2/29 Arbella Quote Worthy: Rockets vs. Celtics
Click on a player to reveal quotes from their postgame press conference.
Why does it seem like against Houston you get sucked into isolation play?
“Well first of all, they switch every screen so they push our catches out. And they are one of the very few teams that switches that’s hard to slip against because they put their body in front of the slip and you can’t run them over. And so we got a couple of those but it’s hard to get good movement. We could have don’t a little bit better job, we did a better job the start of the game then the end of the game. But, you know, I thought that we were better attacking them than game 1. We had some really good looks that didn’t go down, as did they. But I thought the right team won. Like I thought they were, they’re physical presence is real. And so I think that when they turned it up a notch physically in the second half we got stagnant because they were imposing their will on the game and they can do that. You know that’s not a knock on our guys necessarily by any means it’s just like that’s their strength of their team.”
Calling a timeout during the last possession of OT:
“Yeah I mean it’s a little bit like that. The one thing that they do, like I said, we did it at the end of regulation and we got a reasonable look there in overtime. With all their unpredictability on the side and how physical they are, sometimes it’s hard to get it in. So, we felt like calling an action we were comfortable with and looking at multiple options. Which they blew up a couple of the options with their defense. But you know like Jaylen (Brown) going to his right hand for a pull-up jump shot. It’s hard to get a good look in those moments, and he got a clean look at the rim and we believe in him and trust him and like – so. I guess the one time I would have considered calling timeout is if I had thought (Daniel) Theis had control of the ball. You know, after the fact but you know I was good with the way we ended that. That was fine.”
Is there a set plan of action on missing the free throw play?
“Yeah. There is, but it would be kind of silly to talk about here because there’s you know only so many things you can do on it. If you watch it I think it’s pretty obvious what we tried to do. And Marcus (Smart) made a great play and Jaylen made a huge shot. And fouling up three at that possession with us having no timeouts is probably the right move 100 out of 101 times we just got lucky it was the one.”
Do you take something away from this game?
“Yeah I mean because we learn from everything. I think that’s important. The physicality was – it really affected us in both these games against Houston, like it really affected us. We have to become a little bit better holding our ground. Part of that is just the boot strength and part of it is picking your spots a little bit better, getting angles a little bit better. And then I think the other thing that you know is always a great reminder is that possession is never over until you have the ball. And they killed us on the glass in the third and fourth quarters. From the corners, and slashing and crashing. Those were big huge plays. Both teams played hard both teams made a lot of those plays I think they’ve made a few more. I think the right team won. I think that they were better than us tonight, not by much but at least by one.”
“I mean, they do a good job; they’re smaller so they got to be physical. And they got some strong physical guys so they did a good job of that. We just had to be a little tighter with the ball maybe a little better on that end to get what we want.”
What did you see during the final plays of regulation and OT?
“The free throw was just – you know we’ve worked on that in practice and you’re trying to miss it and then just make a play essentially. JB (Jaylen Brown) hit a big time shot. I don’t know who tipped it, if it was (Marcus) Smart or whoever. It sounds like something Smart would do so that’s big time play by him, big time shot. Last play of regulation we were trying to get something out of a play that we run and felt like that was a good look as well. You know I think we competed out there and fought back to give ourselves a chance, had our opportunities. Didn’t go our way tonight. We competed.”
Getting into an isolation with Houston:
“Well they switch everything so I thought we did a good job in the first half of really moving it and moving our bodies and the ball and slipping out and getting some easy looks. In the second half I think they ramped up the intensity a little bit and like you said we kind of got into the ‘iso’ game with them a little bit. But that’s kind of what they do that’s the style they are trying to play, how they’re built. So I credit them.”
Seems it is easy with the Rockets to get sucked into isolation plays. Why?
“I mean I think it is because of the team. They switch a lot. They are just very physical.”
Can you walk us through the last play of overtime and the difficulty you had initiating that last play?
“We were running one of our set plays and I throw it to Gordon (Hayward.) I am supposed to come off of a flair and he can either do a dribble-hand off with the guy in the corner, JB (Jaylen Brown) or come off the ball screen that (Daniel) Theis sets. JB got a good shot, something he could hit. It just didn’t go in.”
Talk us through the final play of regulation.
“That is something we practice: if we need to try and miss a free throw. We try and make a play and we got a good bounce it bobbled in. JB was in the right spot at the right time and he knocked down a big shot to give us a chance.”
Play in the second half:
“I thought the energy at first was not very good; whether they were cold or tired or a couple days up without a rhythm, I don’t know. We didn’t have a lot of energy on offense or defense but we kept hanging in there and kept plugging away, and at the end of the day we just found a way to win.”
“We have that ability to do it. They’re starting to believe that, yeah, we can do it every time. Obviously it’s not going to work every time, and sometimes superstars like him have off-games; it’s just the way it is. You can’t have that off-streak forever, but they’re a good team. To win the way we won, it’s good for us. We needed to win that one.”
What did Russell Westbrook show us tonight?
“Well you know he was MVP one year, right? That’s what he’s been giving us. He’s been doing it for a couple months, James (Harden) does it a couple months. To have those two guys is special; they don’t both have to play great. I thought both of them played okay, and they’re also great. He’s been going, he’s been rolling.”
Why was the defensive intensity so much better in the second half?
“Maybe if I had an answer I would tell you, but you know, good thing we did it.”
How does this team roster fit into your playing style in comparison to other years?
I don’t know, man. I try to find ways every year to be better and find ways to become a better player, and this team made it based on the changes we made in the lineup.”
They left you alone three times at the start of the game. Did that impact you at all?
“No man, listen, I’m a tough player. If that’s what teams want to do, good luck, but I’m going to go compete and I’m gonna keep attacking every single time.”
In a game like this, how do you pick your spots? What do you attack as opposed to dishing?
“For me, the more and more I play the game, the better I get at seeing my spots. I did a good job of that tonight for most of the game and I’ll watch some film and see where I can be better and put myself there for next game.”
Russell Westbrook taking over:
“That’s what he does. He’s at a high level. He’s been doing it, he’s more confident than he’s been, you know, so he’s able to go out there and perform.”
Where does Russell Westbrook rank amongst other players?
“He’s up there for real. He’s confident as hell, so he has both and that’s what makes him so special.”
“I just couldn’t make the shot, but that’s a part of the game. We did some unbelievable things in that second half and in overtime to force a win.”
What does a win like this in a place like this feel like?
“Making shots and everything being easy wasn’t the case tonight. Tonight we played tough, it was a grind at the end and we had to find ways to win. It wasn’t pretty but I think this is important for us.”