September 21, 2020
Q. Having today off, is it a blessing or a curse in terms of always wanting to have that desire to get back out on the court versus actually having some time to get bodies right, maybe recalibrate some things?
MARCUS SMART: Just really depends on how you look at it. I mean, for us it's a blessing right now. We've got Gordon Hayward back who was dealing with injury. Got a lot of guys banged up. So, it just really gives us an opportunity for our bodies to just reheal and rejuvenate and get ready for a grinding Game 4 and try to ease into the series.
Q. Marcus, we haven't spoken to you since after Game 3; how would you describe what happened in the locker room and the couple days following?
MARCUS SMART: Electrifying, what happened in the locker room. We're a family. Family fights all the time. I fight with my brothers all the time. But at the end of the day, we can fight with each other, nobody else can. You know, it happens between families, especially a family like ours who's been together for so long. It's going to happen.
We've got a lot of guys who we've played with their feelings on their sleeves, play with their heart on their sleeves, play with their heart night in, night out, and we weren't supposed to be happy down 2-0, especially those two games that we gave up. We're playing a great Miami team and we can't have lapses like that.
Of course emotions are going to fly, but like I said, we're a family and that happens.
Q. Talk about when you were able to apply those emotions to the court; when you have this lapse of time, is it harder to continue that? How do you channel that in order to keep it going when you guys are trying to even a series and now you have three, four days?
MARCUS SMART: For us, we're a team that's down 2-1. That's something that we have to live for. So that's something that's eating at us for the next couple days until we play Wednesday. For us, that's just more motivation and fuel for us to get ready for Game 4 and to really keep that momentum alive.
We've seen it before with us, the Toronto series. We go up 2-1, instead of closing out Game 3, they hit a shot to win the game and to send the series 2-1, and the next game we come out and we blew them out.
Not saying this is going to happen, but it definitely gave us that extra fuel that we had to sit with, and the longer we have to sit here knowing that we're down 2-1 it's just more fuel to the fire that we know we've got to come out and win Game 4.
Q. What did you learn between Game 2 and Game 3 about yourself, the guys, the whole culture? What did you take from that?
MARCUS SMART: Well, things I already knew. I knew what type of guys we were. I knew what type of team we had. I knew we were emotional. I knew we were passionate, and I knew we all loved each other. But I also learned a lot of -- not just myself but a lot of my teammates, we also grew up even more through that adversity.
I've always been saying that before you see the rainbow it has to storm. For us that was a storm that we had to go through. We found our happy place. Like I said, families fight, but for us to be able to respond like we did and to be able to have that growth, it shows a lot.
Q. You've matured during this?
MARCUS SMART: Definitely, and just for the simple fact that not only being able to express myself, but also being able to listen to my teammates, listen to what they have to say, listen to what my coaching staff has to say, and just really taking it to heart and try to go out there and not let that affect me, how I play. In the past I would kind of let those kind of things get into my head and take myself out of the game.
But like I said, the way I responded and my teammates responded, it showed that we're as close as ever. Even though we go through adversity, we still are a family, and we're going to need to be able to have moments like that where we go through adversity. We say what we have to say. We all come together, we get our emotions out and we go take it out on the other team.
Q. Marcus, obviously you take a lot of pride in the defense, but Goran has been so effective throughout these Playoffs; you were able to minimize his impact in Game 3. It was a pretty solid adjustment there. Can you just talk to me about what goes into defending him? Just kind of take me inside that matchup with him and why you were so effective.
MARCUS SMART: Goran is a very aggressive player. He's been doing this a long time. He understands angles. He understands how to use his body to his advantage. He understands the rules very well. And when you've got a player like that, you have to match fire with fire. You can't let him be comfortable, and I think in Game 1 and Game 2 he was very comfortable.
Game 3 we decided to come out and try to make him as uncomfortable as possible. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. I think my teammates and my coaching staff were trusting me with that assignment. But definitely, against a player like that, you have to just continue to give him different looks and make him as uncomfortable as possible.
Q. Following up on the time off, you could also look at this as an advantage in the sense that we all saw what Hayward brought to the game. So he talked about how sore the ankle was, but the fact that he's got three days to get back to strength that much more, how much do you guys appreciate that there is that time?
MARCUS SMART: Definitely. It was huge for us to have these couple of days off. Like I said, we've got guys banged up, and Gordon is one of those guys. For us to do what we did, to handle Philly quickly to give him more time to rest, for him to come back in Game 3 and really contribute the way he did, we weren't expecting him to come out and be as aggressive as he was with that ankle, but the work that the strength and conditioning and the training staff has helped with Gordon get his confidence back up.
We're going to need Gordon. When he's out there we're at the best that we can be, so having these days off, definitely very, very important for us, for him and his standpoint of helping us get him back and get back on the floor against this team.
Q. You talked about kind of the emotions after Game 2. What was the point after those conversations were going and you guys were kind of making progress where you realized, all right, we're going to be good? What was it about those interactions and conversations with each other where you realized you guys are going to get right back on the right track?
MARCUS SMART: The fact that we were having those conversations. I would have been more worried if after that Game 2 loss everybody was calm, cool, and collected. That would have been a problem. I hate losing more than I love winning, and I think I play with a lot of guys who feel the same way.
So for us to be able to express that, to get it out and to build that type of energy for ourselves, because there aren't as many fans -- we have our families here, but for the most part they kind of just sit over there, cheer, and it's a different feel. You have to bring a different type of energy for yourself and your teammates.
For us to be able to find that fuel to get us back on the right track was something important. The fact that we were able to have those conversations in the locker room let me know personally that we were going to be all right and we were going to get back on the right track.
Q. Marcus, just two quick ones. One, the best five lineup where you guys play you and Jaylen -- you know the lineup. You guys played pretty well. What worked about that lineup? And also, Gordon had a quiet stats night but obviously he made a big difference. Can you just speak to what he brings even when he isn't necessarily putting up huge stats?
MARCUS SMART: To answer the first question with the five lineup with me, Gordon, Jayson, Jaylen, and Kemba, it's just different. We've got a lot of firepower in that group. We've got a lot of versatility. We've got a lot of length between me, Gordon, Jayson, and Jaylen where we can switch any ball screen with us and even sometimes with Kemba. Kemba doesn't get a lot of credit on this defense, but with his size the way he's able to hold his own is incredible, and not only that, on the defensive end, but on the offensive end our firepower is remarkable in the fact that you lock in on one or two guys, you've still got those other three guys, the guys that can hurt you.
And the way Gordon has came back after the injury, it just shows the type of team we have. Gordon is an All-Star, and his stats didn't pop up off the sheet, but he did everything he could in his power in the time that he was given on the court, in the situations that he was put in, that the defense gave him, to help this team win.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports