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May 17, 2017

Brad Stevens

Boston, Massachusetts: Postgame

Cavaliers 117

Celtics 104

Q. Coach, just general thoughts on that first-quarter blitz that they put on. It seemed like from that point out you guys were just fighting an uphill battle.
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, and I thought you never want this to happen, but I felt like that zapped us on the other end a little bit. You know, we missed some makeable opportunities. They did a great job of attacking the paint, and it was clear that those guys had really emphasized that.

We need to do a better job on both ends of the court so that we don't dig ourselves that hole.

I was really encouraged by the last 18 minutes of the game and some of the things that we did, and I know that we have to play a lot better at the start. You can't dig yourself a hole like that against them.

Q. You started the game or the first half 2-for-16 from beyond the arc. Was that more of you guys just missing open shots or was that something they were doing defensively?
BRAD STEVENS: We'll go back and grade them all like we always do, but there are some that I can remember vividly that were just one of those things; you miss some shots.

But against these guys, you've got to be really good, and we can't settle for the tough ones because it seems like every time you settle for a tough shot or you're turning the ball over, they turn it into points on the other end. So we need to do a better job of making sure we're always taking the right ones. But part of the way that we're going to play our best is if we're spaced and the ball is moving, they converge, and we're going to have to kick it out and make some of those.

Q. Brad, something like six or seven of LeBron's first baskets were right at the rim --
BRAD STEVENS: He made it clear, it was very clear that he was trying to get to the rim on us no matter who was on him.

Q. Is that something you guys have to change in the way you cover that?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I think we'll have to adjust a little bit. Now, there are certain -- he's a pretty physical guy. He's got some physical advantages on people. But we need to do a better job in a lot of ways. I don't always think it's the guy that's guarding him necessarily. It's what guys are doing around him -- being active, being long, being deceptive in help, all those other things. This is easier said than done because those guys are all guarding shooters. So who do you help off of? Who do you come off of? Once we started helping and over-helping a little bit, Love goes nuts in the third quarter.

This is the predicament they put you in.

Q. Jaylen had another big night for you guys, especially on the boards. Just what did you think of his impact and just the poise that he's showing on this stage?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, there are a couple things about him. I thought he played well. But I think it also was very evident that athletically he's just a special athlete. He can do things that other guys can't do, whether it's offensive rebounding or getting to the basket or whatever the case may be. We need some of those things, so I would expect him to continue to play a large role for us in this series.

Q. Obviously you're going against the Cavaliers and LeBron, but the basketball purist in you, can you appreciate the fact that he seems to just make the right play every time? And what kind of advantage is it to have a guy that is basically like a coach on the floor?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I think it's a really good question. And I've always been so impressed with his mental understanding of the game and the way that he communicates and his insights and the way that he reads defense and offense and everything else. He's always picking the matchup that he wants.

I just said in the coaches' meeting right before we left: It's hard to believe, but he's better than when I got into the league. A lot better. Just as you get older, you gain more experiences, you see more things. Yeah, I didn't think he could get any better after that, but he is. He's a good player. Great player.

Q. During the first half you guys went double bigs on a couple of occasions and then during the second half it looks like you guys went a little bit smaller. What is it about the Cavs that makes it so difficult to figure out exactly what you guys want to do from a lineup perspective?
BRAD STEVENS: I think we've been double bigs a lot when we've played some of our best basketball this year, and then there have been moments where we weren't able to do it and we had to go small. But usually we have at least one, sometimes two bigs, when we are double bigs that can both shoot threes.

Today I felt like it was more advantageous to go small later. I don't know how much you can glean from that third and fourth quarter, but we'll look at all those options and try to figure out what our best avenue is.

Q. Coach, their defense against Isaiah, what were you seeing there?
BRAD STEVENS: It's what you saw on film coming in. You know you're going to get trapped. You know the blitz is going to come. I thought we were way better in the third and fourth quarter at playing with spacing around him and getting out of the play immediately, and then the ball started really spraying around.

The problem in the third quarter was we just didn't get any stops for six minutes. We had hit the three going into halftime, and so whatever momentum you can have when you're down 22, at least you feel like, OK, it's not -- now if you score early, maybe you can make it interesting, but we just didn't get any stops. But we were scoring.

So the spacing was better. The way we were playing together was better. I thought the attack was better. So we've got to get rid of the ball quickly and play versus the blitz after the ball is passed.

Q. Brad, how do you try to physically defend LeBron and Kevin Love? When they post-up, you guys seem to have no one physically that can withstand it. Marcus tried, Jae tried. How do you compensate for the fact that those two guys are both big and they're skilled in the post?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, obviously any time that you've got a matchup like that, your next choice is to double, right? Doubling is really scary against these guys, but it may be necessary. The reason it's scary is because Korver is not going to have the shooting night that he had tonight very often. They can put Channing Frye in the game, who is a knock-down shooter. They have Irving standing out there. You can just go down the list.

So that's an issue for everybody that plays against them. The conundrum is do you double and risk giving up those easy step-in threes and the rebounds? Or do you try to stay at home and do the best you can and make them make a tough shot? It's all easier said than done, but we've got to figure out our best avenue quickly.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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