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May 13, 2018

Brad Stevens

Boston, Massachusetts: Game One

Celtics - 108, Cavaliers - 83

Q. 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?
BRAD STEVENS: 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.

Q. 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?
BRAD STEVENS: We always want to have paint threats 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.

Q. Just how much did Al pack into those 25 minutes tonight?
BRAD STEVENS: 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.

Q. 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?
BRAD STEVENS: 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 is going to be important the rest of the way. 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.

Q. 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?
BRAD STEVENS: 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 heavyweight punch on Tuesday night. It's another great challenge, another great opportunity to experience something for this team.

Q. Marcus Morris picked up those two early fouls in the game. You left him in and he wound up being effective throughout. How tough a decision was it for you in that moment to leave him in the game? Do you have a general philosophy when guys pick up early fouls of when to pull or not?
BRAD STEVENS: 99 percent of the time I lean on, error of the side of not taking them out. I remember as a player, which I wasn't very good, but the rhythm it breaks if you take a guy out in the first three minutes of a game. If he fouls out in the first quarter, then somebody else has to play. That's the way it goes.

Q. Brad, Tristan Thompson over the last few series, you guys have faced them has really hurt you guys on the glass. How much does Aron Baynes coming off the bench help that?
BRAD STEVENS: He hurt us on the glass tonight a little bit too. I think he got at least two tip-ins I can remember. One in transition, one off a roll. He's a tough player to guard. Especially with how much you're paying attention to all the shooters around and LeBron driving the ball. He's a great fit for that team. You just have to make it as hard as possible. Baynes has kind of been our anchor down there all year anyways, but I thought he did as good of a job as he can. But Tristan's hard to guard.

Q. You've mentioned a few things that you want to improve on for Game 2. How do you balance your message to the team of praising them for all the things that went really well today and everything they accomplished, while not trying to be overbearing while focusing on the small things?
BRAD STEVENS: Just go play-by-play. We did it right, we did it wrong. Keep it easy. It's black and white. You either did it right, you did your job well or you've got to be better. Whether you did your job well or didn't on that particular play has no bearing on Tuesday night. It's a whole new game. You've got to do it again.

Q. Just following up on the two things about Tristan Thompson. Did you expect to have him play the role he did, and also Rodney Hood, he gave them a lot.
BRAD STEVENS: I thought Tristan came off the bench in the Indiana series, and when they started him in Game 7 and kind of went back to their lineup that they had done so well with over the course of time, and then his play in the Toronto series was tremendous.

He's tough. He's a good player. I thought Rodney Hood was very good. He can come off those screens. Ty does a great job of running little wrinkles for him. They'll run a dribble hand off to his left-hand. Today there was a little flair screen when the ball was in the post and handed it back to Rodney for a shot, and he made tough shots. He's a good player.

You don't average 17 in this league without being a good player. He's a good player.

Q. You mentioned the lack of poise that your team showed last year when Cleveland was making those runs. I guess how much of an emphasis did you put in terms of making sure that your team had that poise this year, and what was the biggest difference?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, we had our moments where we really played well with poise. We were down 16 in the game we won at Cleveland. But the couple of games here didn't go our way, and I thought we just weren't able to make it more interesting.

So I think that being able to respond to the next run is really important. You know, the guys that are back, I think, echo in that all the way through. Now the challenge is even greater Tuesday night.

Q. How important were Al's contributions to that early run to setting the tone on both sides tonight?
BRAD STEVENS: Al's important to everything we do. Every minute of every day, whether it's the walk through before, the meeting before, yesterday's practice, yesterday's film session. Again, he's kind of our stabilizer and the guy that we all look to and we take great comfort that he's on our team. He's been great all year like that. Especially in the beginning of the game, I thought we all play well, but I thought Al was certainly very good.

Q. Going back to Marcus Morris, you seem to have a lot of confidence in him throughout the year. What brought that confidence on? He was new to this team. You knew something about him, but what has brought that confidence that you let him play with three fouls? You let him trash talk or say what he wants to say to us, what brings that on?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I think the biggest thing is that he's a -- he's been in the league a long time, and he's done a lot of good things. He's been a good player for a long time. He was very hard for us to play against in Detroit, and we had high expectations for him coming into the year. He certainly has met those and continues to play great.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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