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May 15, 2018

Brad Stevens

Boston, Massachusetts: Game Two

Q. Can you just talk about -- you have a much younger team than the Cleveland Cavaliers. Can you talk about the advantages and disadvantages of being so much younger than them?
BRAD STEVENS: You know, obviously I think all experiences add up and can really be used to people's benefit. These guys have done a ton for a long time on a huge stage, obviously led by LeBron, but they've got other guys that have played and been here, done that, and so obviously that's a really big part of their team. You know, just because we've had less experiences, we really don't dwell on them. We do have some guys that have been through these young playoff series, albeit a lot less of them, but we do feel like even in the last month, we've been through a lot of different challenges. For a guy like Jayson Tatum, all those challenges are new, but they're fresh in his mind, and at the end of the day, when you're a basketball player, you step out there between the lines, you've got a job to do, you've prepared well to do that, and you just go play. You don't worry about those things that you can't control.

Q. Will you keep an eye on the [NBA Draft] Lottery tonight, and do you ever step back and think how fortunate you guys have been with this run to help put together this roster?
BRAD STEVENS: I mean, it's amazing. I've told this story before, Doc [Rivers] left on a Tuesday and Danny [Ainge] and I started talking about coming here, and he goes, let's talk on Friday. I'm going to be pretty busy tomorrow, and then all I see across the screen, the trade for [Kevin] Garnett, [Paul] Pierce and [Jason] Terry to the Nets, and then four days later, I'm kind of looking at it like, I'm not sure that I wanted to do this, and he was great then, and all that was kind of his vision and our ownership's vision, just kind of came to fruition. I think we all realize there was a great deal of luck in it, but I also know that he has been incredibly measured every step of the way.

You know, it's been unbelievable to be in the room and watch.

Q. With Marcus Smart, do you talk to him much about shot selection, where to look for opportunities?
BRAD STEVENS: We talk to everybody as a team about what kind of shots we're trying to get generated by a paint threat usually, and then we'll break down in individual film sessions with them, usually with their assistant coaches, and then occasionally I will talk to any of our guys about don't ignore these opportunities when they're there, when they present themselves. But if the question is have I ever thought twice about Marcus Smart shooting it, no, let it fly, and I believe wholeheartedly on these stages and in these moments he makes big ones.

Q. On the drives into the paint he takes sometimes, do you talk to him about that, whether it's time in the shot clock or where to look for those opportunities?
BRAD STEVENS: I mean, he's a good basketball player and he's a smart basketball player. When I was playing, I was pretty weak mentally, and I think that one of the reasons why I'm hesitant to really talk shot selection is because it would really affect me in obviously a way lower level. But I think that I want guys playing free. I want them excited to make a mistake and learn from it and move on. You know, Marcus Smart makes a ton of winning plays, and because of that, he deserves to take those opportunities because we all believe he's going to make them.

Q. I know you've repeated this for the last six months for [Gordon] Hayward, but is there any opportunity for him, [Kyrie] Irving or [Daniel] Theis to even return later in this series or even if there's a potential next series, or is that out of the question?

Q. The other night when you were explaining why you didn't take Marcus Morris out of the game with two fouls, you said as a player it would break your rhythm, and if he fouled out, so be it. Is there any other factors that led to that decision besides breaking a player's rhythm, and throughout your coaching history, what led you to that philosophy?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I think it's something that just kind of evolves over time. I mean, I watched one of our best players at Butler, found himself in foul trouble quite often early in my tenure there, and we just kind of -- we started to think more about it, talk more about it, decide if this is just something that you do because you're supposed to do or it's something that is kind of a given in coaching rather than just play him until they foul out and let them play with a great rhythm.

The other day, it was just so early. Like if you take him out at the nine-minute mark, I just feel like it not only hurts him but it hurts all of us. Again, we've got guys on the bench that are itching to play, and if somebody fouls out, they foul out.

Q. If you go back to that conversation you had with Danny five years ago for a moment, how much did he have to sell you on the value of those picks?
BRAD STEVENS: I don't think anybody really knew what the value of those picks were going to be. Nobody could have guessed that at that time. Certainly would have never guessed that they were what they were, you know, because -- when that trade was made, for every reason, Brooklyn was stacked, and it looked like they were going to go on a run that year but multiyear. Again, we've talked about the fortune that we've been able to live because of that, but my decision was totally based on the tradition and history combined with the ownership and front office, leadership and commitment to kind of just the process of growth that we want to bring every day.

Q. Are you making any changes to the starting lineup, and if so, are you willing to share?
BRAD STEVENS: I don't know, and no. That was a good way of phrasing it because I was trying to figure out if I was --

Q. It seems like your speed and athleticism has kind of given guys a number of advantages throughout the playoff run. What are the keys for you guys to trying to harness that and use that to the best of your abilities?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I mean, I think it's hard in the Playoffs because every team you're playing is really good. They're deep. You know, the Cavs can go any number of which ways with who they play, the lineups they put on the floor. They've got a ton of guys to go to, both with experience and younger, as well. You know, you look out there and you try to figure out what might look good for you, but at the end of the day, it's just the fact that everybody has got good players on the court right now at this level. You know, if you can get a good -- a step as a really good player, you usually can make a play, and these guys are -- we've got really good players, they've got really good players. Kind of what it is now.

Q. Since Kyrie went out, have you noticed him working with, talking to Terry [Rozier], Marcus, the other point guards over the last month plus?
BRAD STEVENS: You know, I've heard that he's done that. I see everybody interacting. He's in there every morning with all of our other guys going through his lifts and his table times, and then he'll go out on the court and just kind of spot shoot around. But I think he's obviously still very much communicating with everybody in the locker room.

Q. Without getting too deep, obviously you said you don't want to share your thoughts on the starting lineup, but your general philosophy, what is it in regard to adjusting to what other teams are doing versus making them adjust to you when it comes to who you will put on the court for the starting five?
BRAD STEVENS: I think it's all about trying to figure out if you can be successful offensively and defensively, and sometimes you feel like you can be a little bit more successful on one end than the other, but both ends have to be taken into account.

Q. Is your lineup decision pending whether or not Ty [Tyronn Lue] goes with Tristan [Thompson] or --

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