Keys to the Game
That's What He Said - Celtics at Cavaliers

That's What He Said - Celtics at Cavaliers

Brad Stevens

RE: When the game went wrong:

Right from the start. I was watching Bucks-Bulls last night and it was 22-22 with four minutes left in the first quarter. I said, if it’s 22-22 at the four minute mark then we’re in trouble. It was 22-22 with 3:19 (to go). We had not done a very good job up to that point of making it as difficult as we needed to from the start. I thought it was really a game that offensively, we were good in the first half, and defensively we were good in the second half. But we never really put it together. I’m not overstating this. Credit them, they’re really good.

RE: How to stop Cleveland when its clicking:

Obviously (Kevin) Love is 5-for-14, so he’s going to make some. But for the most part, we guarded him as well as we could. Kyrie (Irving), I thought we defended really well on a couple of shots that he just hit. I said this before the game, the ones that you look back on when you’re coaching are not when they go Superman on you. It’s the ones where you give them a run-out because you turn the ball over or you over-dribble and take a bad shot and then they’re on the break the other way. Those are the ones that kill you.

RE: Stopping the Cavaliers on defense:

We’ve got to do a better job of making contact and getting the ball. This is what great teams do to you. They put you in a position where you have to pick your poison. We have to pay attention to LeBron (James). We have to pay attention to Love and Irving. We’re going to have to do a better job of rotating.

RE: The little things mattering:

Your margin (for error) is greatly decreased when you’re playing a team of this caliber, so all of that stuff feels like a much bigger deal on each possession. You just have to be great on both ends the whole time. All 48 minutes.

RE: Moving on to Game 2:

We’ll learn from it and improve from it. (It’s) very simple. I don’t want to overdo it. This is a long series. I think that we have to learn from what we didn’t do well, and try to continue what we did do well and do it more often.
Isaiah Thomas

RE: The team's mindset after the loss:

We’re still confident. Coach said we did a lot of really great things and we did some bad things. They kind of evened out, and that’s why we ended up losing the game. So we’re still confident. Guys are ready for Game 2, knowing that good or bad you’ve got to have a short memory. There are possibly seven games in this series, and it could go either way. But we’re still confident and we’re excited.

RE: Matching up with Kyrie Irving when he's on like he was in this game:

First off, he’s a talented basketball player. He’s one of the guys that takes tough shots and makes tough shots. There were times we were right in his face at the end of the shot clock, and he buried a three. That’s just his game. We’ve got to somehow try to take those away from him and make him into a playmaker and not so much of a scorer. He’s a hell of a player and we’ve got to slow him down to win this series.

RE: If it's deflating playing a team that seemingly can't miss:

It’s frustrating, but coach always says, ‘onto the next play.’ No matter if it’s good or bad, we’ve got to focus on the next play. It sucks because you play good defense for 23 seconds on the shot clock, then they make a hell of a shot. But that’s what great players do. We’ve got to move on to the next play, so that’s what we’re worried about.
David Blatt

RE: Cleveland's bench:

In the playoffs, each game is developed a little bit different. This was the first game, of course, for corrections and things like that. You’re going to need a contribution from everyone who steps out on the floor. You’re going to get better days from some and maybe less outstanding days from others but the important thing is that guys can come in and give a team a lift or play major minutes when necessary. Sort of look at two extremes. Look at Shawn Marion who comes in there and gives us two steals and we finished the half with a three-point shot. That’s basically earning five points. Then Marion doesn’t play the rest of the game but that’s an enormous contribution. Then you got Shump (Iman Shumpert) who comes in and plays many minutes than he does in our normal rotation because J.R. (Smith) got in foul trouble and he was doing such a tremendous job as the team was obviously rolling with him. We played it the way that we need to win the game. Those guys stepped up when we needed them each in his own way.

RE: Making adjustments after the first quarter:

In the first quarter, they had 15 points from one-on-one situations. They were running a play and moving the ball but at some point during the offense, it was just a (one-on-one) situation. We got broken down off the dribble or gave up an easy in-between shot that wasn’t defended the way we normally do. We made a couple of corrections after the first quarter and for the most part, we just locked in a lot better and didn’t give them so many easy one-on-one plays.

RE: Kevin Love's performance:

I just really liked the way Kevin was locked in the whole game. He was playing the game regardless of whether the shot was going in or not. I think he was 2-for-11 in the first half and he had some pretty good looks but he continued to play. The guy finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, drew two charges, and at least one of them was a huge play. He really played a great game for a first playoff game. Everybody was worried about how Kevin and Kyrie (Irving) would do in their first playoff games. Well, Ky had 30 and Kevin had 19 and 12, and Tristan (Thompson), of course, played a great all-around game.

RE: Kyrie Irving's big game:

Well, I thought we found him when we needed to. We gave him the space to play and utilize his skills in terms of breaking guys down or creating shots for himself when we’re not helping him create. Listen, he’s a tough guy to guard. Let’s be honest. He has the ability to create his own shot and create for others. We have guys around him that can create for him and also get him good looks at the basket. No big secret but that’s the way it works.
LeBron James

RE: How Cleveland's playoff first-timers performed:

I thought they were phenomenal. Starting with Ky (Kyrie Irving), I think he is our floor general. He set the tone early on with his ability to make shots and his ability to get in the lane. Obviously he can shoot the ball extremely well and he was able to mix it up. I thought he was phenomenal. Even with Kev’s (Kevin Love) shot not falling early, I felt like just the rhythm that he was in and the aggressiveness he was in would pay off later for us. He turned it around in the second half and was very aggressive, getting the ball where he wanted, getting the touches where he wanted. When Kev shoots eight free throws, that lets me know he’s very aggressive and for him to have a double-double tonight, those two guys, they succeeded in their first time being in the postseason.

RE: If the Cavaliers were tight at the beginning of the game:

I don’t think they were tight, I just think the nerves. Our fans are very excited, our fans are very intense. For us, as a ball club, we just have to just play the game. Not worrying about what’s going on, don’t worry about the refs. Either you like a call or you don’t like a call – that’s not what it’s about. It’s about our game plan and how we can get better each possession. They were making a lot of shots early on. We felt like some plays didn’t go our way but you have to maintain your game plan and go out and focus on the next possession. I thought after that we did that.

RE: If Boston's strong first quarter kickstarted the Cavs:

I don’t think we need a kickstart. It’s the postseason. Teams are going to make plays and we’ve just got to figure out how we can get a stop defensively and continue to execute offensively.

RE: The Cavaliers' reserves:

For us, all we ask out of our bench is just to defend and to give us high energy. Everything else is always extra credit for us. For them, first of all double-T (Tristan Thompson) always comes in with all the activity in the world. He gives us second possessions, he screens and rolls, he catches lobs. He does so many great things for us. And then Shump (Iman Shumpert), he brings in another bolt of energy. (With) his defensive mentality, he can guard one through four. Whatever assignment he has, he’s going to lock in on that. And then Champ (James Jones) and Delly (Matthew Dellavedova). Champ comes in whenever you need him. It could be one second, it could be 30 minutes. He’s going to give us that ability to shoot the ball and he’s just a great mind. He knows how to play the game. Delly will go 110 percent, and when he burns out he’ll come out and he’ll go back and give you 110 percent, nothing less. I thought the most important guy off the bench tonight was Trix (Shawn Marion). Trix comes in for those seconds at the end of the third quarter and gets back-to-back steals. Those possessions count, especially in the postseason where every possession is very important. He comes in and gives us two steals. At the start of the fourth, he sits right back down. That’s just a true professional right there.

RE: Making an effort to involve Kevin Love:

It’s very important that Kev stays involved. For our ultimate goal, Kevin has to be in the rhythm or at least touching the ball and feel like he’s a part of what we’re doing, which he is. For me, I’m going to have the ball a lot, Kyrie is going to have the ball a lot but I just try to find a way to get Kev touches. Early on if it’s in the post, or if I come off pick-and-rolls, he’s always like, between him and J.R. (Smith), they find themselves open on the weak side for the those threes. Even though he was missing shots early, those were great shots and he was very aggressive. I wanted him to just stay with it…as one of our slogans ‘stay with it’ and he did that in the second half – getting down in the post, making a three as well. It was huge for our team.
Kyrie Irving

RE: How playing on a big stage brings out the best in him:

You just think about the preparation, those big moments that you mentally put yourself in way before you play in them. It makes it easier for me when I have guys like this that have my back and are consistently giving me confidence every time out, every jump shot they’re shooting or I’m shooting. It just makes my job to go out there easier and just be myself. The first time we actually got together, that was the first thing that we said. We’ve got to continue to give each other confidence game to game, now especially in the postseason. We just have to lift each other up every single game.

RE: His mindset when he was shooting the first-half buzzer beater:

Delly forced Isaiah (Thomas) into a tough shot. He had a great pull-up and someone had to step up in transition. I’m not sure who, but they got me open. It was just me and Evan Turner. It was a big time shot going into the half, but without that screen and without our pace coming down, I wouldn’t have gotten that shot.
Kevin Love

RE: Playing in his first playoff game:

Obviously, coming into my first playoff game it was a little bit of just anxiousness. I don’t think it was nerves, it was just so much excitement. The fans were great. They were waving the shirts, they had the little red batons going so I think that played into it. More than anything I just want to stay aggressive, like LeBron said. We’ve been drilling a lot the last few days. I think the preparation has been great. I just wanted to really get that second wind and make a big impact. I think the second half and really the second quarter from then on I felt like I kind of settled myself and was able to play my game.

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