That's What He Said
That's What He Said - Cavaliers at Celtics
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: On Cavs coming out with defensive intensity:
I feel like they came out playing harder than us. Marcus Smart brought the energy, just a little too late and how we played in the second half, we have to play like that throughout the whole game.
RE: What do you learn from a game like this?:
I mean a lot, we go back to the drawing board, watch film and figure out what we need to do, and how need to guard those guys and pick and rolls they ran, they ran a lot of pick and rolls tonight especially LeBron. We just need to figure out how we guard it.
RE: What did you think of the way Jaylen Brown played tonight?:
He played very good. Not only him but Gerald Green. I’d say that’s being part of a professional, you never know when your name is going to be called and those guys came in and played great minutes for us and we need other guys to step up just like those guys did tonight.
RE: How difficult is it guarding Tristan Thompson on the offensive glass?:
“Yeah I mean I think he had 20 and 9 or something like that. I mean that’s what he brings to that team and in the playoffs you’re supposed to try to take away what guys do. That’s what they’re doing to us and that’s what we need to do to him. We need to put a body on him and team rebound. We have to do a better job at it.”
RE: On Jaylen and the moment not being too big:
He’s building off confidence and Brad has confidence in him and we do and you can tell that when he’s in the game he’s just playing basketball.
RE: On Cavs setting tempo on offensive glass in the first quarter:
I just think that they were the more aggressive team with more energy and they got us down from the beginning. We can’t allow a team of their caliber to build a lead like that in the first quarter. We fell behind just like that against Washington, it’s an uphill battle and we just got to be better to start the game.
RE: On the poise shown by Jaylen Brown in the Eastern Conference final debut:
I thought he was great, he looked fresh, he was locked in and I feel like he’s going to get a lot of minutes in this series.
RE: What’s behind these slow starts for you guys in general?:
I’m not sure, man. I don’t know. Our starting group needs to come out with more of a sense of urgency. For whatever reason we’re okay at times but we’re not as good as what we need to be. We need to understand that we can’t react once we’re down ten or fifteen. We can’t afford it we won’t make it, so we have to make sure that we’re better from the beginning.
RE: You’re just a rookie but the moment didn’t seem too big for you, what was it like playing in your first Eastern conference final?
Well we lost so, it wasn’t how I planned it or expected but just kind of come out, play hard, and leave everything on the floor.”
RE: What was it like going up against LeBron a couple times there:
I mean it was just playing basketball. He laced his shoes up just like I laced mine up so it was just coming out and playing basketball. I mean it’s my job.
RE: Playing after 9 days off:
It was good to be back out there. Getting back to our routine, getting back to what we do best and that’s playing at a very high level. We’ve been excited for the Eastern Conference Finals for a while now. That’s a great team in and out of the locker room and we understand that. We just wanted to come out with a very aggressive mindset from the start, keep a high level of pace and compete on the defensive end. We knew that the game was going to be jumped up a little bit in physicality, but we are a veteran ball club we understand that. Going forward we just got to stay with that mindset that we got to hit first and we will go from there.
RE: Tristan Thompson/Kevin Love contributions:
Awesome! I think they combined for like 90 points or something like that. It’s just unbelievable when you can go from series to series and the dynamic change of who can be utilized and different things we can enforce and take advantage of. Bron (LeBron James), Kev (Kevin Love) usual suspects and then you have Tristan (Thompson) on the boards playing with high energy. We are a tough team and other guys filling in with their roles and making shots here and there. We’re an incredible team.”
RE: Similar defense from what you did to Boston in April:
It’s probably an even higher level, even more conscious effort to be more aware of the plays that they are running out there and we could actually prepare for them. It was great to be back out there, but being in a high intense atmosphere, Eastern Conference Finals, a little bit of a difference from when we played them in April.
RE: Rhythm tonight even after 9 days off:
Just eager to play. It’s been like 10 days. LeBron (James), Ky (Kyrie Irving), Kev (Kevin Love) have been itching to play against somebody and just play period. We just came out with a great pop, we did it last series as well so just got to keep that energy going.
RE: Playoff record just shy of 13 wins with 12 now put in perspective:
No not really because the team across the way has been doing the same thing. The way that the league is going records are broken everyday so you really can’t get caught up in that you just got to keep going.
RE: What are you expecting Game 2:
For them to come out swinging, playing scrappy like they do. They’ve been playing like that all year. Whenever their backs are up against the wall they tend to play better just like we do. We just got to expect that and understand there might be dirty plays, might be cheap shots coming from the other side just because they are fighting for their lives at this point. We just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing.
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.