That's What He Said

That's What He Said - Cavaliers at Celtics (Game 1)

Read what the players and coaches had to say following Boston's 108-83 victory over Cleveland.

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


RE: Brad, what did you think of the job Marcus Morris did with help on LeBron? Also he had been in a shooting slump and he scored a lot of points tonight too

Yeah, I mean, he's a really good shooter. He's a good offensive player. I never worry about shots not going in game to game, he'll make shots. Then I thought by committee everybody worked hard. You just have to keep making it as hard as possible on LeBron. Easier said than done. He’s obviously not going to have many games like that. Their shooters around him won't have many games like that. But I thought our guys were locked in, and we're just going to have to be that again on Tuesday night.

RE: Brad, you guys seemed to be very aggressive out of the gate, attacking the paint, particularly with Jaylen [Brown] and Al [Horford] in the first quarter. Was that the game plan going in, just attack from there

We always want to have paintthreats that lead to lay-ups, free throws or threes.Sometimes we get those, sometimes we don't, but that's always what we'd like, whether it's off the drive, the post, rolls, transition, whatever it's off. We just want to constantly -- in an ideal world that's where we start on September 26th in our first meeting saying we want to attack the paint. So that doesn't really change night to night. I thought our guys played with a good aggression tonight. Going to have to play better Tuesday.

RE: Just how much did Al pack into those 25minutes tonight

Yeah, it was really good. Both ends of the floor, he covered for us a lot defensively. He did a great job when he switched. He did a great job when he was in help. He's our rock. He's the guy we really, really lean on.

RE: They sliced that lead down to, I think, 14 going into the fourth quarter. Looked like they had something going, and you guys jumped on them early in the fourth and got to a 7-0 run. What do you say to that crew? That's a defensive minded crew, what was the message to them going in there

Horford or [Aron] Baynes were going to start that quarter depending on who they had on the floor. We all know these leads ebb and flow a little bit. And they're going to have runs, we're going to have runs. So just stay the course. Do what we need to do. Play the way that we play best. The Morris rebound and dunk to start the fourth was a good way to set the tone for the quarter. Again, I think having the poise to say they're going to make some runs, they're going to make some plays, just focus on the next one...It's something that I think we didn't play as well with last year, and hopefully we can play a little bit better when they do go on their runs.

RE: Conventional wisdom says you don't poke the bear. Marcus was pretty frank with his comments coming into this game in terms of what he planned to do. How did you feel about that

I mean, I don't even worry about it. I don't pay attention to any of that stuff. I just pay attention to what happens on the court. We've got a lot of room to improve from tonight. I thought we missed some opportunities to close out the shooters. I thought some of our doubles were bad, and I thought offensively we got stagnant in their third quarter run. I think we're very alert to the fact that we'll get a heavy weight punch on Tuesday night. It's another great challenge, another great opportunity to experience something for this team.

RE:Marcus, LeBron can be intimidating. Why doesn't he intimidate you, and why did you look forward to guarding him?

First of all, I want to say Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mothers out there, including my own, Angel Morris. She's not here, but I just want to say happy Mother's Day to her. It’s a team effort, man. It's not just me. Everybody played their part in guarding him. He's obviously the best player in the game, and you need multiple guys and a team to guard him an entire game. I just think we did a great job of that.

RE: You said you did look forward to guarding him. Why is that

Because I'm a competitor. He’s the best player, you know? I'm going to be able to tell my kids this one day. It's exciting, I love the challenge, but like I said, man, it's a team effort.

RE: Marcus, during the first couple rounds you hadean up-and-down shooting stretch there. This was, I think, maybe your best showing of the postseason. What allowed you to get your rhythm out there tonight

Just playing in the flow of the game. Got a lot of open shots, a lot of easy shots. We just did a great job of moving the ball. If you look down at the box scores, we all shot the ball pretty well. We just did a good job of getting in transition, getting stops. Normally, once you get stops, the offense comes easier.

RE: With the way you guys were guarding LeBron, did you sense a change in him as the game went along? Just you're taking away him first in the passing lanes. Did he change?

I can't really say. He tried to get everybody -- that's what he does every game, he tries to get everybody involved in the game. I didn't really see too much of a change.

RE: Jaylen [Brown] and Jayson [Tatum], we've been watching these guys all year. But can you speak to them at their young age being able to perform like this on this kind of stage?

Our young guys are special, man. They've been showing it all year. Me, I know for sure that we don't expect anything less. I know you guys consider them as young players, which they are, but their mentality and the way they carry themselves is basically like veterans in this league. Like I said, they've been doing it all year, so we're not really surprised at whatever they do.

RE: Al, you guys have been a better offensive team in the playoffs than you were in the regular season.Is the ability to focus on a single matchup and sort of know where you're going to have advantages apart of that

I think that through the regular season there was so much changes with our group, guys inland out of the lineup, different injuries, a lot of things like that. Once we've been able to settle down and kind of find what fits this group, I feel like that's what prompted us being better offensively. But you've just got to give credit to Coach [Brad Stevens], because he ends up making adjustments and being able to key in in the playoffs, whichever the matchup is, and giving us those options to go out there and execute on offense.

RE: What sustained that 25-2 run in the first quarter?

I think it was our energy defensively. I felt like we really fed off a lot of our crowd, and then on offense, we were taking good shots. We were really moving the ball and really taking really good looks, that helped. We were knocking them down.

RE: Al, what did it mean, do you think to the team, particularly the younger guys on the team, to have Marcus embrace the challenge of defending LeBron, even if he was going to have help, and even if he wasn't really that successful and it had turned out that way, just that somebody would meet that challenge?

Yeah, Marcus is one of our leaders, and he's been a presence since the first day he go there. So I think that taking on this challenge is something that we expect out of him. We have his back out there. Like he said, we're doing it as a unit. It’s not all on him. But you do have to give him creditor his focus and his commitment for the team.

RE: Talking to you guys the last couple days and now seeing the performance that you put forth today, it just seemed like you guys had so much confidence coming into the series. How different did it feel as a team coming into this Game 1 as opposed to last year coming into Game 1 against that Cavs team that wound up going to The Finals?

I normally don't like comparing teams, but last year we came off of a grueling seven-game series against Washington, one day rest and we had to play Cleveland. Give them credit, they were the better team. This year we were able to close the series out with Philadelphia, have a couple days. I feel like the coaches came out with a great game plan for our group, and we just bought in and did what we were supposed to do.

RE: Brad mentioned the poise that you guys have shown so far, at least in this particular game as opposed to last year against the Cavaliers. That fourth quarter as it began, what is the message in the huddle and how did you guys show your poise in that first minute?

I think that the guys that started the fourth there were just great. They came out really focused on the defensive end. We got some stops. We turned the defense into offense. Just ran our offense well, and they really, I feel like, opened the game up at that point. They just kept attacking. Guys just kept playing the right way, and that's all it was. I mean, at times this year we've struggled early in the fourth with the leads and things like that. But I felt like the focus level was just really good, and guys were able to hold the lead.

RE: How Important was it to set the tone early

Man, it’s the Eastern Conference Finals, so I mean, what are we going to wait for? We have to come ready to play from start to finish. That’s what we did.

RE: Marcus Morris

Oh, he was fantastic. It was a well-orchestrated game defensively. You know, Cleveland is going to go back and make adjustments and they are going to come back and play a lot harder and a lot more controlled in the next game. We have to be ready for that.

RE: How important was it to establish home court after the record you have had with LeBron (James) in the playoffs?

It was very important. It was very important. Last year, if you look at it, they won two games here, at home, when we were the one seed. We are the two seed this year, they came in and we got a big win on our home court. Just the shift in mindset from last year to this year has been great and I’m just happy to be a part of it.

RE: Do you think this is a statement game for your team

Every game is a statement game. Especially with us and what we have been through. So every game is a statement game and we are looking to come out with control and go out there and have fun and play hard.

RE: How different is your confidence today compared to what it was last year?

Sky high. Obviously I have a bigger role than last year and I’m out there having a lot of fun and this group is amazing. You can’t really describe it but I’m out there having fun and my confidence just keeps rising.

RE: What was the key to you guys staying connected to LeBron (James) throughout the game but not letting the guys around him be open either?

I mean, LeBron is LeBron. He is going to make some crazy plays and he is going to do what he does. We are just going to try to make it as tough for him as we can. The other guys, obviously, (Kevin) Love and JR Smith we don’t want to give them open looks, Kyle Korver, people like that, so we have to take that away too . That has been a big emphasis the last couple of days. We did a good job and we just have to keep it up.

RE: Tonight’s win

Yeah. I mean we definitely feel good about this but we understand that they are going to come out with a lot more intensity next game and we have to be ready to match that and swing back.

RE: What is it like being out there with LeBron

Yeah. I felt like that the first game and second, third game. I can’t focus on that, then I would be unfocused.

RE: Jaylen Brown

He had a great game today. We really needed him and I’m glad he is back healthy.

RE: Rebounding has been an issue against the Cavs. How were you guys able to secure the boards?

Just really focusing on trying to get Tristan (Thompson) and Kevin (Love) off the offensive glass. Anything we do is a team effort.

RE: Where do you start with this one

We lost.

RE: [Marcus] Morris and [Al] Horford were obviously too much for you guys tonight. But how hard is it to make adjustments when it seems like you just didn’t play well across the board?

We didn't play well. We understand that. We know we have to be better. I thought early on they really attacked us in the paint. Having 60 paint points is way too many. But they played a good game.

RE: What did Marcus Morris and the other Celtics do to contain LeBron?

I thought they showed two bodies all night. When they thought he had driving lanes they helped make him kick it out to our shooters, so we'll have to look at the tape to see how they were playing him.

RE: Was it anything different than you've seen before?

We'll see.

RE: You were off almost a week. I know you don’t like to make excuses, but is it as much mental rust as it is physical rust, something like that?

No, we just didn't play well. We had the same amount of rest. They were off, too. They played better than we did tonight, and we understand that.

RE: What did you think of the job -- I know he had a lot of help -- that Marcus Morris did guarding you?

I thought they had great game plan Game 1. He was the start of it. He was my matchup, and I think they did a great job of communicating throughout the whole game, knowing where I was and knowing where our teammates was. Brad and the coaching staff did a great job in Game 1.You commend that. We have an opportunity to look at a lot of film tomorrow, and see ways they were making us uncomfortable, making myself off balance and not have a rhythm all game. So we'll be much better in Game 2.

RE: LeBron, what did you see differently from the Celtics defensively that you maybe didn't see against the Pacers or the first round matchup, or the Raptors?

No, I've seen every coverage, pretty much. For me, Game 1 has always been a feel-out game for me, if you've ever followed my history. So I’ve got a good sense of the way they played me today and how I'll play going into Game 2.

RE: LeBron, speaking of history, this building has been the scene of some of your greatest playoff accomplishments and some disappointments along the way too. Those Celtics teams were built much differently though, veteran teams, Hall of Famers. How is this challenge different for you, and how are you different now than you were back then?

Every year is a different challenge, no matter if you're going against the previous Celtics team or the present. They've always been well coached. They've always had multiple guys on the floor that can do multiple things, and they've always had two-way players. That challenge has never -- it's not like it's been different. It's always been that same challenge. So for me as an individual I just try to get better every year to put myself in a position where I can be successful.

RE: LeBron, you got started off 0-for-14 from three. When you're having a game like that, do you think that you and your teammates can feel the misses going into the next shot, and what do you feel about three-point shots moving forward in this series for you guys as a team?

Well, I mean, three-point shots is apart of our DNA. It's what makes us the best team that we can be. I think even early on with the shots that we had, we had some wide-open looks that just didn't go. I think in the first quarter, J.R. [Smith] and Kev [Kevin Love], G. Hill [George Hill], they had some great looks, they just didn't go. We're okay with that. We're absolutely okay with that. And we're going to take those same looks going into Game 2 if the opportunity presents itself.

RE: But you were talking about how the three is part of your DNA. You could change a lineup and go with a much different look. You could have Tristan[Thompson] in the frontcourt, which would change matchups. Did you see enough in one game to want to go in that direction, or do you stay with what got you here?

Well, I mean, you're asking a tactical question as far as something I can't control. That would be a Coach [Tyronn] Lue question if he wants to change the lineup or not. I think our coaching staff will give us the best game plan to go out and win, no matter who is in the starting lineup going into Game 2.Rev #2 by #244 at 2018-05-13 23:04:00 GMT page 1 of 2The three-point shot has been a big part since we pretty much assembled this team four years ago, and I think it's going to be a big part of it throughout the series, as long as we continue to get the ball moving and guys feel in good rhythm.

RE: Al Horford made a couple plays in that early run for them. How important was that to set the tone for this game?

I think it started from their momentum and what they wanted to do started from the tip ball. Horford tipped it right to Jaylen Brown and it looked like we had two on them, and next thing you know he's getting a lay-up right off the tip. So that kind of set the tone right there. We missed some shots, they made some shots. Horford hit a big three and also was able to get an and one and get Kev his early two quick fouls. So it kind of just started from the beginning.

RE: I'm saying they were, but I'm asking did that affect the way you guys executed your plays in the half-court?

No, physical basketball is part of playoffs. That's what you expect. I don't think you can just say that because you're not on the floor, but physical basketball is part of the postseason. So it's easy to make a narrative when you win or lose to say, okay, you guys played bad offensively and you lost, and then you win, and it's like, oh, you played better. So physical basketball started from Game 1 in the Indiana series when Indiana punched us in the mouth too in Game 1, and it's been like that throughout.

RE: LeBron, you guys were off practically a week. Did you feel that you might have lost some of your rhythm as a result? Was it kind of loose at the beginning of the game for you guys?

I don't think so. I thought offensively we got to where we wanted to get to, but they also shutoff a few things that they wanted to do as well. But I don't think it was a rhythm thing. We had some really good looks. We had been off before in previous years when we had weeks and week and a half. So that has nothing to do with it. At the end of the day you play the game when the schedule comes out and you get ready to go.

RE: Start of the fourth, I think they cut it to 14. Do you have any idea what -- I mean, I think they scored seven quick ones. Any idea what happened there?

What happened? We ran them --the first possession we ran them down all the way to two on the shot clock. Marcus Morris missed the jumpshot, fouled it up, they got a dunk. We came back down, we ran a set for Jordan Clarkson, and he came off and missed it. They rebounded it, and we came back on the defensive end and we got a stop. They took it out on the sideline. Jayson Tatum took the ball out, through it to Marcus Morris in the short corner, he made a three. We come back down, missed another shot. Then Tatum came down and went 94 feet, did a Euro step and made a right-hand lay-up, timeout. There you go.

RE: What’s an appropriate response to a performance like this?

Just go out there and win Game 2. Doesn’t matter how you get it done, just win. Whether you win by one or thirty, a win is a win in the playoffs. Just have to go out there and play hard core.

RE: Did this feel like the start to the Pacers series or did it feel even worse in terms of not hitting shots and them being so physical?

No. I think this is totally a different team. A different series. Granted we didn’t make shots that first series, but there’s definitely a difference between the teams. There’s a different vibe. They execute a little better. They have more guys in the perimeter that can put the ball on the floor as well as catch and shoot, so it’s a little different.

RE: What do you think made (the Celtics) so effective defensively?

Defensively, they’re extremely long. (Jayson) Tatum is 6’8” has long arms. Same thing with (Jaylen) Brown. (Marcus) Morris is huge, has huge arms and wingspan. Terry (Rozier) is extremely scrappy. Same as the other guys and it’s just tough. We didn’t help it by turning the ball over. They put us in tough situations to turn the ball over.

RE: Is it just bad one bad game or something more worrisome

Just one bad game. Bad first game, there’s lots of things we need to do better for the next one.

RE: What are some of the things you can do better?

Pretty much everything, I would say. I don’t think we did anything that well tonight. We didn’t shoot the ball well. We weren’t aggressive enough on defense. Long list.

RE: What made the Celtics so tough defensively?

They do a really good job of moving up to our first action. I don’t think we played with enough pace to really get to a good second on third. So that’s on us and that’s something we’re going to look at.