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May 13, 2018

Al Horford

Marcus Morris

Boston, Massachusetts: Game One

Celtics - 108, Cavaliers - 83

Q. Marcus, LeBron can be intimidating. Why doesn't he intimidate you, and why did you look forward to guarding him?
MARCUS MORRIS: First of all, I want to say Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful mothers out there, including my own, Angel Morris. She's not here, but I just want to say happy Mother's Day to her.

It's a team effort, man. It's not just me. Everybody played their part in guarding him. He's obviously the best player in the game, and you need multiple guys and a team to guard him an entire game. I just think we did a great job of that.

Q. You said you did look forward to guarding him. Why is that?
MARCUS MORRIS: Because I'm a competitor. He's the best player, you know? I'm going to be able to tell my kids this one day. It's exciting, I love the challenge, but like I said, man, it's a team effort.

Q. Al, you guys have been a better offensive team in the playoffs than you were in the regular season. Is the ability to focus on a single matchup and sort of know where you're going to have advantages a part of that?
AL HORFORD: I think that through the regular season there was so much changes with our group, guys in and out of the lineup, different injuries, a lot of things like that. Once we've been able to settle down and kind of find what fits this group, I feel like that's what prompted us being better offensively.

But you've just got to give credit to Coach [Brad Stevens], because he ends up making adjustments and being able to key in in the playoffs, whichever the matchup is, and giving us those options to go out there and execute on offense.

Q. What sustained that 25-2 run in the first quarter?
AL HORFORD: I think it was our energy defensively. I felt like we really fed off a lot of our crowd, and then on offense, we were taking good shots. We were really moving the ball and really taking really good looks, that helped. We were knocking them down.

Q. Marcus, during the first couple rounds you had an up-and-down shooting stretch there. This was, I think, maybe your best showing of the postseason. What allowed you to get your rhythm out there tonight?
MARCUS MORRIS: Just playing in the flow of the game. Got a lot of open shots, a lot of easy shots. We just did a great job of moving the ball.

If you look down at the boxscores, we all shot the ball pretty well. We just did a good job of getting in transition, getting stops. Normally, once you get stops, the offense comes easier.

Q. With the way you guys were guarding LeBron, did you sense a change in him as the game went along? Just you're taking away him first in the passing lanes. Did he change?
MARCUS MORRIS: I can't really say. He tried to get everybody -- that's what he does every game, he tries to get everybody involved in the game. I didn't really see too much of a change.

Q. Al, what did it mean, do you think to the team, particularly the younger guys on the team, to have Marcus embrace the challenge of defending LeBron, even if he was going to have help, and even if he wasn't really that successful and it had turned out that way, just that somebody would meet that challenge?
AL HORFORD: Yeah, Marcus is one of our leaders, and he's been a presence since the first day he got here. So I think that taking on this challenge is something that we expect out of him. We have his back out there. Like he said, we're doing it as a unit. It's not all on him. But you do have to give him credit for his focus and his commitment for the team.

Q. Talking to you guys the last couple days and now seeing the performance that you put forth today, it just seemed like you guys had so much confidence coming into the series. How different did it feel as a team coming into this Game 1 as opposed to last year coming into Game 1 against that Cavs team that wound up going to The Finals?
AL HORFORD: I normally don't like comparing teams, but last year we came off of a grueling seven-game series against Washington, one day rest and we had to play Cleveland. Give them credit, they were the better team. This year we were able to close the series out with Philadelphia, have a couple days. I feel like the coaches came out with a great game plan for our group, and we just bought in and did what we were supposed to do.

Q. Jaylen [Brown] and Jayson [Tatum], we've been watching these guys all year. But can you speak to them at their young age being able to perform like this on this kind of stage?
MARCUS MORRIS: Our young guys are special, man. They've been showing it all year. Me, I know for sure that we don't expect anything less. I know you guys consider them as young players, which they are, but their mentality and the way they carry themselves is basically like veterans in this league.

Like I said, they've been doing it all year, so we're not really surprised at whatever they do.

Q. Brad mentioned the poise that you guys have shown so far, at least in this particular game as opposed to last year against the Cavaliers. That fourth quarter as it began, what is the message in the huddle and how did you guys show your poise in that first minute?
AL HORFORD: I think that the guys that started the fourth there were just great. They came out really focused on the defensive end. We got some stops. We turned the defense into offense. Just ran our offense well, and they really, I feel like, opened the game up at that point. They just kept attacking. Guys just kept playing the right way, and that's all it was. I mean, at times this year we've struggled early in the fourth with the leads and things like that. But I felt like the focus level was just really good, and guys were able to hold the lead.

Q. Before the game, game ops ran this cool video of all these talking heads nay saying the Celtics after this injury or that injury and got the crowd fired up. But amongst the locker room for you guys, outside doubt, has that been something that's fueled you?
MARCUS MORRIS: I would say it has. It gave other guys opportunity to step up. It's very unfortunate that we had those injuries, but no one is going to feel sorry for us at the end of the day, so we have to take our approach of next guy up. That's what we've been doing all season.

Our confidence level is very high. The younger guys to the older guys, we think we can compete and play with anybody. At the end of the day all the talking is done off the court. Once we step between them lines, we have to compete no matter who we have out there, and that's what we've been doing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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