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September 14, 2020

Brad Stevens

Boston Celtics

Practice Day

Q. What's the way to best go at the way Miami goes about it in the sense of not having one guy that's going to be the leading edge offensively for them?

BRAD STEVENS: The best basketball teams right now are like that. There are so many different ways they can hurt you. Miami can beat you in isolation. They're one of the best cutting teams I've seen. Obviously great from behind the three-point line. Like you said, they've got a number of guys that can go for 25 or 30 in a given game. They’re super organized, so when they sense a weakness, they're going to pick on it.

They're really good. We just have to do the best we can at making it as difficult as possible. Easy for me to talk about, harder to execute.

Q. I didn't have the opportunity to ask Kemba this, but after those two big-minute games, how did his body respond and how did his knee respond? And have you had a conversation with Gordon Hayward about his plans when his son is born?

BRAD STEVENS: I'll keep all those conversations between me and Gordon just between us and let him answer those questions. Kemba's knee feels great. He'll be ready to go tomorrow.

Q. Going back to the Heat, Jimmy Butler I think is leading the Playoffs in free throw attempts per game. With the amount of three-point shooting they have around him, are you able to pick your poison against a team like this? What's the balance for you guys on that front?

BRAD STEVENS: You always want to do your best to take away layups, always do your best to contest threes as much as you can and always do your best to keep teams off the free throw line. Everybody knows that. It's just really hard to do.

I think that the most important thing we can do is play each possession as hard as we can and as solid as we can and make them earn everything. That's something that, again, is easier said than done. They're an excellent offense. I just can't tell you how exceptionally well-coached they are. Everybody knows that. I think that when you're diving in as an opposing coach, you really have great admiration for what they do on both ends, but certainly on that end with all the different guys and playing to the strengths of their guys. Everything they run has a purpose. Everything they run has a direct line to the strengths of their players. Just really, really good.

We'll do our best to keep guys off the foul line. They got fouled on a ton of jump shots in the last series. But it's easier said than done.

Q. Talking to your guys, they say that they're grateful for the way that the last series went in the sense that it kind of taught them how much focus they have to have on each and every play with the way that that series easily could have gone the other direction. How much does that experience help you as the stakes get even higher here?

BRAD STEVENS: I think that the one thing that we've had is we've had to battle the emotions of the playoff series. Game 3 was probably as heartbreaking a loss in a playoff series as you can have. I guess maybe [Toronto’s series against] Philly last year, Kawhi's shot bouncing around, maybe that beats it. But there's not much that beats it. To have to come back from that and kind of regroup and re-center, that's kind of where the positive comes in.

As far as when you're in the game and playing the game and playing against Miami, I think I'll go with Coach Belichick: History and experience don't mean a whole lot; it's how you play that night. But yeah, we've been through a range of emotions, for sure.

Q. People have remarked about the evolution of Jayson Tatum’s game since we saw him back in March. What most strikes you about the player he is now compared to the player he was before the hiatus, and what is it about him at 22 that impresses you most?

BRAD STEVENS: There aren't very many guys at 22 and 23 who have done what Jayson and Jaylen [Brown] have done, especially in meaningful moments in playoff games ever since they arrived here. So we're really lucky that those guys are here. They do have a ton of experience in this moment, more so than a lot of other guys that are a lot older that are really good.

Ultimately, I think from Jayson's perspective, where I've just seen him -- he's always gotten better. He's always worked hard to get better. He was really good to start with. But he can read every situation. He's seen all the different coverages. They've run-and-jumped him, they've blitzed him, they've switched him, they've been back on him. They've done everything against him. That's where great players are so special, because they just know what's coming. They can read what's coming. Curve balls don't throw them off, and they just still impact the game in a winning way. He's got that ability. He's a super quick learner. He can see something once and learn and attack it better the next time. He's just a special player in that regard.

Q. You addressed this a little bit, but what's your message to your defense in regard to accounting for the movement of Duncan Robinson and Tyler Herro without allowing that to break you down elsewhere?

BRAD STEVENS: Got to guard them as hard as you can. If you're late and the team gets flustered, they start scrambling, you give up layups. You can't give up layups, can't give up open threes, can't foul. Again, it's easier for us to sit here and talk about it than to actually do it. They're excellent cutters. They're physical cutters. You've got to get low. You've got to make it as tough as possible. And you've got to be willing to tip your hat and say, great shot, and move on on a couple of those plays. This is probably the closest team in the East that we've seen to the Warriors with regard to their cutting and shooting.

Q. Just an update on what Gordon was able to do today. Is there a possibility he'll play tomorrow, or is that just going to be playing it by ear?

BRAD STEVENS: I'm going to talk to our medical staff about any of that. He didn't go through our normal practice. He went through a hard pep workout, what we call our small group workouts after practice. He looked good when he was going through it, but there's a big difference between doing that and actually getting into a game. I don't know officially what that means as we move forward. But he's getting better.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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