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May 19, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 2: Pregame

Q. When you look at Max Strus, what stands out about him as a player and his journey? You've talked about your own career as a role player and how you want to relate to those guys on your own team and build them up and things like that. Do you see things that he and the Heat have been done building up those kind of guys as a model for what you want to do in Boston?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, he's obviously carved a niche pretty quickly. His strength is shooting but not just that, he's a solid defender, especially for a quote, unquote, shooter, and he's, you know, taken this opportunity and taken some time from some guys who are really good players that they were relying on, so shows their confidence in him.

But you know, always rooting for guys like that that come work their way up the hard way and the impact he's having on their team is really evident. So happy for him, I know he was in Boston at some point in time a while ago. Might have missed out on that one.

Q. Now that Al is back, can you explain what happened? Was it a false positive? Can you explain how that situation unfolded?

IME UDOKA: He passed all the protocols, passed all the tests, and you know, I'm not a doctor, but he had to pass a certain amount of tests and you know, league protocols, and so he did and he was feeling fine from the get-go. Happy to have him back.

Q. You said he was asymptomatic at the time of his test. What led him to get the test in the first place?

IME UDOKA: I said he was feeling fine. He was always feeling fine. Meaning he didn't have symptoms. But felt good the whole process and we are just following the league protocols, and you know, we don't get into specifics with our guys as always but he passed the amount of tests he needed to and always was feeling fine.

Q. What were the emotions like? Obviously on Tuesday, you said it was just hours before that was something you guys had to deal with as a team. What were the emotions like getting Al back tonight for Game 2 as well as Marcus?

IME UDOKA: Obviously a benefit for us.

To get hit with that late news, you know, we tried to move on as quickly as we can and adjust rotation-wise and players stepping up. But happy to have him back, Marcus as well, and unfortunately Derrick is out tonight, so we are still not full.

But happy to two of our starting five back. And so for us, you know, we try to move on quickly and we did well enough at times. I talk about the poor third quarter, but we did build a 13-point lead and had a good first half.

So some of the veteran calm that he brings, those two brings, could have been needed in that third quarter, so looking forward to having that back.

Q. In Game 1 you played more drop coverage than you have in a while, and there wasn't pressure from the big dropping back once they actually attacked. When you get Horford back, an experienced defender, after going through the film, what things are you looking for, the little pieces, attention to detail to help when you're dropping?

IME UDOKA: It was across the board, I think we were too low with our bigs being that far back. We didn't want them that far back. So an adjustment we want to make is being up especially with Herro and some of those guys looking to come off and shoot.

We can obviously switch certain matchups. We want to keep guys off balance but our pickup point from the bigs was too low in general. Nothing that was intentional for us to be that low, and you know, we worked on that, cleaned it up and we'll be ready to go tonight.

Q. Do you anticipate him being limited in any way in terms of minutes or even having been -- I'm assuming he's been quarantined the past couple days, that type of thing, or is it just full-go?

IME UDOKA: Full-go.

Q. Same with Marcus?

IME UDOKA: (Nodding.)

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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