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Jayson Tatum

2/11 Arbella Quote Worthy: Celtics vs. Rockets

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston's 116-105 defeat to Houston.

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

Brad Stevens

On the game:

“I thought that they forced us into being stagnant offensively with their physicality, with their switches, and that hurt us. Then, (James) Harden was great in that stretch and (Russell) Westbrook was great. Those guys are two of the best in the world and they showed it again tonight.”

On defending the Rockets

“You got to do your best to guard him hard without fouling. I think a lot of teams get tentative, because you’re concerned about the foul and so that was probably part of it. We just didn’t have our normal ball pressure. They put you in a tough spot; they’re good.”

On the Celtics appearing to be frustrated tonight:

“I don’t know, that’s a good question. Maybe it’s just late or mid-February. Across the league, maybe you see a little bit of that, I don’t know. That’s part of it – I think you’re frustrated when you get beat and you play. You know, they outplayed us. They were really good tonight, made a bunch of tough shots, they’re two best players were awesome. Probably creates some frustration, but I thought our guys battled. We just need to be better. We can’t be as stagnant.”
Gordon Hayward

On trying to defend the Rockets:

You have to play without fouling. It’s definitely easier said than done. They attack and just their ability to hit shots makes you want jump, but certainly we have to be better at that.”

On if he felt that the Celtics got frustrated:

“We’re all competitive. We’re trying to win, so we lost and it’s frustrating to lose.”

On defending James Harden:

“Depending on where he was on the court kind of influencing him to go in a certain direction. I think he shot too many free throws. We tried to keep him off the line and that’s easier said than done. We get to play him again, so hopefully we’ll be better the next time.”
Jayson Tatum

On what went wrong in the second half:

“I think they played more physical than we did. I think we just didn’t play with the same intensity as them or match it to win that game.”

On defending the Rockets:

“It’s tough, that’s the simple way to put it. (They’re) two of the best guys in the league. It’s not going to be just one guy; it takes a collective effort to try to guard them.”

On the Celtics appearing to be frustrated tonight:

“It was a tough nasty game. (We) tried to grind it out, wasn’t pretty. You know, guys are competitive and want to win, so sometimes you show your emotions. Everybody in here just wants to win, and it’s part of it sometimes.”
Kemba Walker

On how this game got away from him:

“Some bad plays down the stretch. Some bad fouls, especially when we had it to two. I fouled on a 3-point shot. That was just a bad play by myself. Then we got two more of those down the stretch. Offensively, it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t good enough to win this game. They were the aggressors all night and came out with the win.”

On the Celtics or himself being frustrated:

“I’m not the type of player to play with frustration anyway and I think that’s when I kind of have my worst games, when I’m frustrated. I have to be more conscious of not letting things like that affect me, especially me because I’m one of the leaders on this team. One of the guys the team looks at, so when I get frustrated it kind of triggers down to everybody and everybody starts to get frustrated. I have to be better at not showing my frustration as much as I did tonight.”
Mike D'Antoni

On if the win tonight can be attributed to changed execution:

“You know just it was all going to come down to we started making shots; they started missing shots a little bit, but I thought our defense was good all the way out especially when we made them turnover a couple of times. They weren’t real sharp down the end. We were a lot better. Overall I thought we played a very good game. That’s a good basketball team. That sends us off into the break in the right frame of mind.”

On the key to being so active on defense:

“They’re trying to force the ball into places that they think they have an advantage and when you start doing that—if we’re active and we have hands it makes it easier (when) jumping out in the passing lanes. Making them drive all the time into a defense that’s swatting their balls and stuff. (Robert) Covington had four blocks; he’s long, he’s a good addition. There’s just some good things happening and winning is hard. Winning is—you’re going to have to play hard to win and if we can do that, we’re going to be really good.”

On how the small ball is helping James Harden and Russell Westbrook:

“It opens the floor up for them. Both of them are great drivers and finishers, especially Russell (Westbrook). That’s his game. James (Harden) has his step back so whether it’s clogged up he still has an arsenal. he can go to. For Russell (Westbrook) it’s really advantageous and it will be for James (Harden) too. It makes him really hard to guard. But it also should trickle down to everybody else too. There should be wide open shots for (Robert) Covington and (Ben) McLemore and P.J. (Tucker) and it’ll just keep going on. If we just make the right play and, it’s easy for me to say it, but you’ve just got to figure it out—can I get to the rim or can I kick out for a three. If we can read it all night then we’re going to be hard. We’ll be really tough.”
Robert Covington

On if he’s getting a feel for what this version of the Rockets is capable of:

I’m getting better and better every day. Just trying to get accustomed to the style of play and it’s very simple to me. They want me to knock down open shots, and guard, and to do what I do, and just get a good feel. I know that a lot of the attention will be on James (Harden) and Russ (Russell Westbrook), so you’ve got to put them in the best position and we’ve got to put ourselves in the best position. Because once they have the ball, we’ve got to slip it and be able let them know that they (can) trust us to knock down open shots.”

On what the switching defensively does for the Rockets:

“It allows us to let them be disruptive on a lot of different phases of the court because, like you said, when we’re guarding the ball, we can put anybody on it. You’ve got Tuck (P.J. Tucker) and (Danuel) House (Jr.) and the other guys who can step in and be very versatile. Overall, just putting different people in and different matchups and you play a lot of different defenders in front of the ball and it’s not just one set guy.”
James Harden

On how the Rockets small ball lineup has been successful defensively:

The small ball lineup allows you to be aggressive in the passing lanes, so it can kind of deteriorate a lot of team’s offenses. By us being aggressive and teams pushing the ball, it’s easier for us to get into position to rebound and box out.”

On what about the small ball allows him to be successful:

I just think that the coaches and James (Harden), and Russ (Russell Westbrook) – everybody (is) doing a good job of finding me. I’ve been getting some work done in the gym off-time with (John) Lucas. Locking in defensively, I think is the key, because defensively, if we start there, I can get myself going offensively.”
Russell Westbrook

On getting defensive stops down the stretch:

It shows what we’re capable of, especially getting stops on demand against a really good basketball team. We did a good job of taking care of business.”

On playing with an open court:

“We can be pretty successful. We’ve got to continue to find ways to be effective and efficient and make the right plays.”

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