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May 16, 2017

Brad Stevens

Boston, Massachusetts: Practice Day

Q. Was it worth getting that No. 1 seed and getting to host?
BRAD STEVENS: I mean, obviously it's about playing well. Now, I think that if you're fortunate enough to play deep into the Playoffs, you obviously want to play as home as much as you can, but you know, wherever you play these guys, you've got a heck of a task ahead of you.

Q. [Jaylen] Brown the last series, how big was it for him?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, he had really played very consistently, both minutes and performance, and then it was one of those deals where against the Bulls we kind of found a rhythm without him. That's a tough situation to be in, but to his credit, he really stayed prepared. He put in extra work. He was ready to help us in the Bulls series, but knew that his time would come if we were fortunate to get out of there.

I thought from Game 1 on he was pretty darned good in the Washington series.

You know, those are tough situations for anybody to perform well, but to have that kind of maturity at that age, to be ready, stay ready and keep a good mindset is pretty impressive.

Q. Do you like the aspect of you guys staying in rhythm, just having one day off?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I like it because that's what we have to do, and that's what the schedule asks for. We're looking forward to competing and getting ready. You know, it hurt my sleep schedule a little bit last night, but otherwise everybody will be good to go.

Q. You talked about how Cleveland is a better team than what you've seen before. Are there specific things they're doing better now as opposed to earlier?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, they've had the same starting five now for three years. Those guys are continually going to get better just by playing together and being aware of each other and everything else, and then their bench is, I think, really, really good. When you think about [Deron] Williams and [Kyle] Korver and [Iman] Shumpert and [Channing] Frye and those guys, they've all had huge moments on the biggest stage, and so it makes it really difficult. You know, and I think all of those shooters around LeBron, I think it's something else. It's something else. It's tough to prepare for.

Q. I'm sure this isn't foremost in your mind, but can you reflect on where this franchise is getting ready for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the same time [about to get a high draft pick]?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I think that we've had some good fortune in a lot of ways. You know, I think from our standpoint, our focus has just been let's be as good as we can be every day and then let the chips fall where they may, and then we're just fortunate to have that draft pick. No matter what happens tonight, we're lucky to be one of the four teams playing, and we're lucky to have a lot of good things ahead.

Q. You agreed to the job right after the trade was made with Brooklyn. The idea of how this franchise was set up for the future, did that weigh into your decision?
BRAD STEVENS: No, I was too dumb for that. I think it was more the idea that it's the Boston Celtics and that this ownership group and management team had shown themselves to be really committed to growing and to building and to not riding the emotional roller coaster of an 82-game season, but I just felt like we were really going to be supported and helping to build.

So I think one of the good things that we did early on was stop using the term rebuild and started using the term build because I think it was a positive way of looking at it and saying, hey, there's a lot of guys that are young, they've got to put their signature on this, and that will benefit them sooner rather than later if we all stay the course and try to get better every day. It's fun to see some of those young guys perform at such a high level yesterday.

Q. Isaiah spoke a little bit about, since that Cleveland series a few years ago, how he's become more of a student of the game. Talk about his growth off the court in terms of understanding what he needs to do and things like that.
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I think any time -- he was a starter in Sacramento but came off the bench in Phoenix, came off the bench here, and he probably didn't see the attention that they gave him in that series prior to, at that level of intensity.

So I think especially with all the blitzing and all the times they're sending two people at you, make you have to try to figure it out. I thought the Washington series was a great example of adjusting with him in that they were probably back on pick-and-rolls, a little bit less helpful early, completely adjusted that, and were sending three guys at him, which he handled it great, and as other guys continued to find their spots, cut better and we got the ball out quicker, then his spots opened up again yesterday in Game 7.

So it's kind of how a series works, but you have to constantly adjust, constantly be on the fly, and that's where LeBron is so good. I think that you can't throw him one look. You just have to -- because he'll eventually pick that look apart.

Q. From a preparation standpoint, how much does it help against the Cavs that against the Wizards there were a lot of things you guys had to key on in terms of transition turnovers.
BRAD STEVENS: I think you have to transition and defensive rebound all the time, right, so I think that's huge. In our first four games against Washington, including our first two games against Chicago, we averaged 16 turnovers, and all of our other games we averaged 10. We played much better. Taking care of the ball is huge, especially with a team that runs and jumps and blitzes as much as the Cavs do.

And then because if we don't, we'll get killed in transition, and then we've got to be great at finishing plays on the defensive glass, and where the Cavs really kill you is when they get a rebound and spray it out and you've got all those shooters standing out there. Those things don't change series to series. How they play is different. The actions they run are different. The way that they kind of space the floor is a little bit different.

But you know, at the end of the day, basketball is about those things that you mentioned and trying to do as well as you can in those areas.

Q. What are you seeing from the Cavs that makes them a better team in such a short amount of time?
BRAD STEVENS: You mean since the early April -- whenever it was, late April? Early April, I think. I'm lost.

I think just watching them play in that moment that night, you could see that they were -- you know, because that was a time where everybody was talking about their defense and everything else, and you're watching it on film and you're kind of like, they're going to go to a different level, and they have, and I think it's -- again, it's a bunch of guys that have been there before. They have a ton of corporate knowledge built up, and you know, they fly around and can cover for each other with their savvy and their understanding probably better than most teams, especially younger teams that haven't been through what they've been through. And you see that in all their blitzing. They can blitz you from any which way, and they're always finding the next threat well, and I think that's a compliment to their coaching, it's a compliment to their players, their desire to take away the threats, and they've done a really good job of it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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