That's What He Said – Cavaliers at Celtics

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston’s 104-117 defeat to Cleveland.

Click on a player or coach to reveal quotes from their postgame press conference.

RE: Coach, just general thoughts on that firstquarter
blitz that they put on. It seemed like from
that point out you guys were just fighting an uphill
battle.

Yeah, and I thought you never want
this to happen, but I felt like that zapped us on the
other end a little bit. You know, we missed some
makeable opportunities. They did a great job of
attacking the paint, and it was clear that those guys
had really emphasized that.
We need to do a better job on both ends of the court so
that we don’t dig ourselves that hole.
I was really encouraged by the last 18 minutes of the
game and some of the things that we did, and I know
that we have to play a lot better at the start. You can’t
dig yourself a hole like that against them.

RE: You started the game or the first half 2-for-16
from beyond the arc. Was that more of you guys
just missing open shots or was that something
they were doing defensively?

We’ll go back and grade them all like
we always do, but there are some that I can remember
vividly that were just one of those things; you miss
some shots.
But against these guys, you’ve got to be really good,
and we can’t settle for the tough ones because it
seems like every time you settle for a tough shot or
you’re turning the ball over, they turn it into points on
the other end. So we need to do a better job of making
sure we’re always taking the right ones. But part of the
way that we’re going to play our best is if we’re spaced
and the ball is moving, they converge, and we’re going
to have to kick it out and make some of those.

RE: Brad, something like six or seven of LeBron’s
first baskets were right at the rim —

He made it clear, it was very clear
that he was trying to get to the rim on us no matter who
was on him.

RE: Is that something you guys have to change in
the way you cover that?

Yeah, I think we’ll have to adjust a
little bit. Now, there are certain — he’s a pretty physical
guy. He’s got some physical advantages on people.
But we need to do a better job in a lot of ways. I don’t
always think it’s the guy that’s guarding him
necessarily. It’s what guys are doing around him —
being active, being long, being deceptive in help, all
those other things. This is easier said than done
because those guys are all guarding shooters. So who
do you help off of? Who do you come off of? Once we
started helping and over-helping a little bit, Love goes
nuts in the third quarter.

RE: Jaylen had another big night for you guys,
especially on the boards. Just what did you think
of his impact and just the poise that he’s showing
on this stage?

Yeah, there are a couple things
about him. I thought he played well. But I think it also
was very evident that athletically he’s just a special
athlete. He can do things that other guys can’t do,
whether it’s offensive rebounding or getting to the
basket or whatever the case may be. We need some
of those things, so I would expect him to continue to
play a large role for us in this series.

RE: Talk a little bit about just the start of this game.
It seemed from the jump you guys were kind of
fighting uphill against these guys. Aside from
LeBron James, what were some of the keys to
them getting off to such a great start?

I think their energy level was by far
higher than ours to start the game. They set the tone
to start on both ends of the court to start the game,
and we started playing catch-up from there. I think
we’ve got to come out and play a little harder and more
aggressive on both ends of the court to start the game.

RE: Jae, primarily how tough is it to guard LeBron
one-on-one when he’s going downhill, he’s getting
a head start? How tough is that, and how can you
guys make it difficult for him and for Love in Game
2, because both of them were able to be effective?

Yeah, obviously he’s a great scorer,
and when he gets going downhill, he just has to see
bodies. I have to do a better job of being up to touch
on him, being on the ball, making it tough for him. But
he has to see bodies behind me. We have to do a
better job of showing help early, then getting out and
spreading out to the shooters so they won’t be a factor
in the game.
We’ll watch film and try to adjust to it and give him a
different look, obviously. He got comfortable with what
we were doing on the defensive end and he had his
way. So we’ve got to switch it up and come with a
different game plan.

RE: Jae, you and I have talked quite a bit this year
about you being a key portion of when you guys
play a small ball lineup. During this game you
guys did that during the second half. Seemed like
you found a little bit more rhythm. What did you
see that changed for you guys when you did go
small?

Yeah, I think we were able to
capitalize on how they were defending the pick-androll,
especially with Isaiah being the primary ball
handler. We were able to make reads and play it
simple and keep it very simple because we know we
can get any shot we want against these guys. It’s just
about us keeping it simple and getting our reads and
making the right play.
But we’ll take the good from the second half and try to
watch film on it and get better and prepare better for
Game 2.

RE: Jae, when LeBron is out there, how do you
balance deciding whether to double-team and knowing there’s so many shooters around him?
And do you think kind of he feasts on single
coverage if he sees it sometimes?

Yeah, I think he does a great job of
surveying the defense, being a point guard and getting
what he wants. But we have to do a better job of
showing our help defense early instead of late and
being in scramble mode. We’ve got to be early in our
spots and then get out to the shooters, and not be
playing from behind. It was just all about some little
tweaks and minor things that we’ve got to get better at
on the defensive end to make it tougher on him.
I think we’ll do a better job Game 2. But he’s a tough
scorer when he sees things in single coverage,
obviously, and I think he’s just got to see help defense.
From there, we’ll be fine.

RE: Brad was just saying how Jaylen’s athleticism
could play a big impact for you guys in this series.
What did you think of impact tonight and what are
your expectations of him moving forward?

He played well tonight. I think we
went small, and he was a key factor in being able to
switch and play against everybody on their team on the
perimeter. I feel like he will be key moving forward in
Game 2. I think he brings a lot of athleticism to our
team, and we’re going to use it against these guys.

RE: I know you guys probably don’t want to address
it, but was there an emotional letdown after the
Washington series and having to start this series
one day later?

I don’t think so. They were the
better team tonight. They hit us first. They were more
physical. Like Jae said, on both ends of the floor. And
that was the difference. With a team like that, the
defending champions, you can’t let them hit first. We’ll
make sure it’s different on Game 2.

RE: The combination of those guys coming out
hard, LeBron, and then you guys missing a bunch
of shots, open shots, how difficult was that
combination really to overcome?

It was big. I mean, we got the shots
we wanted on the offensive end. Almost all of the first
half we got what we wanted; we just couldn’t capitalize
on it. And I think that was a big reason why our
defense was let down as well. It’s tough to continue to
keep playing hard, even though we need to, when you
don’t see shots fall, and we can’t let that happen again.
But I think that was a big reason why we had a letdown
in that first half.

RE: You credited the athleticism of the opposing
team, but to what do you credit the amount of time
off that they had in their performance tonight, so
many nights off, so many days off versus your one
day off?

You’ve got to give it to them. You’ve
got to tip your hat to them. They were the better team
tonight, and they had more energy than us. I mean, it
was obvious. They had a week or two off and we just
went seven games. We can’t use it as an excuse, but
they hit us first and they were the more energized team
tonight. There was a reason for that.

RE: Isaiah, how would you assess what the Cavs
did, how they guarded you tonight? Did they do
anything that surprised you, or were you just out of
rhythm in the first half?

No, they didn’t do anything. They
played how they played throughout the season. I just
missed shots, didn’t get a rhythm. But next game I’ll
definitely be more aggressive to make plays, get in the
paint and make stuff happen. But they didn’t do
anything like the Wizards were doing or what the Bulls
were doing. They kind of played how they normally
play.

RE: LeBron scored at least 35 in five straight games and at least 30 in seven. What does just that say about him, or have you seen anything like this?

He’s playing at a high level right now, and that’s the reason why we’re riding him so much. He’s really setting the tone for us in these playoffs. It started the second half of the season. I really thought he hit a great stride offensively, and it’s carried over into the playoffs. We’re just kind of riding it, and Kevin and Kyrie and everybody else is just filling in. Tonight Kevin was huge for us. A few games ago and all the other games, Kyrie has been huge for us. Korver has been big for us. When LeBron is playing at this level, other guys just have to be solid and I think we’ve got a good chance of winning the game. Let’s see if we can just keep this up.

RE: Coach, why did you go with [Richard Jefferson] instead of Channing Frye tonight?

I don’t know. We talked about it before the series. Today is Channing’s birthday, and he knew he probably wasn’t going to play, and he said that’s OK. He understands. It’s all about winning, it’s all about match-ups. R.J. came in and gave us a great lift. It’s all about sacrifice when you want to win.

RE: They were coming off of an emotional seven-game series, and you came out on the attack. Was that something that you guys talked about at all, without revealing too much?

Yes, we wanted to get off to a great start. This crowd is unbelievable, so we wanted to come out early and try to take the crowd out. I thought we did a good job of that. I thought it started with our defense. I thought defensively we were really active, really rotating, doing a good job. When we’re playing defense like that and we’re able to get out in transition and run, we’re tough to beat. That was Game 1, but we did a good job of coming out, throwing the first punch.

RE: The Celtics looked much less confident to run their high pick-and-roll than they have in past series. Was one of the objectives to really be physical up top and try to take them out of their usual offense?

Well, we know Isaiah is dangerous, and when he gets going, the crowd really gets into it, their team gets into it, and it opens up a lot of things. When you try to take him out of the series and try to make it tough on him, you’re going to give up some shots. In the third quarter, Crowder made a few shots. Gerald Green made a few shots. But our main objective was to make it physical on Isaiah, try to take him out, and we did a good job of that. So when you try and do that, you’re going to give up something.

RE: Right now would you say this is the most
comfortable you’ve felt in your entire career?

It’s too hard to say. Just trying to
make plays for myself, make plays for my teammates,
keep the defense off balance throughout the course of
a 48-minute game. The coaching staff and my
teammates do a great job of putting me in a position to
succeed, and I just try to come through for them every
night.
Tonight was another one of those games where I made
a couple plays to help us get a win. But it was
definitely our two bigs that set the tone. Kev [Love] and
Double T [Tristan Thompson], they were phenomenal.

RE: LeBron, by my count they put about eight
different defenders on you. When you’re having
success no matter who they’re putting on you, do
you think that does anything for you momentumwise
or does it defeat them when they’re trying so
many different options and none of them are
working?

I don’t think it’s no momentum. I
pretty much know how many guys I’m going to see
throughout the course of a game. I know the guy that’s
going to start on me. I know the guy that’s going to
shift off onto me if a sub happens or if they go small or
if they go big. For me, the only thing on my mind is
how we can execute the best way we can and get a
bucket in this possession, either if I can get myself a
shot or if I can drive, get my shooters a shot, or if I can
get a double-team in the paint or get to the free throw
line.
It’s not an individual matchup for me, no matter who’s
in front of me. My mind is always racing on how I can
make this the best possession at that particular time.

RE: LeBron, I know you study the game the way you
do; are you setting up Kevin to get the best out of
him from perhaps back to his Minnesota days?
And Kevin, is this as good as you’ve felt in terms of
your comfort zone, year three with the team?

Well, for me I saw that in Kev this
morning. I knew what type of game he was going to have. I mean, he came through for us. We want the
mentality of Kevin from Minnesota, but his usage rate
don’t have to be as high as Minnesota. Obviously we
all know that he was a featured guy pretty much every
possession going down the floor, and here that’s
changed a little bit because we have other guys. But
his mentality needs to stay the same as Minnesota,
and I think as he continues to get even more
comfortable and comfortable — tonight was one of
those instances where every time he got the ball, it was
a small guarding him or somebody was in the post, he
was aggressive. He grabbed every rebound for the
most part with him and Tristan in the paint, and he was
very aggressive with his shot. He also got to the free
throw line 10 times — well, nine. So definitely that
mentality from Minnesota is what we all love.

RE: LeBron, how did you manage with all the days
off kind of keep the discipline day in and day out,
and Kevin, too, with all the time you guys had off
and making sure the momentum was still there?

We put in a lot of work. We put in a
lot of work. Coach gave us a couple days off after we
closed the series in Toronto, but after that we’ve been
on the practice court or in the weight room training as if
we were playing.
There’s no way you can substitute a game. We all
know that. But the work that we put in this week, we
just tried to be as up to speed as possible when the
game did come. Tonight was just another opportunity
for us to implement our scheme. Our coaching staff
gave us a great game plan, and it was up to us to go
out and execute it.

RE: LeBron, you’ve had a lot of playoff moments
here in this building, some great moments for you,
some disappointments, as well. There seemed to
be a relentlessness or a ruthlessness in your game
and in your approach tonight. Is that for you? Is
that for your teammates? Or is that for the
opponent?

Well, I think it’s the mindset that you
have to have when you go on the road for a Game 1.
You can’t start the game off lax or shooting a bunch of
jump shots. That’s my mindset. We’ve got guys that
can shoot the heck out of a ball, and obviously Kev
showed that tonight. But for myself, I have to be in
attack mode and just put the pressure on the defense
and see what happens. I was able to do that and kind
of just set the tone early on what we needed to do.
Once I started to see the defense start to crack in, then
I started to find my shooters.
I don’t even think we played that great tonight. We
definitely didn’t shoot the ball as well as we’re capable
of shooting. I know Kyle had three or four very, very
good looks that he missed when we had a good
stretch. But I think the energy and the effort and the
mindset was where it needed to be starting on the
road, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals.

RE: Kevin, you’ve obviously played here a bunch
since Game 4 of 2015, but just because it was a
playoff game and you played so well, did you have
any flashbacks to that night?

No, I was just mentioning, I didn’t even
think about it. It wasn’t something that really crossed
my mind.
Having been hurt a couple years ago in the playoffs in
the first round, I didn’t get a chance to play in the
Eastern Conference Finals when we were on the road.
So tonight we really got off to a great start. It was a
great atmosphere, and more than anything else,
focused on that and our game plan.

RE: Social media is making a big deal of this. I was
wondering your thoughts: It looked like Isaiah
tried to grab your ankle there when he was kind of
laying on the baseline. Did you see that, and if you
did, did you think it was malicious in any way?

On what play?

RE: There was a play where he was on the ground
and it looked like he tried to grab your ankle as you
were going away.

Yeah, I mean, I didn’t see it, truthfully. I
don’t know the play.

RE: Kevin, what does it do for you to get featured
the way you were to start the second quarter? You
told us in the off week that the numbers don’t
matter as long as you guys win, but when Ty says
he’s going to go to you and then he goes to you,
what does that do for you?

He just inserted me in a different lineup.
Whether it was Bron, Tristan on the short roll or Kyrie,
those guys playing downhill, they were finding me. But
it was really a group effort. Bron said it, we wanted to
come in and set the tone and dictate the game, and we
felt like we did a good job of doing that.
As far as that second quarter, I thought I got a lot of
great shots and was being aggressive in the first, so it
wasn’t just me. I felt like everybody was moving the
ball, passing the ball well and, like I mentioned, on both
ends of the floor our game plan was pretty tight.

RE: Ty said before the game that with the strategy
that you’re using defensively, you’re going to give
something up, and sometimes it’s going to be open
shots, and you have to be okay with that. How do
you get to a point or what does it take to be okay
with giving up uncontested shots at times?

I think that’s kind of been our blueprint is
we’re just taking the ball out of — whether it’s the first
option or second option’s hand, and making other guys
make plays. We know that they have a number of
guys, that they’re well-coached as well, they’ve got that
next man up. They have a lot of skill guys, a lot of guys
that can shoot the basketball, a lot of guys that can
score in bunches. We felt like, as Bron mentioned, we
came in with a great mindset on the road, a great game
plan, and just tried to make other guys make plays,
maybe put them in uncomfortable situations. But more
than anything, defensively we have the next-man-up
mentality. We always have our brothers’ backs, and
second, third and fourth efforts for us.
Tonight we were pretty good on the defensive end. As
Bron said, we felt like we could have played better, and
there’s some things we’ll look at tomorrow that we’ll be
better for Friday.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *