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May 17, 2017

Jae Crowder

Isaiah Thomas

Boston, Massachusetts: Postgame

Cavaliers - 117, Celtics - 104.

Q. Talk a little bit about just the start of this game. It seemed from the jump you guys were kind of fighting uphill against these guys. Aside from LeBron James, what were some of the keys to them getting off to such a great start?
JAE CROWDER: I think their energy level was by far higher than ours to start the game. They set the tone to start on both ends of the court to start the game, and we started playing catch-up from there. I think we've got to come out and play a little harder and more aggressive on both ends of the court to start the game.

Q. I know you guys probably don't want to address it, but was there an emotional letdown after the Washington series and having to start this series one day later?
ISAIAH THOMAS: I don't think so. They were the better team tonight. They hit us first. They were more physical. Like Jae said, on both ends of the floor. And that was the difference. With a team like that, the defending champions, you can't let them hit first. We'll make sure it's different on Game 2.

Q. The combination of those guys coming out hard, LeBron, and then you guys missing a bunch of shots, open shots, how difficult was that combination really to overcome?
ISAIAH THOMAS: It was big. I mean, we got the shots we wanted on the offensive end. Almost all of the first half we got what we wanted; we just couldn't capitalize on it. And I think that was a big reason why our defense was let down as well. It's tough to continue to keep playing hard, even though we need to, when you don't see shots fall, and we can't let that happen again. But I think that was a big reason why we had a letdown in that first half.

Q. Jae, primarily how tough is it to guard LeBron one-on-one when he's going downhill, he's getting a head start? How tough is that, and how can you guys make it difficult for him and for Love in Game 2, because both of them were able to be effective?
JAE CROWDER: Yeah, obviously he's a great scorer, and when he gets going downhill, he just has to see bodies. I have to do a better job of being up to touch on him, being on the ball, making it tough for him. But he has to see bodies behind me. We have to do a better job of showing help early, then getting out and spreading out to the shooters so they won't be a factor in the game.

We'll watch film and try to adjust to it and give him a different look, obviously. He got comfortable with what we were doing on the defensive end and he had his way. So we've got to switch it up and come with a different game plan.

Q. Jae, you and I have talked quite a bit this year about you being a key portion of when you guys play a small ball lineup. During this game you guys did that during the second half. Seemed like you found a little bit more rhythm. What did you see that changed for you guys when you did go small?
JAE CROWDER: Yeah, I think we were able to capitalize on how they were defending the pick-and-roll, especially with Isaiah being the primary ball handler. We were able to make reads and play it simple and keep it very simple because we know we can get any shot we want against these guys. It's just about us keeping it simple and getting our reads and making the right play.

But we'll take the good from the second half and try to watch film on it and get better and prepare better for Game 2.

Q. You credited the athleticism of the opposing team, but to what do you credit the amount of time off that they had in their performance tonight, so many nights off, so many days off versus your one day off?
ISAIAH THOMAS: You've got to give it to them. You've got to tip your hat to them. They were the better team tonight, and they had more energy than us. I mean, it was obvious. They had a week or two off and we just went seven games. We can't use it as an excuse, but they hit us first and they were the more energized team tonight. There was a reason for that.

Q. Jae, when LeBron is out there, how do you balance deciding whether to double-team and knowing there's so many shooters around him? And do you think kind of he feasts on single coverage if he sees it sometimes?
JAE CROWDER: Yeah, I think he does a great job of surveying the defense, being a point guard and getting what he wants. But we have to do a better job of showing our help defense early instead of late and being in scramble mode. We've got to be early in our spots and then get out to the shooters, and not be playing from behind. It was just all about some little tweaks and minor things that we've got to get better at on the defensive end to make it tougher on him.

I think we'll do a better job Game 2. But he's a tough scorer when he sees things in single coverage, obviously, and I think he's just got to see help defense. From there, we'll be fine.

Q. Brad was just saying how Jaylen's athleticism could play a big impact for you guys in this series. What did you think of impact tonight and what are your expectations of him moving forward?
JAE CROWDER: He played well tonight. I think we went small, and he was a key factor in being able to switch and play against everybody on their team on the perimeter. I feel like he will be key moving forward in Game 2. I think he brings a lot of athleticism to our team, and we're going to use it against these guys.

Q. Isaiah, how would you assess what the Cavs did, how they guarded you tonight? Did they do anything that surprised you, or were you just out of rhythm in the first half?
ISAIAH THOMAS: No, they didn't do anything. They played how they played throughout the season. I just missed shots, didn't get a rhythm. But next game I'll definitely be more aggressive to make plays, get in the paint and make stuff happen. But they didn't do anything like the Wizards were doing or what the Bulls were doing. They kind of played how they normally play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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