May 17, 2022
Game 1: Postgame
Heat 118, Celtics 107
Q. The obvious question is what happened in the third quarter from your point of view?
IME UDOKA: Got out-physicaled, got out-toughed, out-physicaled. They looked like they came out in the second half and wanted to up their physicality and aggression on both ends, and they did that. I don't think we obviously responded well on either end of the floor. We had eight of our 16 turnovers in that quarter, played in the crowd on offense, got sped up. And then defensively, offensive rebounds, getting muscled around in the post. Some poor fouls got them to the free throw line.
So, flipped very quickly and just lost our composure. We won three quarters other than that, but obviously that one is going to stand out. We semi-bounced back in the fourth and started to play well again and matched their physicality, but 39-14 on 2-for-15 is tough to overcome.
Q. Do you come out of this encouraged at all that there's so much that went wrong there in the third quarter that you can clean up a lot of that stuff?
IME UDOKA: Yeah, of course. Like you mentioned, we won three quarters and won the transition battle, won the second-chance points battle, won the points in the paint and really had one poor quarter that hurt us, and it was strictly from a physicality standpoint. It wasn't anything different that they did. They just came out and imposed their will.
Like I said, at least we bounced back in the fourth and got it to a nine, eight-point game and started to play a little bit and matched their physicality, but disappointing that we came out as flat as we did and they increased physicality, strictly that, and made that much of a difference.
Q. Ime, how do you sum up what they did on Jayson in the third? Six turnovers, a lot more engaged or was he a little bit too careless?
IME UDOKA: A little bit of both, some were unforced. They did increase their physicality, but as simple as it sounds, you just can't play in the crowd, which we did, not doing in the first half, got off the ball.
Eight of our six from Jayson, a lot of them were just strictly playing the crowd, trying to draw a foul instead of just making the right play. We all got caught up in officiating a little bit in that quarter when they got physical, and instead of trying to make the right play, drive and kick, get to the basket, we were looking for fouls, and that led to some of those turnovers.
Q. How do you respond? Some of those plays they just took the ball out of your guys' hands. It was toughness, they wanted it more. How do you respond to that? Do you guys have to be tougher?
IME UDOKA: Of course. That was the message after the quick timeout to start the half. We talked about it at halftime. They're going to increase the physicality, and it was a little disappointing that we came out and got caught off guard as far as that.
But simple clean-ups. As far as what we've always preached is, don't play in the crowd, if you draw two or three, find your outlets, and we did that extremely well in the first half, finding guys for kickout threes and dump-offs at the basket. Kind of reverted back for one quarter, and it cost us.
Q. Just to follow that up, you had 17 first-half assists with the ball movement, only one in that third quarter. How much does that maybe steamroll just as you go on and how tough is it to watch and how tough is it to watch to try to get your guys to kind of fix and stop and take a breather and go? And with that said, how much do you think you missed Horford and Smart maybe in a place like that?
IME UDOKA: I wouldn't say it's anything tough to clean up because we got back to it in the fourth quarter. We did it for three quarters and obviously you make two baskets only, and you're going to get one assist in that quarter. It's just more so the things we didn't do, which were making the simple pass, not playing in the crowd and that led to those turnovers.
Nothing that we can't clean up. We've been doing it for the most part all season, especially the second half, and in the Playoffs, and it was no different from Milwaukee or Brooklyn or teams that load up on those guys. Just we got caught up in the physicality and tried to draw fouls instead of making the right read.
Obviously Al and Marcus, too, are veteran guys that calm us down at times. You might miss that some, but like I said, it was a little bit of everybody, it wasn't just young guys and Payton and those guys. It was Jayson and some of our veterans making the same mistakes, so no excuse there.
Q. Rob in the fourth quarter, it seemed like he may have hurt his knee again there. What happened with him there? And how much, if at all, in terms of third quarter when they upped their physicality, did you see some tired legs with the quick turnaround for you guys and also being underhanded as well?
IME UDOKA: I think Rob just got a cramp in his calf from what I heard, so nothing to do with his knee.
I don't want to use the excuse of tired legs because we played an extremely good first half in general, were energized and came out flat in the third quarter. Don't want to say it was anything to do with fatigue. They increased their physicality. We didn't handle it well.
Q. Jimmy Butler had a line that no one in NBA history has had since they started recording blocks and steals. With the 41 points and getting to the line as frequently as he did, what more can you guys do against him or why was he able to be so effective?
IME UDOKA: Some aggressive, overaggressive on defense. Got some favorable matchups that he drew some fouls on, as well, and then just even when our bigs were coming across reaching for no reason, we know he's a guy that wants to get to the free throw line, wants to pump fake and try to draw fouls, and did a poor job showing our hands and contesting there. Even Rob and Theis and some of those guys came over and swiped down and put him at the free throw line for no reason, so a lot of areas we can clean up easily.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports