Click on a player to reveal quotes from their postgame press conference.
RE: How the Celtics finished the game, from the fourth quarter on:
“I think we played 32 really good minutes in regulation, and then 16 – I mean, the end of the first, they had 31 points with 7:30 to go in the first half and ended up with 52 for the half. And we just – we didn’t look the same. Start of the second we didn’t look the same. After that I thought we were pretty good. And, you know, we all know we have to get better at playing more consistently, but it takes a lot to come back and win against this team when you’re down 10 in the late third, early fourth.”
RE: Ability to run ball through Gordon Hayward and play Kyrie Irving off it:
“Well we were just trying in regulation, obviously, Kyrie was – Kyrie was rolling and bringing it down. They started to up the heat on him a little bit, there at the end, and so wanted to give him a chance just to post and really just to get the ball in space and have space. And I thought everybody did a good job. You know, Gordon made good plays, (Jayson) Tatum made really good plays, Al (Horford) made a big shot when they collapsed on Kyrie. So, we had a lot of guys doing a lot of things and we needed it. Because that’s a heck of a team. And then (Marcus) Morris, I thought, did as good as you could do against (Kawhi) Leonard late. Leonard’s a heck of a player. Oof!”
RE: If Hayward’s 15-5-5 is more indicative of what people can expect to see:
“He’s a good player. And there’s going to be a curve. I think that 15 on eight shots is pretty good when you consider how much we’re asking him to handle the ball and make plays for others, but you know, I think he’s – I think he’s done a lot of things in the last couple of weeks where you can see those – those steps are being made. And it’s just a matter of feeling good again. Thirty-nine minutes is a good step in the right direction, as far as just his confidence. And, yeah, go from there.”
RE: How Irving’s ability to attack the paint changed the offense:
“We need to do a better job attacking the paint, period. I thought Tatum made a couple of good plays late again, but Kyrie’s ability to get in there is so unique that we just need to be better at that. And we’ve been better at that the last couple of weeks, but we started off in such a hole where we were in the first five or six games. But we still have a long way to go. I was very pleased with our execution in the last five minutes of regulation with the exception of one play, and in overtime. I just thought it was poised, smart. We made a couple of reads on the fly that were, you know, the guys had to make down there on their own – they were great – so those were really encouraging.”
RE: Not using Tatum down the stretch, after his strong start:
“We have a lot of good players. So, there’s going to be times when guys that are good aren’t playing at the end. And there’s going to be other times where we lean on them for, like we did with Kyrie, 38 minutes in a night. I just think that it’s part of it. And I thought he did a lot of good things early, like you said, and obviously we made some changes at the start of the fourth and he played in that group that kind of got us back into it. But then at the end, I just felt like Morris on Leonard was the way that we wanted to go. And it worked out this time. But who knows. We need Jaylen. We need Jaylen to be a late-game player, for sure.”
RE: 39 minutes tonight; were you surprised when Brad (Stevens) called you in for overtime?
“I was. I was wondering if they were going to take me out of the game at some point in time. Happy that he left me in, felt good to play that many minutes, it’s been such a long time since I’ve done that so it’s a good confidence builder.”
RE: How does it feel to be involved in a game like this in overtime?
“It’s been a long time since I was in a situation like this. Playing at the end of the game, with the crowd and the atmosphere and everything like that was amazing! That was a lot of fun. I’m glad that we came out on top.”
RE: Defensively what was the key tonight?
“I thought we executed what we wanted to do. I thought we were active. I thought Mook (Marcus Morris) did a good job, especially late containing Kawhi (Leonard) and also Al (Horford) when he switched on him did a good job too. He’s a hard player to defend so that was really well by them and then all the other guys that were out there we kind of cleaned up the glass and made sure they didn’t get anything. We got stops when we needed to.”
RE: In the midst of the Kyrie (Irving)/Kawhi (Leonard) duel, Coach (Stevens) called your name to try to get stops, how do you approach that challenge of stopping a guy like Kawhi?
“They are both good players. I feel like Ky (Kyrie Irving) was way more efficient. My duel was a little different because Kawhi shot crazy, but he’s a good player. He’s going to make shots, but I think my size bothered him so he really couldn’t post up or anything like that. Long two’s were the shots he was looking for and that’s what I forced him to.”
RE: What was your approach on the last play of regulation?
“I just was trying to hold him from not getting to his right hand, but he still got right. My whole thing was fade away from 18-19 feet, he makes it, he makes it. Just making sure I contest high and that’s what happened.”
RE: Was revenge a big motivating factor despite what has happened between teams?
“No. Revenge I wouldn’t call it that, but we definitely wanted to take care of home court and they have been one of the best teams in the East all year. We just wanted to show we can play and I think this was a great win for us as a whole.”
RE: Up three with 1:30 left in 4th quarter, can you take us through the last plays?
“Nothing really major. I think they got to their spots and got shots up and we got pretty much to our spots, I think we may have had one where we had a back cut in there that got knocked away or maybe a loose ball foul or something that they didn’t have to earn a couple of theirs there with over the back rebounding fouls. We had our chance with the last possession, even considering all that going down in the stretch.”
RE: What you look at to close out on offense or defense?
“I think there’s some things defensively, I’m not going to share with you what those are at this point. Some things we’d probably do differently in a different scenario. We will certainly look at the tape and do that as well.”
RE: Last play deciding hunt to switch or straight iso, what goes into that decision making?
“Well in that scenario with the shot clock it’s going to be the last shot of the game. The main thing is we’re going to hold it until the very last shot so that nothing bad happens and they can get a rebound and call a timeout and advance it etc. It’s just man on man and you hope your guy can make the basket and we have a lot of faith in him (Kawhi Leonard) that he can.”
RE: Talk about the last minute/plays of the game and what did you see?
“Missed a couple shots, had a turnover, a really bad turnover. We just got to be a little bit more active. I was really happy with our defense a little bit tonight, with the help we were a little bit more active. We were active defensively a little bit better than we have been. Just got to play harder and I got to play better.”
RE: Were you ok with some of the shots you guys were getting?
“Yeah. Shoot we shot 27% from three, 43% from the field and we almost won the game. We gave ourselves a chance, we just didn’t close it out.”
RE: Talk to us about the late game execution:
“You just have to give them credit. Kyrie (Irving) did a great job in the fourth quarter knocking down shots. We’ve still got some things to do on the defensive end and try to stop those type of players and execution in the fourth quarter. We fought hard tonight, they played a better game and we just got to keep getting better.”
RE: How much of that execution is difficult when some of the guys aren’t there; Danny (Green) is not there, Pascal (Siakam) fouled out, etc?
“It’s very difficult. Guys are playing more minutes when that happens; our starters are out at that point. All these games that we are playing it’s not just the fourth quarter. We have leads in the third or beginning of the fourth so we have to be able to keep those leads up so that we don’t have to get to a last second shot every game and just be able to close it out. It’s so early, we are learning and we just got to keep moving and keep our heads up.”
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