That's What He Said – Celtics at Cavaliers

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston’s 111-108 victory over Cleveland.

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

RE: They were in control 77-56 in the third quarter.
What changed at that point to allow you guys to get
back in and then eventually get the win?

I really felt like in the first half we
played way better than the score. Maybe there was a
couple of shots we could have challenged better, but I
was hoping that the law of averages would kick in at
some point. Some of those shots were just incredible. I felt like we started slow in the third quarter, and it was
disappointing because I felt like we could get back in
that thing. I thought both teams were a little sloppy at
that point, and then our guys were better toward the
end of the third. It goes back and forth in the fourth,
and we’re lucky to win.

RE: Was it defense or offense do you think really got
you back in this and won the game?

Well, we’re not going to win unless
we score the ball, but our defense was pretty good all
night. And I know that sounds crazy, but like on a lot of
Love’s shots, on Kyrie Irving’s shots, I thought our
defense was pretty good all night. There are things
that we’ll have to look at and do better, but we were
pretty connected, pretty locked in. That’s why I was
disappointed at the start of the third quarter. But the bench did a good job, specifically Jonas
Jerebko, of lifting us at that time.

RE: A lot over the course of Marcus’s career has been made about what a poor shooter he is, but he always seems to hit them late. What did you see of that tonight?

I think we talked about it Monday. We can talk about his shooting all year long, but you know when it’s in a big moment, that kid is going to rise to the occasion. He just always has. That’s one of the reasons why if he goes through a funk at some time in March, shoot yourself out of it, and we believe in you, and let it fly. Because in this moment when we needed him the most, he made huge shots. He was terrific tonight.

RE: You’ve talked about it before with this team, but in this case, the way the first two games went, not
having Isaiah, down 21 with six minutes left in the third, what did you see from them on the bench? What was the mood, and how do they stay so resilient when there’s every reason to not be?

When we won here last year, we were down big. When we had a chance to win earlier this year, we were down big. We’ve been in that situation before. We were playing way better. I don’t know how to phrase it other than that. We were playing way better. We were getting good shots on offense and playing with great purpose, and on defense I thought we were much better than the score indicated. I think that when you play better, you feel better. And you just kind of stay the course.

RE: Did you get a sense the guys realized that and felt that as you’re down 21 —

Well, I know they don’t listen to very much that I say, but I try to say it as much as possible because I felt that way. I felt like it was by far the best first half we’ve played, and it could have easily been a four-point game instead of a 16-point game.

RE: First couple of games you said that when things
weren’t going right, you guys seemed to get down,
seemed to deflate a little bit. Marcus seems to get
the opposite attitude when those situations arise.
How did that affect how you were able to come
back tonight just him getting angry?

Yeah, I don’t know if it was angry. I
thought he was really purposeful all night. He’s
competitive, spirited, but played with good poise. He
was tremendous, and I thought our other starters
played really, really hard. I thought Avery didn’t have a
great shooting night, but he played as hard as he could
on the other end of the floor. Jae Crowder guarding
LeBron is a handful. And then Al had his moments,
especially in the fourth quarter — he made big plays for
us. But Marcus just kind of led us. One of the things about
Marcus is he’s going to play regardless of the score.
Like you mentioned to me, he’s going to compete, and
sometimes he’ll try to hit home runs because that’s —
and then we talk about those after the game and we
always say, and it’s true, those are his greatest
strengths. He is a true competitor. He’s a tough guy. And the other one that we haven’t talked about, I just
thought Jerebko was huge. This whole postseason for
us has been built on the next guy that hasn’t played
that much being ready and kind of helping take the
whole team to a new level.

RE: I was going to ask about Jonas. He came in
middle of the third quarter and the 21-point deficit
erased pretty quickly. What did he do to unlock the
side-to-side offense for you?

I thought it was that, but also he’s a
spacer — being able to kick out and knock down those
shots. But more important than that was the energy on
defense. He blocked a shot, got a couple of rebounds,
kept balls alive. We just needed just a little jolt. I do think there are times guys that haven’t played quite
as much, there’s a real energy and desire to go out and
put it all out there. Sometimes you get gassed early,
but he’s done a good job of staying in shape and
staying the course. Without Gerald, we don’t win the
Chicago series. Without some of our bench play in
Washington, we don’t win. And then Jonas tonight was
a huge reason why we won.

RE: They had 14 threes in the first half. The second
half Tristan Thompson just kind of dominates the
offensive boards. The free-throw disparity, you had
a lot of things go against you. When you win it’s
usually Isaiah hitting a lot of threes, but tonight it
seemed to be different. How did you keep the guys
from getting discouraged, and can you describe
your personal emotions, although you don’t show
any visibly, when Avery’s shot went in?

The first thing I’m thinking about is
are they going to call timeout. If not, get back, get set,
and then when you see it’s 0.1, there’s not much you
can do at 0.1. So you think about that first, and then,
sure, you get excited with the guys in the locker room.
But again, I would have just preferred that ball to
bounce just a little longer and just end it. The first part of your question, we hit more threes than
they did. It’s a long game. We hit 18. These guys are
Rev #2 by #242 at 2017-05-22 03:38:00 GMT page 2 of 3
tremendous players, and so tremendous players hit
tremendous shots. But the first half was kind of like
Game 2. It was like oh, my gosh, this is a little bit
unbelievable. It’s like a video game what’s going on. And so maybe the law of averages worked in our favor
a little bit.

RE: Avery, could you walk us through the last play,
how you came to be so free?

I think it was the play called by
Brad Stevens. He did a great job of putting us in the
right position, forcing them to have to help and not be
able to switch. Al Horford made a great screen and
Marcus Smart made an even better pass, and I was
able to knock down a shot. It was a great play by Brad.

RE: We spoke before the game and you told me that
Marcus Smart lives for these moments. What can
you say about his game?

He was aggressive from the
beginning of the game. That’s what we needed him to
be. A lot of people counted us out with Isaiah not
being here, and he is a big part of this team. But
Smart took this opportunity to come out and be
aggressive on both ends of the floor and make plays
for our team. He was able to do that tonight. We need
Smart to play that way all the time. He’s a very good
player. We know he’s capable of having big games for
us on the offensive end, and I think it’s definitely going
to give him confidence for the rest of the series.

RE: Avery and Marcus, you just mentioned Brad’s
after-timeout plays. He had a couple others before
that one. What’s the feeling coming out of the
huddle after Brad draws something up as a team of
what you guys are going to be able to do,
regardless if the ball goes in or not?

I think that one of the good things
about this team is we’re able to believe in whatever
Brad draws up. If it’s a good play, bad play, whatever it
is, we all believe in it. I think that always helps because
you’re able to just read and react after that. One of the
plays that he drew up when Jonas Jerebko hit the shot,
it was for me to lay the ball up. But it was a play that I
knew that if they helped, Jonas would be wide open,
and he was able to knock down his shot. Those are all
plays that Brad makes, and then it’s our job to go out
there and make sure that we make the next right play.

RE: First couple games when they made plays, made
shots, you guys seemed as a group to deflate a
little bit.
But how much does Marcus’s attitude, when things
go like that, he seems to get more pissed off, how
did that help?

I think it helped us out a lot.
They’re going to make plays. It’s our job to make sure
we’re out there playing basketball, not complaining.
That was the main thing for us tonight. The foul count
wasn’t where we wanted it to be. We can’t complain
about that. We can’t control that. All we can control is
the way that we play. I kept telling everybody that we
can’t complain, because it’s hurting us on the offensive
end because you’re thinking about it. You just have to
go out there and play the game of basketball. If we
continue to play that way and stick together and play
hard no matter what adversity we go through, I feel like
we’re going to be the best team that we can be. It
showed tonight. We had a few times down the floor where we were
complaining, and it ended up hurting us on both ends
of the floor. But we got over it and we were able to
stick together at the end of the game and make some
big plays. I think it started with Marcus Smart, how
poised he was at the end of the game. He was able to
get us in our sets and make the right play, make some
really big plays for our team tonight.

RE: Avery, on that play, what was the point where
you went from the layup and seeing the Cavs
collapse on you and then making the kick-out to
Jonas? What was going through your head?

I knew LeBron was going to help. I
knew I was going to suck the defense in, and it was my
job to act like I was going to lay the ball up, and kick it
out to Jonas. I told Jonas to make sure he was ready.
I wish he shot a three. But I’m just happy for Jonas.
He was prepared and ready to shoot the ball, and he
made some really big plays for our team tonight. He
made the most of his opportunity. Jonas went games without playing, and now he was
able to come in and make some really big plays for us
tonight. I just want him to keep being ready to shoot
the ball, because we’re going to make sure we find
him.

RE: Avery and Marcus, you just mentioned Brad’s
after-timeout plays. He had a couple others before
that one. What’s the feeling coming out of the
huddle after Brad draws something up as a team of
what you guys are going to be able to do,
regardless if the ball goes in or not?

Definitely. It’s not easy with a game
like that to come up with a great play. You’ve just got to
commend Brad for that. He does a great job night in
and night out, and like Avery said, whether the play is
good or bad, it’s on us to react. He puts us in the right
position to succeed, and it’s on us to follow through
with it. He made a great play, Al made a good screen,
Jae made a great cut and Avery did his job.

RE: I’m
sure you guys were really down about Game 2,
then the Isaiah blow on Saturday, but then to come
back and do this — can you describe how you guys
got yourselves together to be able to do this?

Definitely. I said it before: We
definitely miss Isaiah. Him leaving after the first half
and we’re really not knowing what’s going on, and then
we get our heads smashed in, and you look up into
those rafters and see those fans that have been with
you all year and their heads down and talking to you, it
was embarrassing. You wanted to do it for those guys.
IT sending out a text and letting us know he’s not going
to be with us anymore, that was devastating. He’s a
big key to this team, not just to this team as a player
but as a human being. He’s a great person and
everybody gets along with IT. We lost our brother who
couldn’t be in this battle with us.
We understand it. We thank him for it. But he just kept
talking to us. We can still do it. Everybody else
counted us out. We kept believing in ourselves. We
came in tonight into hostile territory and did our job.

RE: They’re in control this series, they’re in control
of the game in the third quarter, up 21. What
changed at that point? How were you guys able to
find whatever it was deep down inside and come
back and win this game?

It was just us. Everybody in this
locker room on this team has been told we couldn’t do
something or had somebody that really didn’t believe in
us. We just kind of put that together all in one, and we
just, like Avery said, told each other no matter what
happens we’ve got to be the hardest-playing team. We
just have to go out there and play. That’s what we did.
Everybody kept believing in one another, and the
biggest thing we did tonight is we didn’t argue with
each other. We argued with each other a little bit in
those two losses back at home, and that really hurt us.
Tonight we were just really positive with one another.
We came out, and Brad, whatever he drew up, we tried
to go out there and execute it to the best of our ability,
and shots started falling for us.

RE: Marcus, you’ve known for the last 24 hours that
this moment was coming and that you were going
to start this game. Not to say that you prepared
any differently, but you had to have had some
different thoughts going through your head leading
into this game as opposed to a regular one when
you’re coming off the bench. Can you walk us
through what your thoughts were and what your
mindset was coming into this game?

Really just coming in I just kept
telling myself, you have nothing to lose, just go out there and play. You’ve been working hard throughout
this whole year on your game. Just let it flow and let it
show. These guys and the coaching staff did a really
good job of just encouraging me, especially when my
shot hasn’t been falling. Free throws, missing those.
They’ve just really been on me, staying on me to stay
positive and keep going.
Coming into this game, I just really wanted to stay
positive with myself and make sure that I could do
everything that I could do to help my team, whether
that was scoring, passing the ball, playing defense,
whatever it was. Tonight I had a great shooting night,
and that was huge for us.

RE: On your last defensive possession, it seemed
like Iman and J.R. ended up — I think it was on
Crowder, and then Avery got open. What happened
with your guys’ defensive execution?

Coming out, we were going to switch 1
through 5. They ran like a point-loop action, I call it,
and Crowder curled. Then the switch got confused,
and we didn’t get a chance to switch out. Then Horford
did a great job of pinning Tristan so he couldn’t get out
to the shooter.

RE: Before the game I asked you about protecting
big leads and the third quarter —

You jinxed us. Yeah, that’s fine.

RE: What happened? You were up 21 in the third
and you don’t protect it and you end up losing.

Turnovers. Turning the basketball over,
offensive rebounds. We had some stops at times and
couldn’t rebound the basketball. A lot of fourth-quarter
turnovers that gave them life.

RE: LeBron has been so good in the playoffs.
Tonight, only 11 points. Was it something they did
or just an off night for LeBron?

I mean, he’s human, so he’s going to
have a night like this. He didn’t shoot the ball well, and
we still had a 20-point lead. A game we should have
won, but they played hard. They scrapped. They have
a scrappy team. We knew that coming into tonight.
We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we got some things
we can correct and come back ready to go on Tuesday.

RE: You guys have had problems during the regular
season when opponents’ best players go out and
you don’t probably play as well as you would think
you would in that situation. Did this feel like a
regular-season game for a variety of reasons? It
kind of felt like what you struggled with at times
during the regular season.

It felt that way early. Then we jumped
out to the 16-point lead at halftime. I thought early in
the third quarter we really started playing decent, and
then it just kind of was a snowball effect. We had a few
turnovers. Marcus Smart made seven threes tonight. I
just think physically we weren’t as physical as we
needed to be defensively. They got some open shots
and moved around freely. They made a game of it, and
then down the stretch they made a big shot.

RE: You guys were up 21 points. What happened?
What factors led to Boston coming back at you?

Momentum. We didn’t continue to
press the tempo. Marcus Smart started to hit a lot of
threes. They started to get momentum, and that’s what
happens — you give a team a life. They played so
freely without IT, and they just made play after play
after play, and we couldn’t weather the storm.

RE: You had a tough second half with just three
points. What were some of the factors that led to
that? Were you as aggressive as you wanted to
be?

I had a tough game, period. Not just
in the second half. Me personally, I didn’t have it. My
teammates did a great job of keeping us in the game,
building that lead. But me personally, I didn’t have it.
That’s all I’ve got to say about my performance.

RE: Was there a sense of surprise or shock or what
have you in the locker room afterward, just given
how well the first two games had gone and that
Isaiah was out?

No, it’s never that. We’ve been
playing so well, but like I said, you let a team grab
momentum like that, you almost knew that that last
shot was going to go in. It was like, you already knew.
As soon as the ball went out his hands, you kind of
knew that shot was going to go in because of how the
game was just played throughout the second half.

RE: Did they mix up the coverage on you from what
you had seen in the first two games?

No, no, they didn’t mix up the
coverage. They did a good job of sprinting back,
leveling to the ball, doubling me a little bit more in the
post. But like I said, my performance personally was
all on me.

RE: Tristan, when LeBron has a night that’s atypical,
how do you guys respond as teammates as the
game is going on?

They threw different looks at
him, but we’ve got to get better as teammates. We’ve
got to pick it up and play better. But it wasn’t about the
scoring. We scored enough points to win the
ballgame. It was defensively. It doesn’t matter what
Bron’s numbers were tonight. Defensively, we’ve got to
be better. It starts with multiple efforts, taking the
challenge one-on-one and making those adjustments
and just playing harder.

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