Keys to the Game
Al Horford

That's What He Said: Pacers vs. Celtics (Game 2)

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston's 99-91 victory over Indiana.

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


RE: What were you thinking when the Celtics were down 12 in the fourth quarter?

“You know, just continue to play the game one possession at a time.  I thought the group at the start of the fourth kick-started us off well, and then when some of our starters came back in, I thought they really played well.  Al (Horford) played I think 16 straight minutes or 15 straight minutes, and I told him I’d use one of my time-outs that I didn’t use so he’s probably pissed at me.  But he is – I thought his play on the glass, his play protecting the rim, and then everybody else moving the ball and finding the next right shot just kind of allowed us to hit singles and get back in it.”

RE: Kyrie Irving’s performance in the fourth quarter, plus timely shot-making by Jayson Tatum:

“Well first of all, Kyrie was incredible in coming back and when he gets on a run like that, he’s going to draw even more attention than he already draws – which is as much as anybody draws in the league.  And so, in the last couple minutes of the game, he just made the right play.  He got off the ball and he drew two and other guys made plays.  And it started with Jaylen’s (Brown) kick-out in transition, which was one of the best plays I’ve ever seen him make.  I just – I told him after the game, I’m so happy for him.  Just thinking about him driving left, jumping up in the air and delivering a pass to the opposite corner is a tremendous, tremendous play. And then Kyrie got off of it a couple times because they doubled him or showed off of him, and Tatum was able to drive one time for the dunk, one time for the dump-off, and I was really encouraged by the way we shared the ball and just made the right play.  And then Kyrie was special.”

RE: Riding Terry Rozier for eight minutes in the fourth quarter:

“I think that he can – I think sometimes when it’s going like that, you need to be able to score, obviously, but you also need to be able to pick the ball up, make them a little bit more uncomfortable, do those types of things. And I think Terry obviously does a good job of that.  That’s one of the advantages of playing a little bit lesser minutes is you’ve got more energy to do stuff like that. And when we’re at our best, he does a good job of that. And he was huge in that come back, way more than the stats, as you said.  I don’t always think the plus/minus tells us the most accurate story, but tonight I think, with him, it’s very accurate. We don’t score in that last two minutes it’s not probably the question, right? So, play the next game, one possession at a time.  We’ve been up 2-0, heading to Washington two years ago, heading to Milwaukee last year, heading to Philly last year, heading to Cleveland – and in three of those games we got our doors blown off in the first six minutes of the game.  So, it’s a different – every game’s its own entity; you don’t think about how good you played or how lucky you were or anything else; you try to get it done. You move on to what’s next and play the next possession and it’s hard.  We have to be ready for what’s coming in Game Three.”

RE: Defensive stops that led to runs, especially at the end of the game:

“I thought our defense was really good.  (Bojan) Bodganovic hit a couple of incredible shots; Wesley Matthews hit a tough shot fading away off of a kick-out that I thought was a, you know, a high pass where he had to jump for it, land, and shoot it. That’s hard. But I thought our defense in the last five minutes was excellent and then certainly in the last few possessions. Because we had a couple empty possessions before that when they were up two; came back down and got stops and kept playing. But Al (Horford) was – Al was great in the paint for us. Both protecting the rim on some of those drives, guarding in isolation at the top of the key, and then – and then rebounding.”

RE: What is it about the playoffs that gets your game go to the next level?

“Yeah, I just get really excited.  It’s the best time of the year for basketball.  It’s the most important time of the year so you got to try to be your best.  Be aggressive because every game really counts.”

RE: Your play in the fourth quarter:

“I think what was really important was JB’s (Jaylen Brown) pass.  For him coming down the court, he could have easily shot the lay-up or tried to get fouled.  That was a hell of a pass by JB so I’m going to have to knock it down.  When Kyrie (Irving) threw it late and I attacked the basket, Gordon (Hayward) made a great cut.  We were just all on the same page towards the end.  We were making great plays, sharing the ball and getting stops.”

RE: What does a game like this mean for you and this team?

“It’s big.  We knew game two was all about adjustments.  We knew they were going to come out, play a lot better and they did. We were down 12 going into the fourth but in the playoffs; you don’t win quickly or lose quickly.  It’s a long game and we needed everybody out there."

RE: What did you bring to the table tonight?

“I think we did enough to win and they did enough to win as well in certain instances of the game.  We made some big time plays on the defensive end; getting defensive rebounds, making them miss.  Just staying aggressive and staying poised down the stretch.  I think we utilized some of our go-to plays down the stretch, who we wanted to attack and we executed very well.  Where guys were not necessarily dependent on taking those mid-range shots but attacking the basket and trying to make plays within the play and it worked.  Well first tonight, JT (Jayson Tatum) made some shots and I made some shots as well. So we paced ourselves pretty well.  The object of the game is to outscore the other team and I was trying to put as many points on the board as I could in that third quarter just to sustain something for us.  We didn’t start off as well as we would have liked, but that happens sometimes.  You have to be able to weather the storm and I think we did a great of that tonight.  Everyone involved, wasn’t about just putting points on the board.  It was about doing the little things.  It was a gritty win but we understand the team we’re playing against, veteran team.  So we have to stay locked in and I think we did a great job of that.”

RE: Coming back in the fourth with only a four point deficit:

“That’s what we need.  That’s what we need.  That’s being able to manage the game very well where guys are going out and their making playing for each other.  We picked up our pressure, ball handlers.  We picked up our pressure on the pick and rolls.  We got stops and we got on transition.  We did like I said, did the little things.  That’s what’s going to get you wins in these playoffs.  It’s not so much about the talent, not so much about always executing the right way.  It’s just about doing the little things in the time when it’s needed in the game.  I think we did that.  We just have to stay consistent.  There are definitely some mistakes that we can get better at, things we can improve on going into game three at their place.”

RE: Take us through the last 12 hours or so and how you’re feeling:

“I had a stomach virus and just tried to do everything I could to get back on the floor. I was glad I was able to come out tonight and help the team.”

RE: When did you know you’d be able to help team tonight?

“I prepared myself like a normal game, focused like a normal game. I just missed shootaround, besides that mentally I was watching film and doing the things I needed to do to get ready to go.”

RE: What was the difference in the 31-12 fourth quarter?

“I just think that, even early in the third I felt like we were getting stops, and then they kept putting it in the second chance points and hit some timely three’s. In the fourth we really, really locked in and held them to one shot and really made them earn everything they got. I think that was the difference. On offense we just kept making the right play, guys trying to play the right way. That drive to Jaylen (Brown) had at the end, kicked it out to (Jayson) Tatum that was huge. Coach (Stevens) has been harping on that and he did it in that moment and then Kyrie (Irving) throwing to Tatum out on the wing was also a big play and then Tatum drove it and found Gordon (Hayward) on the baseline. I felt like we just continued to play the right way.”

RE: What do you say to the group about this game?

“We got to finish. We got to do a better job of finishing games and situations like that. Execution on both ends of the floor, getting stops defensively, offensively being clear about what you want to do and what you need to do in that situation. We all have to do a better job, I have to do a better job, we all have to do a better job.”

RE: Miles Turner speak to his defensive game:

“He did a good job of defending the basket. They were attacking the basket; he did a real solid job of defending the basket. When he went out of the game, they were able to get back into the game attacking the basket. He did what he does, which is defend the paint and he blocked shots and that was big. We had pressure on the perimeter and those guys, (Kyrie) Irving, tough to guard him out on the perimeter when you’re crowding him so he’s going to get by and Miles was there to clean up.”

RE: Where do you think things went wrong in the 4th quarter?

“We missed a couple of layups, we missed some open shots, we had some bad possessions during that time. We just got to be clear about what we are doing, get the shot we want, and you got to make shots when you have those opportunities and we just didn’t finish.”

RE: Speak about final two minutes:

“There’s always been one quarter that kills us in the second half; it’s either the third or the fourth quarter. Last game it was the third quarter and as you can see tonight it was the fourth. We only scored 12 points and they scored 31. It’s always tough, we’re getting good looks and shots are not falling. They are picking up their defense in the fourth and we’re playing as hard as we could and we’re doing the same things that we’ve been doing. The biggest thing, like I’ve always said, is we just got to put together a 48-minute game and we haven’t been able to do that.”

RE: Speak to what Boston did late to catch you guys off guard to close out the game:

“They put the ball in Kyrie’s (Irving) hands. As you can see, he had 37 tonight. When they put the ball in that guy’s hands, he makes things happen, he made some tough shots and I think that was the ending factor for us. He was making shots and they were playing defense and we weren’t able to make shots.”

RE: What were some defensive challenges in 4th, especially when Miles Turner was not playing?

“Not having a shot blocker at the rim is one of the biggest things. That is what most people in this league want, they want shot blockers, they want guys that can go out and erase shots like Miles, but we can’t play him the whole game. We have to give him some type of rest and during the time he was resting they were taking full advantage of it and driving the ball to the rack and getting kick outs, making three’s and just moving the ball and spacing us out.”

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