it.

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