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May 15, 2018

Brad Stevens

Boston, Massachusetts: Game Two

Celtics - 107, Cavaliers - 94

Q. You guys had the 11-point lead, they were able to cut it down to six, you called that timeout and you seemed to go right to Al Horford inside. What was the message at the timeout?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, you're going to have ups and downs. I thought our guys did a really good job of weathering the initial storm. Obviously LeBron was incredible in the first half, and then they got some good actions with [Kevin] Love and [Kyle] Korver. Korver in the first and then Love with the Love-Korver little tandem screens they have going on on the left side of the floor that hurt us. We've got to improve on some of that stuff, but it's all about responding. They're going to make their runs. They're going to have their moments.

You know, the most encouraging thing to me was that we weathered that storm because it's easy to kind of fall apart there.

Q. You have a lot of options late in games. Tonight it was a heavy dose of [Marcus] Smart pick-and-roll in that fourth quarter. What did you like about that action specifically and him sort of running the offense late?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, he's a really good ball handler. He's a good play maker. He's a great passer. He's great at the running lob with Al [Horford]. They kept switching the matchup, but at one time they had Love on Smart, and just that's a unique coverage for a big. And then they put LeBron on him some, which they did last year in the Playoffs, and then they put Jeff Green, so there was some switchability there, but we tried to get out of screens quick and tried to find a seam to the rim, either on the drive or the lob.

Q. You mentioned the feasibility to maintain composure in the face of LeBron. How crucial was Jaylen Brown in that stretch to keep the aggressiveness going for you guys?
BRAD STEVENS: Jaylen was really aggressive tonight. Jaylen has had a great postseason, but I thought it was crucial. I thought in the first half, we may have gotten better shots than we did in the third quarter. We just made some in the third quarter. But I thought we were really playing well. But it was just like we were doing everything we could just to hang around.

We missed some open opportunities, and them going big impacted us. There's no question about that. We had to go big early in the third, and we'll look at all those things from this game and figure out what we do next.

Q. We've seen Marcus do things like this before, dive into crowds, get rebounds when you don't even see him coming. What does he give you guys in terms of an edge? I know this is a tough team, but his edge for you guys, how important is that?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I think he's as tough as they come, right; he's a true competitor. He matches his intensity with a physical toughness. We talked about it before the game. People talk about him all the time. Sometimes they focus on things that don't matter, and the other times they focus on that he impacts winning. We are really glad he's on our team.

Q. You said just a second ago it's real easy to fall apart in those situations. Why didn't your team do that? What goes into making sure that doesn't happen? What about this squad?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I mean, I think part of -- we've got four players back from last year, and we had a couple of games there here where it didn't go well for us early and we kind of let it steamroll on us, and then I just think that when you've got a team -- we've scored enough to kind of keep it at bay, but this team has been like that all year. You know, the one thing, even during our early winning streak this year, we were -- we weren't that good, but we were finding ways to win, and a lot of times we were coming back from down and everything else. Just got a tough, resilient group of guys, and we're going to have to be even tougher and more resilient as we head to Cleveland.

Q. Obviously Jaylen had the strong first, Terry [Rozier] with a big third, Al a big fourth. What does it do for you guys, not even one guy having a big night, but within the flow of a game different guys that can lift you up for long stretches like that?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I mean, it's great. In a lot of ways you feel comfortable going to every one of those guys with the game on the line, and then some. Obviously we've gone to [Jayson] Tatum, we've gone to Morris, we've gone to Smart. You feel good about all of those guys as guys that can make plays in big moments.

Q. You've talked in the past about Terry Rozier's competitiveness. What can you say about his fearlessness?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I think they go hand in hand. I mean, he's competitive but he's certainly not scared. But I think that comes from belief in yourself, from the work you put in, and we've talked about his work ethic is really good. We're going to need him and everybody else to continue to play great.

Q. LeBron got some drives early, but your players were able to limit that as the game went on. They were able to do that in Game 1, too. What are your guys doing to figure that out the way other players couldn't in previous series?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, I mean, he had 42 and 10, so I don't --

Q. And 21 in the first quarter and then 21 the rest of the game.
BRAD STEVENS: Tremendous, tremendous first quarter. I think the biggest thing is we're just trying to make it as hard as possible. And I think that we all have a good grasp on that that's not always going to work, so don't hang your head, go down and score. And then if you can make it as hard as possible for as long as possible, maybe you can get somewhere. So we've got a lot of different guys guarding him. Jaylen started the game on him, Morris is guarding him a ton. I thought Semi [Ojeleye] did a good job on the couple of possessions he guarded him, which is really hard to just come off the bench not in the flow of the game and put a body in front of him, but he's unbelievable.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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