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Game Quotes: Cavaliers at Boston Celtics - April 26

Cavaliers Head Coach David Blatt

Update on Kevin Love: “I really can’t. We’re going to go back to Cleveland, get the images, doctors will evaluate and tell us what’s going on. We simply don’t know.”

Kevin Love play: “We didn’t look at it as a team at halftime. I hope that it wasn’t a play on purpose. I don’t think its in the character of Olynyk (Kelly) to do that, but I hope not.”

Pleased with poise of team: “We could have done a little better, but on the other hand things were getting a little out of hand in general. That sort of became the nature of the game. What I think is more important and more complimentary to our players is the fact that we lost two starters during the course of the game. One in the first quarter and JR (Smith) went out early in the third and he was playing very well and we still managed to control the game. The game could have finished a lot easier also right down the end if not for a few controversial plays. Overall I thought we did a pretty good job. Participated in our first playoff as a team. We played a very, very good team, a very well coached team, a team that since the All-star break, if I’m not mistaken had the second best record in the NBA. We played a very good team and we swept the series so we must of done some good things and we did show poise and we did show fortitude to win the series.”

Took from this series: “The whole season, I think that we’ve come into other people’s gyms and we’ve faced teams, home and away, that really came and gave us their best shot. Just by nature of the fact that of course LeBron (James) coming home, Kevin (Love) joining our team and our team getting an enormous amount of attention, people came in and the number of times we’ve been on national TV, and the number of games that have been heavily followed we seem to get guys best shot every time we walk into the gym. I feel that has strengthened us. I feel that that has made us tougher, mentally and physically because we’ve had to come out every night and meet the challenge and this was no different. The Celtics really challenged us. It was a sweep, that’s not an easy thing, that’s not a small thing on the other hand it was not a walk in the park. We battled to win all these games and they made us do so to their credit. We’re coming out stronger and that’s good.”

 Isaiah Thomas out of bounds James play: “I got to be careful in how I answer that. Have I seen it, yea and its an automatic technical foul over there (internationally), I don’t know what they call it here. If it happens, its an automatic technical, two shots and the ball, that’s the call. I’m not saying it was or it wasn’t, but that’s what would happen in that case.”

Game plan trapping Isaiah Thomas pick and roll: “We changed coverage on him a little bit, made an adjustment which you want to do in a series on players consistently hurting you. I would call it more of a coral than a trap and there is a difference between the two. We did try to get our hands around him figuratively, not allow him splits and not allow him shots off that situation. For the most part it worked.”

Kevin Love thinks Olynyk play on purpose: “I didn’t see the play, but obviously Kevin did and if that’s what he thinks then he was the closest guy to it. If he’s injured number one the other guys are going to have to step up and we’re going to have to make up a lot of ground without him like we did tonight and I think we did that admirably. This is a beautiful game and its also a physical game and you have to expect the physicality, but there’s a line and that line shouldn’t be crossed and that’s what the league is for.”


Kyrie Irving

Response to physical play: “Things got a little chippy, obviously Kev dislocates his shoulder. Honestly I didn’t see what happened but I think it was a shared feeling that it just wasn’t a basketball play. Then the Jae Crowder incident, both of them, it got physical but you never want to wish anything will happen to him, or anyone. It just got chippy and guys got to stand up for themselves. Sometimes things get out of hand a little too much but the game of basketball, it just got chippy.”

What take from series: “I think the biggest thing is that we have a lot of fighters on our team. Just the fight that we have for each other, we have each other’s backs through whatever we go through. Obviously it was me and Kevin’s first series against a great team and they tested us, at home and especially on the road here. Game four was the most physical, especially that I’ve ever played in, and it was just a test that I think I needed individually and then also for our team as well going forward.”


LeBron James

Kevin Love play: “I’ve seen the replay and it didn’t look like a basketball play. I’ve seen a lot of tie-ups in my day and that tie-up was a little different. We want to play the game of basketball the right way. You want to be physical but you never want the game to get out of hand where you have injuries. We had two of them tonight and you don’t wish that on nobody.”

Staying in moment given Kevin injury/J.R. foul: “You just stay under control, that’s all we can do. We have this small period of time to get better and it’s next man up, depending on what goes on with our team. That’s two big pieces obviously but next man up, no excuses, you just get ready to go on and play.”

What learned about Jae Crowder as a player: “He tries to work hard and put his body on me, try to help their team win, that’s all.”

Feel like a sweep given Love/Smith questions: “I mean we feel like we advanced, we know we’ve advanced, but it’s going to get tougher and tougher. If we’re fortunate enough to continue to play basketball this time of the year, it’s going to get tougher and tougher. So as we wait for our second opponent we’ll mentally just decompress for probably a day or two and then you log back in on your next opponent. There’s a lot of things up in the air with our team right now but the things that we can control are the guys that go out there…and once we go back at it we’ll get ready for our next challenge.”

Game plan after decompress: “We only can control what we can control. If Love is out and if J.R., whatever happens with him, then it’s the next man up. It’s the next man up. We have guys that have been able to step up. We know it’s going to be a tough void with two of our bigger guys in our lineup and in our season so far but we got to have guys step up and we see what happens.”

Hardest fought sweep?/respect for Celtics: “I highly respect their coaching staff and especially their head coach. A very well-coached team, he put those guys out there every night and put them in position to win the game and I think Brad Stevens is a very good young in our league.”

Defeating Celtics adding to legacy: “This franchise is one of the most winning franchises in NBA history, with the Lakers. So everyone knows the history between the Lakers and the Celtics and what they’ve done for this league. So for me, to have a chapter in my career, multiple chapters, of playing against the Celtics, I think it’s great for the story that you guys tell. Our long term goal is obviously to win the championship but right now we have short term goals and that’s to prepare ourselves for the next round and get ready for the challenge that presents itself. It was a great first test for our team. We’re a young team, we have some vets but we’re a young team together. The Celtics gave us the test that we needed. Some things that we haven’t seen in the regular season, and it will prepare us for the second round, which will be much tougher, we know that.”


J.R. Smith

Describing foul play: “He was cutting in to the lane after the shot had been shot, I tried to box him out. As I’m boxing him out I just kept feeling his fore arm on my head…tried to keep backing up but he kept pushing…I tried to swing my arm loose thinking it was the best way to try to get my arm up in position to rebound and we made contact. There was nothing malicious about it, I didn’t try to do anything to hurt him or anybody else. That’s not the way I play the game and unfortunately I got a flagrant 2…my team will still advance but it’s still not a good feeling going into the next round”

Game got out of hand?: “No, I mean that’s just the way the playoffs are. The only thing about this game is that it means more than most games and players are going to lose it at times and that’s when you got to keep your composure and good teams are going to do that and excel at it.”


Kevin Love


Iman Shumpert


Tristan Thompson


Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens

How is Jae Crowder and what he (Stevens) thought of that foul: “I haven’t seen it. But we don’t know exactly what the deal is yet; he had a lower leg potential injury as he fell, but he’s going to go get an MRI and everything else today. And then he got, I guess he got elbowed to the head and that’s how he fell; I shouldn’t be saying that because I don’t really know because I couldn’t see the play from my vantage point. But that’s what I was told. It’s what I know.”

Re players plateau-ing in the first half: “I think that was the kindest way that we can say it, that we were plateau-ing. We talked very frankly at halftime and we wanted to come out and show ourselves better. And we did. But we had put too much pressure to make every shot on us. And I think we’ll look back and say we still could’ve – if a couple of those go down, maybe it’s a different story. But we weren’t very good in the second quarter, and really the first half. But especially, you know, second quarter. But I thought we played really spirited throughout the rest of the game, and as usual with this group, when things haven’t gone well, they haven’t hung their heads long. They’ve stayed the course and competed. I wasn’t surprised by that so I don’t want to make it sound like I am, but I think that’s a testament to the guys in that room.”

What will these games mean in the future: “I think above the four games, maybe the last few months, having to play from behind the last few months and accomplishing something and then measuring yourself against the best in the East in a lot of people’s eyes. We have a lot of information. And that’s really good. We know where we can get better, we know individually where we need to improve, we know collectively where we need to improve. And the best thing that I take from this year is that there’s growth, there’s building, there’s progress. Now we have to build on it. That’s the challenge, right? I mean, that’s the hard part is now continuing it and build on it. But we’ve got a good environment. That’s a real positive moving forward.”

Has being in the playoffs helped: “Yeah, I think the biggest thing, they stretch you so much, the Cavs, so that you have to prepare for a lot of different things. And I’ve heard this term thrown around basketball circles some, but certainly other industries as well: it’s a great opportunity to build and extend our corporate knowledge. You know, what we’re talking about. Being able to reflect back on times where we guarded an action a certain way because we were forced to do so, being able do that on the fly, maybe, next time. Being able to adjust to how somebody else is guarding us better, because we can reflect back on it. And again, I think the biggest thing for us is we got some experience, but we didn’t just get it against a run-of-the-mill team. We got it against a team that a lot of people think will come out of the East. And I think that with some of the best players in the world, and that stretches you and that’s a good thing.”

Will this make the Celtics a more interesting destination for players: “You know, the only – I’m not a big salesman, never have been, not been very good at it. The only thing I can ever say is: you want to be part of a great environment. It’s a good environment. That makes the whole experience better. And for me, that’s our task: to continue to build and grow within that environment. Because we’ve got a good foundation and culture moving forward.”

What can he, as a coach, build on: “As much as the players. Tons. Right? I mean, you’re learning every minute of every day. I’ve always said, I learn from every coach I coach against. I thought the Cavs did a lot of great things. I thought their individual talents stretched our defense. And I thought that our guys responded a lot of times well, but not quite well enough to get three eight-point losses in a row, right? So, yeah, I mean, tons. You’re always trying to grow and get better, but that’s going to be the same as if we’re fortunate enough to cut down the nets some day. I wouldn’t think that would change how you would approach the next day anyways.”

How proud is he of the Celtics’ fight: “I think the best way to phrase it is I like our progress but I like to win. So I’m disappointed right now. But it’s now at anybody or at myself or at any – it’s just, you’re disappointed to lose. We have to get better; we have to get better in every which way, and that’s the challenge ahead. Because winning’s a lot more fun.”

Jae Crowder’s leadership, and how the team responded emotionally after the two incidents: “I thought after the first one, we actually lost our cool a little bit. And it hurt us. At least initially, towards the end of the half. And then I thought after the second one, we handled that much better. So, listen, you’re going to have – there’s a lot of intensity. There’s competitive, high-achieving athletes on both sides of the floor. There’s going to be tensions are going to flare, right? I’m more pleased with how we responded the second time than the first, if that better answers your question. And I hope Jae’s okay.”

Did he get everything he could out of this team: “ I don’t think I’ve ever felt that about any team I’ve ever been around. That’s the problem with coaching. We haven’t played a perfect game yet. We were 40-42 and lost four straight in the playoffs. So, no, I don’t. But I didn’t feel that way both times we went to the Final Four, either; so I think that’s just the way I’m wired, I guess.”

Regarding the crowd: “I thought both games, the crowd gave us a chance. We were giving ourselves some chances, too, but the crowd was really – I mean, it was fantastic. It’s something that you want to be a part of. But, it’s like I told the guys in there, I’m really pleased with a lot of things. I really think we’ve shown a lot of growth, I think we can get a lot better. But none of us signed up to play for the Boston Celtics for a quick exit. And that’s something that is important to keep in mind moving forward. Because that crowd is as good as it gets and the longer that you play – I can’t imagine what that would be like.”

How frustrated was he with Isaiah Thomas’ misses: “Yeah, I thought it, but I thought his purpose and his play was good. And I told him to shoot one of them, because I tried to think that maybe I could – maybe if I said something it would make him feel even more likely to make it. But he struggled a little bit shooting it. But he made some late. And he’ll make a lot of shots in his career, and we’re glad he’s going to be with us.”

Has his first playoff experience changed his impression of what it takes to win in the NBA: “Yeah, I think it’s – you know, again, I think this is why I’m glad we played the Cavs. Because you’re going to be chasing that level of player, to figure out how to stop them or how to make it more difficult on them. We’ve shown that we’ve been in games, even though we haven’t controlled everything we can control.  Do they take it up to a different level if the game’s tied at the end of the game? That’s the one thing we don’t know, because we never saw that. We never really had a game except today we could’ve cut it to three, maybe, but that was kind of an anomaly I guess the way that game was finishing. But I’ve learned a lot about that, and I’m excited about where we stand, but I know we have a lot of work to do.”

Regarding Kelly Olynyk play on Kevin Love, and what it did to the Cavaliers: “I did not see what – I watched it on film after the fact, because I was told that it was two guys, and I guess he had his arm or something; Kelly had his arm. I did not see it live. I thought it was two guys locking each other. But I thought the foul call was correct on Kelly. I can’t imagine there was any negative intent on Kelly; that’s not the type of person he is. And I hope Kevin’s okay to play, whenever they play next. Because you want everybody out there to finish the game. You want the best players on the court, for both teams, all the time. And again, kind of like Jae (Crowder) with us, I mean, you just hope that both those guys are okay.”

Did he feel like the Cavs were then pushing the Celtics: “I didn’t really think so. I just think it’s a competitive game. I mean, I can’t imagine it was, but maybe they would say differently. I don’t know. I mean, again, that’s not really in Kelly’s personality. And so I hope that wasn’t the case. I didn’t think there was a response. I didn’t think that was part of the response, personally. I don’t know. I just thought things get – there’s physical, there’s contact, and things get heated; it’s sometimes how people respond.”


Isaiah Thomas

Take away from the game/moving forward:
“First off you got to tip your hat off to the Cavs. They played a great series and we did what we could, we kept fighting, we were in every game, gave ourselves a chance to win and we know what we need to work on to try to be a better playoff team. You got to tip your hat off to them.”

Not happy just getting into playoffs:
“We feel like we deserve more. We’re proud, but we’re not satisfied. We see that this team has a lot of potential, we work hard, we like playing with each other, we play extremely hard and those are the keys to success. Its frustrating to see the season end like it did, but we got to try to build from this and come back next year ready for war.”

JR Smith and Jae Crowder:
“We can say the same thing (like Love said Olynyk was on purpose/Perkins play) we are all men here. We don’t need to cry and tell you guys. It is what it is, its playoff basketball. We don’t want to hurt anybody and things happen and you got to move forward. You can’t do anything about it now, it happened in the game, he did the battle, but you could say the same thing to all the incidents that happened. Guys were fighting out there, trying to win a game and things happen.”

Positives from this season/off season work:
“We do take a lot of positives out of it. We know we can compete with anybody in the NBA. People counted us out and we just kept fighting, we kept believing in ourselves, we kept coming work every day with our hard hat on and working hard and doing the things that we can control. If we can do that in the summer, next training camp, next season, then we got a bright future with this group of guys.”


Jared Sullinger

Take away from the game/moving forward:
 “It was a learning experience, but at the same time like Isaiah said we got to tip our hat to the Cavaliers; played a great series. We know what we have to do and this summertime we are going to get after it.”

Jae Crowder – what did he mean to you in series and when he left tonight:
“The heart and the effort he puts in everyday, his intensity, just his mindset of the grit and grind that he brings to the team. It was tough to see him getting carried off like that, but at the same time I think it was something that we need to see one of our teammates go down and kind of pick up the slack.”

Found a rhythm in 3rd quarter:
“I just think the mindset that we had coming into the 3rd quarter to be the toughest team and of course you know some plays went their way, but at the same time we were tough, we brought that grind and just doing what we’ve been doing the whole regular season.”

Play so well at end of game:
“Its not about individuals, we are going home, so we could care less how we played at the end of the game. The fact of the matter is, we didn’t get any wins, and it was a good way to, I guess, end the season but at the same time our main focus and objective was to get a win tonight and we failed.”


Avery Bradley

Season finish: “We’ve been able to pull together, buy into Brad’s system, improve every single day as a team and as individuals and we had a chance to make something amazing happen. That’s getting to the playoffs and trying to advance to the second round and I feel like we fought hard this entire series, we just fell short. Cleveland was the better team.”

Swept but close margins in all 4 games “Especially in the playoffs, everything slows down a little bit more and it shows that a few turnovers, a few bad shots, that could be the reason why you lose the game. Looking back at it, I know that everybody is like ‘Man we definitely had a chance,’ but all you can do is take from this experience, learning how to value every single possession. That’s one thing that Brad is getting better at, we have a lot of young guys that are learning that in the playoffs you don’t really have room for any mistakes and we improved every single game but we continued to make little mistakes and that’s really the reason why we lost.”


Tyler Zeller

Season finish: “We’ve been able to pull together, buy into Brad’s system, improve every single day as a team and as individuals and we had a chance to make something amazing happen. That’s getting to the playoffs and trying to advance to the second round and I feel like we fought hard this entire series, we just fell short. Cleveland was the better team.”

Swept but close margins in all 4 games “Especially in the playoffs, everything slows down a little bit more and it shows that a few turnovers, a few bad shots, that could be the reason why you lose the game. Looking back at it, I know that everybody is like ‘Man we definitely had a chance,’ but all you can do is take from this experience, learning how to value every single possession. That’s one thing that Brad is getting better at, we have a lot of young guys that are learning that in the playoffs you don’t really have room for any mistakes and we improved every single game but we continued to make little mistakes and that’s really the reason why we lost.”


Evan Turner

Season finish: “We’ve been able to pull together, buy into Brad’s system, improve every single day as a team and as individuals and we had a chance to make something amazing happen. That’s getting to the playoffs and trying to advance to the second round and I feel like we fought hard this entire series, we just fell short. Cleveland was the better team.”

Swept but close margins in all 4 games “Especially in the playoffs, everything slows down a little bit more and it shows that a few turnovers, a few bad shots, that could be the reason why you lose the game. Looking back at it, I know that everybody is like ‘Man we definitely had a chance,’ but all you can do is take from this experience, learning how to value every single possession. That’s one thing that Brad is getting better at, we have a lot of young guys that are learning that in the playoffs you don’t really have room for any mistakes and we improved every single game but we continued to make little mistakes and that’s really the reason why we lost.”


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