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Semi Ojeleye

3/4 Arbella Quote Worthy: Celtics vs. Cavaliers

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston's 112-106 victory over Cleveland.

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

Brad Stevens

On tonight’s game:

“That’s one of the more rewarding wins that I’ve been a part of coming off of last night shorthanded. Everyone was gassed. You could see at the end of the third quarter, I thought both teams were dead. But...we found a way, we persevered, and I thought we played well late which was good coming off of last night. Things got tight, we made the right plays and made them over and over again.”

On Semi Ojeleye’s performance:

“He’s the best. He’s a great worker. He’s a great teammate. When everything is not going your way, you know he’s a guy that you know is in everybody’s corner and I think that that’s huge when you start talking about teams. You also know that he can not play one night and being effective in his role the next. You’re not going to get 22 from him every night but he was really good tonight.”
Semi Ojeleye

On the response to Coach Steven’s request to show great competitive character today:

“It was great. We are obviously disappointed about last night. The kind of guys we have, we want to win every night by any means. We came out tonight and set a great tone. I thought we played a full 48 minutes tonight.”

On tonight’s performance:

“I thank God. It’s nights like this that you keep your faith going. We try to take advantage when you get opportunities like this and when there’s not, you just keep working. I felt relief [when a couple shots went in]. It’s kind of like a weight off your shoulders just knowing that you put in the work and you finally get to let it show for a little bit. Now it’s time to put in more work.”
Jayson Tatum

On tonight’s performance coming off the illness:

“It felt good to be out there. I’m kind of tired but it was fun to be back playing.”

On dealing with the double team:

“Yeah, we knew it was coming. It’s simply making the right plays – somebody is going to be open, so it’s just trying to find them.”

On Semi Ojeleye’s performance:

“Semi played great. He hit big shots, he hit some shots that really kind of like sealed the game. He works his butt off and doesn’t always play, but when his name is called, he steps up and he is a big reason why we won tonight. It just shows how mentally tough he is. Obviously, he wants to play and he works as hard as anybody, but you know once he gets the chance he shows what he can do.”

On his mentality coming in:

“I just try to do my part, whatever that is on any given night. Last night was tough for everybody and tough for me to watch and I am proud of how we came back and we responded. We could make excuses because of a lot of guys have injuries but we just try to figure it out.”
Marcus Smart

On tonight’s win

“It was huge. The lackluster effort that we had the other night was unacceptable. You have to show how the growth as a team, the type of team we are, the type of team we want to be and that’s to come down and winning this game. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, we played a really good team, we knew they were going to fight, but this was a big win for us.”

On the rest of the team’s mindset:

“We got to pick it up, it’s their time to step up and you know bring to the table what we know they can bring to the table. But, most people don’t get to see because we are so deep that with the timing like I said you know Semi (Ojeyle) was one of those guys tonight where he took full advantage of it.”
JB Bickerstaff

On Collin Sexton’s performance:

“His mindset and his ability allows him to do things that other people can't, you know what I mean. There's not that many guys that have the speed that he has, the ability to finish the way that he can. But, I think the thing I was most proud of is even though he got the 41, he was making the right basketball play over and over again. He created for his teammates, got his teammates open shots and when it was opportunities just to move the ball and get the hockey assist he made those plays too. So, he played an entire game on the offensive end of the floor, which is what you're looking for from that position, a guy that doesn't just score but finds a way to get his teammates involved as well.”

On synergy between Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr.:

“They work well with one another because of their skill sets, you know, one's ability to space, the other's ability to pass. I think it's a good combination. They can both rebound the basketball. You can do some creative things with Larry defensively, so I think it's a good combination.”

On the fluid play and things clicking on offense:

“I think it has been building, but I think the messaging to our guys is clear and the idea and the feel when you're on the floor and that is happening, everybody's a part of it and everybody just feels that much more involved and that much more included. So, they know it's going to come back to them, you know if you're thinking you're not going to get it then the one time you touch it, it's like well you know I might get mine this time, but, because we're doing it, everybody feels like they're part of it and everybody feels like they're going to get a taste.”
Collin Sexton

On the team’s fight tonight and the grit they’re continuing to show:

“I feel like we just played to the end. We were down a few bodies, but we didn’t let that stop us. We played to the end, we played hard. They were on a back-to-back, so we tried to run a little bit and they made shots down the stretch, which made it tough.”

On the difference in his game and the offense as he continues to set new career highs in points:

“I would say it’s changed a whole lot, just because I’m out there being able to control the flow of the game and calling plays not only for myself, but for my teammates as well. So it feels good being at the point position and just orchestrating the team and just being that vocal leader out there, because the guys are feeding off my energy.”

On his assists also making the difference in his game

“Oh yeah, absolutely – just making the right reads and not trying to force anything. If I make the right reads, it’s going to open up for everybody on the floor, especially if Cedi (Osman) starts hitting it (shots) and Kevin (Love) starts hitting it (shots), they have to close out to them pretty hard. Once we get into a drive-and-kick game, then they’re scrambling on defense and we can get whatever shot we want...I made a few good passes, good reads. They’ve been talking to me about it, just making the right plays and the simple play, and when you continue to watch film, you’re starting to see it. So the bottom man is shrinking and the corner is open. So just me continuing to watch film with Coach Lindsay (Gottlieb) – she’s been helping me a lot with that – so we’re going to continue to grow and continue to get better at that.”
Kevin Love

On the fight the team displayed tonight despite the loss:

“Yeah, I think it’s definitely a tough one, because we felt we could’ve won. But they made some big plays down the stretch, got a couple calls to go their way, got to the free throw line and that’s the type of team that they are. They’re down but never out. Yeah, we were depleted, but I felt like, again, we executed extremely well and played extremely hard and we continued to fight. KP (Kevin Porter Jr.) went down early, but Delly (Matthew Dellavedova) stepped up, the guys came in off the bench and even though we had a short rotation, we were still going out there and fighting. So that’s what you have to look for moving forward because we will get guys back – we just have to continue to have that type of effort night in and night out.”

On what he has been seeing in Collin Sexton recently and while setting another new career high in points tonight:

“Just so much confidence. I looked at him on the free throw line and I told him we needed a three. I looked at him and I said, ‘Listen, I’m taking the ball out, so I’m going to give it to you.’ I knew he had 38 (points) – I don’t think he was really paying attention, but I tried to screen in a little bit below the three-point line and he made a big shot for us, which was a great shot because he ended up getting open. I took two guys with me, so he shot right over it, got that 40-piece, got his first of definitely many, and he just continues to have so much confidence on that end. So he’s really, really flying and I think things are slowing down for him as well. But there were even times tonight when he got into the lane, he kicked that ball out to Cedi (Osman), got his sixth assist – so that’s just the type of player he is. He continues to get better and he’s a guy that nobody is going to outwork. I think you’ve continued to see that through this year and (he) just continues to get better.”
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