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May 14, 2018

Brad Stevens

Boston, Massachusetts: Practice Day

BRAD STEVENS: Well, I said yesterday, he's [Aron Baynes] been a great leader. He's been an anchor defensively. Whenever we've needed him to step up offensively, he's done that. The threes he hit in the Philly series were huge because it spaced [Joel] Embiid. In our last regular season game, we didn't play a bunch of guys, and he had 28 points in 25 minutes. He's a really good player, and he's really tough and very team oriented.

Q. How much does it help that he's won a title, that he's been through this?
BRAD STEVENS: You'd have to ask him that question. That's a good question. But it is -- like sometimes because he was in Detroit last year, we don't always talk about it, the stop before the stop, but I was just talking to him about it on the court just now, about having played against LeBron in that Finals in '14. Any experience that those guys can bring for all of us has been beneficial.

Q. What did you see after watching the film?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I thought we were -- they missed some shots that they'll hit normally. We had a few rotations where we were a little bit indecisive, and we've got to clean those up. We've got to be more decisive. We've got to be better. And then offensively, we just can't have balls like we did in the third quarter. They make it tough. They're a good team. They're playing at a very elite level, so it's hard to play for 48 minutes.

Q. LeBron is such a thinker; after a game like this, what do you think he's thinking?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I mean, I think any time that you have a great player, they're going to watch it close and figure out what they can try to do better and everything else, and nobody has been better at making those adjustments over the course of time than him. He's tremendously talented, but as you said, tremendously bright as well. He'll be aggressive. That's part of it. That's the great challenge of having to play against a team like this and a player like him.

Q. You guys have so much versatility on this roster, seems like everybody can guard multiple positions. How much of that is a function of what Danny [Ainge] wants, and how much of it is you (indiscernible)?
BRAD STEVENS: I would say it's a collaboration of most everybody, but Danny is the one that chooses the players, and he's hit absolute home runs.

Q. Did everybody make it through last night pretty good?
BRAD STEVENS: Everybody was able to go through, so that was really encouraging, yeah. A couple guys didn't play as many minutes, and we're going to need all the energy we can get for tomorrow night.

Q. There's been some talk that they might be able to make an adjustment with the lineup. Do you go more for what has worked so far, or do you try to match that right off the bat?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I think any time you're playing Cleveland, first and foremost, it's about LeBron and then about the shooters and players around him. Whoever they put on the floor, we're going to have to help appropriately, depending on who's on the floor, and we're going to have to guard him as hard as we can, which is easier said than done. I'm guessing he'll be a part of that lineup, so that's -- our focus and emphases will remain the same.

Q. How much do you relish the challenge of -- everyone in the world knows he's going to come out wanting to play better?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, every great player is like that. We've got a number of guys that are excited to improve upon their performance, as well, and we all can get a little bit better on what we can control. We know that tomorrow, as I said yesterday, will be a heavyweight punch, and we've got to be locked in to play well on both ends of the court. If you don't enjoy the challenge, don't get up for the challenge, don't look forward to the challenge, then to me that's a big part of all this. That's the fun part of all this.

Q. Were you surprised how effectively you took LeBron out of the game yesterday?
BRAD STEVENS: I mean, he almost had a triple-double, so he was pretty darned good. He missed a few shots, but at the end of the day, he's an unbelievable player who can get others involved and get himself involved. He's special. Again, you're only going to be able to do so much against him. We try to do it with as many bodies as possible, and then we've got to guard the other guys. Like that's the thing, like [Kevin] Love and [Kyle] Korver and [JR] Smith, [Tristan] Thompson's rebounds and everything else. We've got to be much better at making sure we're there on all their catches.

Q. A lot of teams talk about you as if you're some sort of magician and whatnot. How do you handle that?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, it's silly. The praise is uncomfortable, and it's just something that these guys should be getting it all. We all have a role to play, and we all need to play that role as well as we can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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