That's What He Said

Nets at Celtics
TD Garden, January 26, 2014


Celtics 79

Brad Stevens

Re: Boston fans cheering for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett:

"The only thing I could say is what I said on the bench, and that is, 'This town gets it.' You know, this town is special and you can see why. And all the people that have gotten a chance to play here and that you talk to, whether they played here for a year or whether they played here for 15 years, all talk about how special it is. And you know that coming in, but you can feel it on nights like tonight. And it was really a great tribute to both guys, obviously extremely well-deserved. I wish we could’ve come out on top at the end, but we just didn’t quite have enough from a basketball standpoint to finish it."


Re: If Pierce and Garnett's return threw Boston off its game:

"No. I mean, no more than it would’ve thrown them off. You know, so I would say certainly not an excuse. I wouldn’t think it would be that. Obviously it was a little bit unique, but it was unique for both teams."


Re: Garnett's late steal and slam:

"We were trying to bounce back Jeff (Green) into the corner. We ran a variation of it the play before, and curled Jeff to the rim. (Andrei) Kirilenko went under the screen and we tried to jam in for him. Might’ve been open for a split second, but probably a good decision not to throw it, but then get it to (Rajon) Rondo and play in space. And Hump (Kris Humphries) kind of set a ball screen and (Brandon) Bass came and followed with another, and our spacing was really good on that play. Just watched it again. We just weren’t able to make a play, and that happens sometimes. I thought we were where we needed to be, but we weren’t able to manufacture it. They did a good job defending it."


Re: If Rajon Rondo's recovery is ahead of schedule:

"No, it’s actually progressing as we thought, right? So, he played more minutes, obviously, and that was by design. It was increased; I was told we were good to go to 30 minutes. That probably helps him get a better rhythm when he’s in the game; those five-minute stints aren’t that fun to play as a player. You can never get a real flow or rhythm. But he played the last 8 minutes and 42 seconds and had pretty good wind most of the time. I still think he’s game 5 of exhibition season, and I think he’ll continue to get better."


Re: Chris Johnson's future in Boston:

"I don’t know. I’ll sit and talk to everybody about finalizing that, but I would assume that that would be something we’d really look to do. He was great. He’s been fantastic and aggressive and just a really good addition. And, hey, we’re short-handed in the backcourt right now with Jerryd (Bayless) and Avery (Bradley) out, and it kind of showed in our shooting, percentage-wise. We need all of our guys that are shooters to make shots when those guys are out, just because our margin for error’s a little bit slimmer."


Re: If younger players can learn from Pierce and Garnett:

"Well, yeah, our younger players, all of our players, everybody can learn something from those guys, any day of the week. You know, just by putting in an old film or listening to stories or watching Brooklyn play now. Those guys are winners, they impact winning, and I’m exciting for them that they got a chance to experience this because that was really neat for both of them, I’m sure."

Brandon Bass

Re: The tributes for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett:

"It was one of those moments that every player would like to have at the end of their career, or after a long time with a team. I hope one day that will be me. It was a great moment for Paul (Pierce). I am happy for him."


Re: If it was hard to not get caught up in the emotions of the night:

"For a little bit, you get caught up into it. For the most part we know we had a job to do, and that was to try to get the win."


Re: Garnett talking smack:

"It wouldn’t be a game if KG didn't smack-talk, but it was to a minimum. He usually does more."

Chris Johnson

Re: The tributes:

"It was a great honor for them, they came here winning championships but you know, it’s just another game. Those guys fought hard until the end and unfortunately we didn’t win."


Re: His 10-day contract coming to a close:

"I learned a lot from the coaching staff and the players... I think, over the last ten days, I have a feel for what the guys like to do. Coach tries to emphasis to me being hungry and that’s what I have been trying to do."


Re: Being happy with his performances:

"Not happy. I think I could shoot the ball a little better, but can always do better and do little things to help the team."


Nets 85

Jason Kidd

Re: Feeling the emotion in the arena:

"You could see it. It was all TV all day, last night so leading up to the game there was a lot of hype, a lot of emotion for those two KG (Kevin Garnett) and Paul (Pierce). This was a tough game to play in because you are going to reflect on your championship and just your bond you have with the Celtics. That first half wasn’t pretty, but there was basketball played after that and this is a good win for us, especially when our offense wasn’t going in with everything going on around the game; guys responded and helped us get a win."


Re: Getting a win with a game against Toronto tomorrow:

"This was a tough game, Boston plays extremely hard and with the emotions, Paul (Pierce) and KG (Kevin Garnett), their teammates stepped up for them tonight. Wasn’t a great game for Joe (Johnson) but again he made shots when it counted, but again those guys in that locker room played defense, we got a win on the road and now we got to go protect home."


Re: Kevin Garnett's steal and dunk in the final moments:

"He’s done it all year for us defensively, he’s always in the right place at the right time and he looked like Michael Jordan there at the end."


Re: Going down 8-0 to start the game:

"I thought the emotion of the game can do that for us. We had all jump shots so I wanted to remind the guys that we got to attack the ball in the paint and play inside and out and the guys did that after that time out. Just with the emotions with the two guys, it's just something, I sat in that seat with those guys and I just thought taking the time out so those guys can breathe, and relax, and catch their breath and they did."


Re: The first half being relatively even:

"It was basketball. Our defense struggled, but these are the games that good teams win. They find a way to grind it out and again it wasn’t a high-powered offensive game, like it has been in the past. It just shows that we are playing defense and that we are playing both ends."


Re: The tribute videos and fans' reception of Pierce and Garnett:

"It was first class all the way. Boston did a great job with the tributes to both players. It was a great journey for those two guys (KG/Paul) here so I thought they did a first class job."

Paul Pierce

Re: Returning to Boston:

"I was telling Kevin (Garnett) and everybody this was the toughest game I ever had to play. Tougher than any championship game, or any game seven. This game was just really hard to focus and concentrate on what was at hand. At the end of the day we had a game to play but it was so hard to really focus. I saw so many friends, so many people I’ve known for years. Ugly cornbread Maxwell back there, my man, my main man. It was hard to really get into my routine, you have a routine when you come and get ready for a game and it never settled in and you thought about the time, the friendships, the relationships and it was just, you get showered with love the whole game. You look up and see so many Kevin (Garnett) jerseys, my jerseys, posters and its every second you are on the bench and in the game people were calling your name. I’m happy we got it over with and I can go back to playing basketball right now."


Re: What it was like being back in the city:

"We didn’t really bump into anybody in the street but we had a chance to go to dinner with (Rajon) Rondo last night. Talk to him you know, about his situation here and the things we went through when we were in his situation before. It was good to see him and really, that was pretty much the only guy he had a chance to see. Other than that I really just tried to focus and get back to the hotel and try to get some rest and couldn’t think about anything but today really, it was even hard for me to sleep. Laying in a downtown hotel in Boston when I’m used to being at my house. Getting into the arena, coming in the backside, and making a left instead of a right. Everything was so different, and it was great though."


Re: The video tributes:

"Just all the great moments. From on the court to on the court, just all the great moments that’s all you can think of. That’s pretty much what the videos showed, just everything, just me being in the community, the difference I was able to make not only on the court but in the community. You build so much, not only on the court but in the community. I have relationships with organizations in the community that I built, been able to change different lives, being and inspiration in this community and a lot of that you thought about. I’ve seen a lot of the kids I brought to games and that’s what I think matters the most to me, the lives you can change. The basketball is great and understanding you’re a role model and it made me think of being an inspiration in the community here."


Re: Seeing people in the crowd crying:

"I did notice that. It was tough, it was tough for me to swallow. I was probably about five seconds from shedding, five seconds I’ll admit to it. No words that can really describe the shower of love here."


Re: Moving on after today:

"You know what, I think as long as I'm in the league it's going to be tough because I know I am going to have to come back to the Boston Garden. It is what it is when you put so much time and energy in one spot. When you come back there's always going to be memories and there's nothing you're going to escape. As long as I'm able to come back to the Boston Garden, as long as I'm going to be able to play games it's going to be tough."


Re: Rajon Rondo's leadership role:

"I think he's ready now. Rondo is mature, he understood what was coming. Before he had me and Kevin to lean on and now he's the guy. He's the captain, he is who everybody looks to for leadership and I think he's ready. He's grown, he's matured, he's seen the bottom. He's seen the top. He's got to understand that this is his team to lead through good and through bad. I think he understands that and he is ready for that role. And he's ready to deal with it."


Re: A message to the city of Boston:

"It was just a special thing for me, through my bad times, through my immature times, through my growing up, becoming a man for this city and winning a championship. Everybody sticking with me, I would just like to tell them thank you."


Re: Being able to switch teams with Garnett:

"I think for me, it’s just made the transition so much easier, just not only being my teammate, but being my friend. It makes things more comfortable. You know, when you go to a different place and everything’s foreign to you and you go by yourself, it’s a little difficult. But when you have somebody to go with you, that you know, that you can be with, that can help you understand it with you, it makes the transition a lot better. A little bit easier to walk. And I wouldn’t trade anything in the world, just to have, I like to call him – even though we’re the same age – he’s like a big brother to me."

Kevin Garnett

Re: Returning to Boston:

"This was over the top. Doc (Rivers) had hit us two days ago? Two days ago or something. I think I had reporters ask me about the expectations before the Dallas game and I didn’t want to be thinking about things before I had another game to play. What comes to mind is unbelievable, I didn’t expect anything like that for myself, shows the first class, shows the type of organization that this is and the appreciation from this organization for you. And I couldn’t put it into words. Paul (Pierce) and I were joking before the game who was gonna tear up and drop a tear. I had lumps in my throat and I kept them under control and I focused as much as I could on the game and not take away from it but man this was over the top. I couldn’t put that into words."


Re: Seeing his old friends:

"It didn’t hit me until I saw Ed Lacerte and Jeff Twiss. I got to see all the guys that made our stay worth it; Phil Lynch, Johnny Joe (Connor) all those guys. The guys that people really don’t know but make the whole thing go around. You see, like Paul said, the endless friendships through the place; the security guards, the ball boys everybody man that shows their appreciation. By far the hardest day that I’ve had to focus. This is bigger than Minnesota, even when I went back to Minnesota, Minnesota wasn’t like this."


Re: The atmosphere in the arena compared to a playoff game:

"This is not even close. It's not even close. The impact of people and how much we’ve impacted their lives, not just kids but grownups, just the culture here. You come here and one of the first things Jeff Twiss tells you, he takes you through the library where he shows you all the history here and you feel that responsibility. To come back here and be showered like this it's not even close, not even close."


Re: Moving on after today:

"It's all to me an example about how people feel about us. The times we were here, the guys that were here. We’ve just seen Baby (Glen Davis) a couple weeks ago, the new year we saw Perk (Kendrick Perkins), we got to see Doc and some of the guys who are still around. I mean, even when you see them, those memories, remembering that coach remembering that hard work, what was invested in and created here throughout the six years I was here. It's always gonna be what it is. I think we'll always bleed green as long as we're playing basketball and as long as we're living. Even when they bury us six feet, this is what it's gonna be."


Re: Rajon Rondo becoming a leader:

"I think he took notes last time we were talking to him. More importantly, we stressed that you need to lead by example, even when he doesn’t want to. I also talk to him about being professional and being a pro. You don’t get to pick and choose when you get to do that. Just understand the pedigree of a champion. You don’t let losing become something usual. Keep the mentality tough, and not all are going to follow but most will. Lead by example and just having a voice, do it by example. Rondo is ready. I think he is very comfortable in his role here. I think he understood the transition when it was happening, and he has the type of mentality and he's the type of person with the personality to do just that."


Re: A message to Celtics fans:

"I thought I saw Paul as he would always love the city of Boston, I feel the same way. The New Englanders and everyone who's ever supported me here and been nice to me and my family, obviously they didn’t have to be, I just want to say thank you all, I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart."


Re: What he and Pierce achieved in Boston:

"When you look at the body of work we’ve done in the six years that I was here, no one can ever take that away from us. That was our era, that’s what we embedded in history, and that’s forever. We take that to our grave with us; we’re just going to be. Thank you Boston."


Re: Watching his tribute video:

"It was just an emotional moment that I just kind of went back and reflected on myself. When we all got together a lot of people didn’t think that the first year we could do what we did, and I think before everyone started getting together making their teams, stacking their teams, I think we were the first to initiate that. We had a lot of pressure on us. As I sat back and watched the video, I thought a lot about the fun, how much work was invested in that. To this day, I talk about how big Doc Rivers was for us just from a growth, not just as a players, but as a human being and a young man perspective, of every man he coached. I don’t know, I’m just appreciative of the time. Throughout the timeline you think about those moments and you reflect, that’s what the fist pump was. I had some great times in here, like Paul (Pierce) said, obviously some dismal times, but none of those overshadow the good. It was a great time here in Boston."

Andray Blatche

Re: Getting caught up in the reception of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett:

"Not really caught up, but definitely a great moment to see. I was watching myself. That’s a great accomplishment and that’s a lot of love from our organization to see something like that."


Re: Grinding out a win:

"We going to put all this on defense. Our defense got stops, our offense wasn’t necessarily going to well so we had to tighten up defense and keep them off the offensive glass."


Re: Being a game and a half out of first place in the Atlantic Division:

"We got Toronto tomorrow. It's payback time, just like with the Knicks; they beat us in Toronto, and we are going to come back and take care of business tomorrow."