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Marcus Smart

1/18 Arbella Quote Worthy: Suns vs. Celtics

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston's 123-119 victory over Phoenix.

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

BRAD STEVENS

RE: How Mikal Bridges kept getting free:

“I mean, first of all, credit him. You know, like, we’re kind of – we’re kind of in a stretch of guys that are, you know, haven’t shot the highest percentage in the world that have really played great against us. And they’ve got to take advantage of that. But in the first half we missed him on a couple of opportunities that were system mistakes. And then, the second half they did a good job of playing out a trap with (Devin) Booker, because he was killing us. And then we played a little bit of a – kind of a zone that we were going to – we were going to take our chances with other guys. And (Dario) Saric and Booker hit – or Saric and Bridges hit – a couple big ones, when we cut it to five or whatever.”

RE: Marcus Smart’s effort, despite the loss:

“Yeah, obviously shot the ball well. They were going under a lot of screens and he obviously was shooting confidently and made some big shots late in the game, end of the half, all that stuff. He’s a tough guy, and he obviously got a lot of good looks and then took advantage of it.”

RE: Causes of defensive “slippage” in the last couple of weeks:

“It’s a good question. I mean, sometimes you go through runs like this. And I’ll try to weigh it. I went back and watched the Detroit game and the transition mistakes were costly; all going, we defended the three pretty well and they made a lot of tough shots. You know, sometimes you have to go back and look at it that way. Milwaukee, they got in a rhythm that had a lot with us and had a lot to do with them. Tonight, I’ll go back and watch. But we did a good job taking the ball out of Booker’s hands late, and those guys stepped up and made them. But our defensive system, we just need to be a little tighter and better with it.”

RE: Are there specific things you’d like the team to improve on defensively?

“Everything. I just – everything. Just every – every single angle you take on a pick-and-roll, how much you get into the body, how much you chase, how, when do you switch, how high are you as a big, when do you step back, how you guard the down-screen, do you trail it? Do you go under it? Do you meet them on a catch? What do you do? I mean, there’s 50 things to do on a possession; right now we’re doing about 46, on our best ones, and we need to do 50. “A little slippage is going to be a problem. We talk about it. If we don’t pressure the ball, the ball gets too deep. I mean, we say with (Deandre) Ayton today; he just bullied us. But we have to – we just have to get a little bit better. And this has been – this will be a good stretch when we look back on it, because it’ll force improvement. It’ll force urgency on every detail. It’ll force the ‘do your job’ for 48 minutes. And so that’s – you know, these are never fun to go through. You know, it sucks, but these are usually what you look back on and say was a springboard for you. I’m not surprised by the result tonight; I mean, these guys are talented and good and with everybody there, (Ricky) Rubio and Ayton, they’re a tough team to beat.”
MARCUS SMART

RE: At what point did you know you were feeling good?

“Right away. You know we were running a play and nobody was guarding me so I pulled up and shot it. I just told myself it was going to be a long night for them. And just keep shooting with confidence.”

RE: What does it mean to now hold the franchise record for most 3s hit in a single game, especially considering some of your struggles shooting from long range?

“Right now, I’m just not there. You know I’ll trade all that in for a win. Especially with the way this team’s been playing. I’d rather have the win than the record. I mean obviously it’s a great accomplishment. It just shows my hard work that I’ve been putting in is paying off. But that’s it I’d really trade it in for the win.”

RE: What does it feel to be so locked in like that?

“It’s a different feeling. It’s like you’re out there by yourself and no one is out there with you. And once you get in that zone it’s kind of hard to get out and play like that.”

RE: What has been lacking on defense?

“Just not really running our system on the defensive end. You know we gave up a lot of easy, easy, easy layups at the rim. Guys are supposed to be pulled in and it’s like we don’t know what we are doing out there and that’s a problem. We’re not really holding guys accountable on the defensive end. You know we can score the ball with the best of them but for some reason we are allowing, when we go on those rolls, we’re missing to affect our defense.”

RE: Is that a continuity issue?

“Yeah it takes everybody, you know, and it’s not easy. You know, coming in you’ve got a team that’s really talented. They’re coming in to play and beat you so we got to be on top of our games and we just got to understand that we’re going to have nights where we are going to shoot the ball well but we can’t have nights where we just don’t play for it on the defensive end.”
GORDON HAYWARD

RE: What do you take away from tonight?

“I mean, we just have to be better. I mean think certainly we can’t get behind like we have been recently, and you just make it hard on yourself. So proud that we fought back. Did the same thing in Milwaukee but we can’t dig ourselves a hole like that.”

RE: What has been the constant issue for the Celtics defensively lately?

“I don’t know. I think it’s something we are going to have to take a look at for sure. You know I think everybody in the NBA is talented and everybody’s got good players that can make tough plays and can hit tough shots. And for whatever reason guys are scoring on us at a high clip so we have to figure what we have to do to shut that down. But that’s something we’re going to have to take a look at the film and try to be better.”

RE: Were you caught in between figuring out if you were going to dunk or lay it in?

“Yeah. I mean I should have just went up and dunked it. That was the mistake was not dunking it but certainly was caught halfway thinking about it. Should have just went up and dunked it.”
MONTY WILLIAMS

RE: Boston kept coming but you guys held them off:

“We have been in these situations and the guys without looking at the film have just been able to make plays. Some of their shots they have made we're like ‘what do you do about that.’ Our guys played good defense and Marcus (Smart) was shooting lights out. It was an amazing display but our guys kept competing. Mikal (Bridges) kept hitting timely shots. Dario (Saric) hit a big three, Aron (Baynes) hits a big three at the top of the key. Book (Devin Booker), Book is book, it is not something I take for granted to have a guy that can get buckets like that but get it in the scheme of what you are doing. I thought that past that he made to Cheick (Diallo) for a dunk was a signature play for him. He always tries to make the right play and it is a big one for us.”

RE: Taking advantage of this stretch:

“I talk about our same stuff but in my head I am thinking. Ive heard coaches around the league talk about dog days and I dont even want to put that in our heads. Ive been talking about the energy that we have to play with and how you have to dig deep during these stretches. Hopefully we can continue to do it. Our guys compete every play and we had some teaching moments out there. But, overall I thought it was a gutsy effort and our guys just competed at a high level. That was something that helped us even when they were hitting shots.”
DEANDRE AYTON

RE: What did it take to close the game out?

“Focus, even though I can honestly say I apologize to my teammates at the end. I'm sorry for my lack of focus at the end. I think Gordon Hayward had an open alley-oop at the end that could have really brought a lot of momentum and changed the game. I was supposed to switch and I just made a facial expression that it was my switch. Fortunately, he missed; we are fortunate that he missed but stuff like that is how we close out games. I am glad we just finished off strong together though.”

RE: Mikal Bridges’ career high tonight:

“I was under the rim every time that ball went through the net. So trust me I know it was about time he brought it from practice to the main court to the showtime floor. I am just happy for him. Not only was he scoring for us he was really on the defensive end as well, hustle plays and stuff like that. Book (Devin Booker) is doing deep buckets, doing what he does best. Ricky (Rubio) being in the facility today, he can, and Dario (Saric) helping us out as well, helping me out down low. It was unified basketball like I told you guys in New York.”
MIKAL BRIDGES

RE: What was working for you tonight, as you got a career high?

“My teammates man. They found me when I was open and just staying confident and just shooting every time I was open.”

RE: Devin Booker:

“He is an outstanding player. He was going off and still being able to have the vision and find me and find everybody else. I know he’s like that. I played with him last year so even when he is hot he will still look for you so I was just staying ready I was waiting for the ball to come to me and be aggressive when I get it.”

RE: What did it take overall to close the game tonight?

“A full 48. They are an unbelievable team – they are what one, two seed in the East and they are really well coached. They aren’t going to stop playing so we knew that when we were up with five minutes left we knew they were going to keep going. They hit unbelievable shots and they got stops. We just had to stick with it the whole 48. Usually some teams give up but we go up 12 and then they miss and we get another three and maybe they will start calming down but they stayed locked in and we knew that we were going to do that, so we just stuck with it.”
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