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February 17, 2017

Brad Stevens

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. A very successful college coach now in the NBA, how's the transition been like?
BRAD STEVENS: I think it's -- I was talking a little bit earlier about it. I've had great support from the front office, great support from our ownership. I think that's the most important thing. Then I think you're coaching basketball, you've just got to figure out what your team does well, who you have on the court, and try to put people in the best position to have success. That doesn't change.

Q. They gave you seven years. Did you know you were ready to go to the NBA?
BRAD STEVENS: I'd done enough research on not only the NBA, but the kind of place that I would go if I were to leave Butler, which was going to be a really hard choice. I decided I wasn't going to go to another college job. So it had to be a pretty special opportunity, and the Boston Celtics are as good as it gets.

Q. Given the busy schedule in the NBA, do you find you guys are practicing less this year than maybe in years past?
BRAD STEVENS: I think we practiced in the 30s, number of times. Right now in college, you'd probably be on practice 65 or 70. So it's much different.

Q. Do you find it easy to use practice days as a way to rest your guys?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah. Everybody gets caught up in how many minutes you play. What's the difference between 33 and 31.5 if you're not doing as much in shootaround or not doing as much in practice or taking an extra day off. Getting an extra 15 minutes sleeping at night, eating a little bit better. There are other ways to make sure you're prioritizing your body and making it through the season.

Q. How do you balance that rest versus trying to get the top seed in the Eastern Conference, that sort of thing?
BRAD STEVENS: We prepare our best to win every single game, but we make sure our guys have clear minds and fresh legs as much as possible. We just played a crazy nine days. We played in six straight games in different time zones, which I've never done. It was incredible. Our guys' resolve throughout it was pretty remarkable.

Q. First time as an NBA All-Star coach, how do you view the process? What do you give in terms of advice?
BRAD STEVENS: I don't give any advice. These guys know what they need to do, what got them here. My thing is enjoy the experience. Appreciate all that you've done to get here and be thankful for that. I think that's one of the nice things about today is being able to go out in the community and do things with these guys and being a part of something bigger than the individual accolade of being an All-Star.

Q. Coach, we're from Dominican Republic. I'm going to have to ask you about Horford. Tell us what he brings to your young team.
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah. I wish he was here. I think that Al is a tremendous leader. He's a tremendously skilled player. We brought him in because we thought he fit with us on both ends of the court perfectly. Beyond that, we brought him in because he's as good of a teammate and as selfless of a player as you can be around.

Q. I think he appreciates the attention, though.
BRAD STEVENS: He's had a great impact on our locker room and a great impact on our team. He's looking forward to being refreshed when he gets back. I do believe that. It's an honor to be here. I wish that he could have joined us.

Q. Talk about what impressed you most about the evolution of Kawhi?
BRAD STEVENS: He's ridiculous. He's one of the best two-way players in the game. His defensive ability to shut guys down one through four is incredible. And really his one through five in the modern game. His offensive ability keeps rising and rising. When he starts shooting 40 percent from three or 38 percent from three or whatever it is the last few years, he's a really tough guy to stop because he can post, he can drive it, he can step back and shoot, he can run off screens and shoot. He's just a hard guy to guard.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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