September 15, 2020
Game 1: Pregame
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Coach Stevens.
Q. Everybody obviously talks about Marcus' defense. Great play at the end of Game 7. Over the course of your time with him, how much has his offense improved and how much has that impacted the way you were able to play with him out on the court?
BRAD STEVENS: He's always had a great feel for the game as far as passing the ball, knowing when to make the extra pass. He's improved off pick-and-roll quite a bit over the last six years. He's improved in his shooting obviously.
We thought he was going to take a huge jump three years ago, then he had a couple of hand issues during the year. But you could see it was coming. Then the last two years he shot it really well.
Q. As far as Gordon goes, you said you're not sure when he's going to come back other than at some points during the series. Is he able to practice with you guys at all? What is his level of involvement at this point physically?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I said just yesterday he went pretty hard after practice in groups that go hard. But nothing live yesterday.
Q. Forgive me if this sounds silly, but you have really an unselfish group. Is this something you have to talk about or work on or was it just there from the outset with this group?
BRAD STEVENS: No, I think you're always focused on it. But it's incumbent on everybody to give a little, to recognize the strengths of those around them, bring that out in their teammates.
I think both of these teams that are left in the East really, really play well together. I think they do an amazing job of it. We've emphasized 'make the right play' over and over from day one in practice. It's really been embraced.
I thought the best that we were playing was after Miami beat us pretty good in the seeding game where it was kind of a 'we better get our act together' moment. From that point on we played much better together on both ends of the court.
That said, that's certainly something you got to continue to do.
Q. When you look at Jayson Tatum's trajectory, was there any turning point in your mind when you knew he would be a pretty special player?
BRAD STEVENS: First time I saw him play a college game. I'd say that was the turning point in my mind because I had never seen him before. Then it was pretty obvious the dude's pretty good. He's obviously just gotten better and better every single day.
Q. Some of the players said yesterday they do have family coming into the bubble. Have you seen a little more bounce in their step? What can that do for guys going into this series?
BRAD STEVENS: Well, to be honest, who cares what impact it has on the series? I think ultimately it's just nice for them to see their families. I walked down the hallway with [Jayson Tatumís son] Deuce today, which was the highlight of my 70 days here. I think that's just really cool.
So I think obviously guys are excited to see their loved ones. There aren't very many that made the trip. It's hard to make it. The timeline made it difficult I think. Then obviously the long quarantines that everybody has to do. But there were a few that made it.
I mean, it's really nice to see those people. I can't imagine how much of a smile that brought to Jayson's face.
Q. How have you seen Kelly Olynyk's game evolve since his Boston days?
BRAD STEVENS: Yeah, I'd say confidence-wise he's just playing so confidently. He's always been able to shoot it. He's always been almost able to catch it like a guard and shoot, run off screens, slip to catch it on the move and shoot. He's always had all the tricks with the shot fakes and the long steps. He's creative with how he can maximize his strides and his steps in getting a guy off balance and finishing around him. He's always been a very solid positional defender.
I just think with great experience and his work ethic, a great situation that he's in that takes advantage of his skill set. You always thought Kelly was going to be a long-time, really good NBA player.
We saw that on several occasions in Boston. Certainly his last year we don't win the Washington series probably without that performance in Game 7. I'm really happy for him and Jae [Crowder]. I think they're both great competitors, great people. They impact winning. It's not a surprise they're doing it again.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, coach.
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