Brad Stevens on Celtics’ early season struggles: ‘We have to build a tougher team mindset’

Brad Stevens thinks the Celtics need to be tougher.

Boston was expected to be one of the best teams in the NBA entering the season, but it has registered just a 9-7 record so far in 2018-19. Stevens, the sixth-year Celtics’ coach, discussed his team’s early struggles with reporters after a 12-point loss to the Jazz on Saturday.

“I think there’s a lot of things that it could be, but at the end of the day, you know, you build confidence through doing hard things over and over and over, because that’s your focus,” Stevens said (via NBC Sports Boston). “That’s your intent. Your job is your focus. You know what you’re supposed to do.

“We have to build a tougher team mindset than we have. I mean, we just don’t have that mindset yet that we need.”

The Celtics had won back-to-back games over the Bulls and Raptors before falling to Utah at home. Boston forward Gordon Hayward said the team has to “find ways to be good every night.”

“I felt like, we found a way to win (Friday) night (against Toronto),” Hayward said. “It was an emotional win for us. Great teams bring it the next night. So, we have to be better.”

Hayward has averaged 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game in 2018-19 as he continues to recover from a broken ankle that cost him almost all of last season.

The Celtics will return to the court when they face the Hornets on Monday.