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May 19, 2022

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics

Game 2: Postgame

Celtics 127, Heat 102

Q. Jayson, what did you like about your team tonight, the response that it had? Also the return of Marcus and Al and just kind of what you guys were able to accomplish tonight.

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I was proud of the way that we responded. Last game was tough. Just kind of how we lost. Myself included, how I played in that third quarter. So I was excited for how we were going to just bounce back and respond, regardless of if we won or lost, just how we played. We just played a lot better.

Yeah, obviously missing D White, congrats to him and his family, but when you have Smart and Al back, we're just that much more bigger and better defensively.

Obviously we miss those guys when they're not playing, but it was great to have them back today.

Q. Jayson, you mentioned having Marcus and Al back and how much bigger your defense is. You guys switched on 33 pick-and-rolls tonight and allowed only 15 points. Going into the game was the game plan to switch more often, and what is your assessment of the way you guys did defend on those switches tonight?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I think we made some adjustments and followed the game plan better today. Communicated a lot better. I think we just had a better presence about ourselves. They kicked our butt last night, and we just wanted to respond and play better on both ends of the floor, and I think we did that.

Q. When Marcus has the ball in his hands, especially in situations like the third quarter, just how much calmer do you guys play?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, obviously when Smart is out there, it's just another guy to handle the ball under pressure and get us organized and get us in position and where we need to be.

Q. When did you find out that Al was going to be able to go? Was it when he walked on the bus?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah. I've seen that Instagram post when he was flexing and they said he was available. I was excited.

Q. What is it like for you guys to not -- as his teammates going through that, not knowing if he's going to be around, waiting to hear about tests, and how do you prepare whether he's in or out?

JAYSON TATUM: It's tough. Obviously just dealing with COVID in general. First of all, you want to make sure that he's feeling all right health-wise. That's most important. Then obviously that's tough when he's not there or anybody because it's so unpredictable. It's kind of just unfortunate when somebody tests positive or something like that. But glad he's feeling all right. Glad he's back healthy. Obviously we needed him.

Q. In that third quarter in Game 1, they just got a lot -- they turned you guys over a ton. Tonight a lot of the times that they would pick you off, you either just held on to the ball and kept it and moved it or guys would dive to the floor. What was that little difference that allowed you to hold on to the ball and keep it moving?

JAYSON TATUM: Just being more aware. Had too many turnovers last game. I think just being aware of that coming into tonight, taking care of the ball a lot better.

Q. All that talk coming in about the zone from two years ago, and you guys just seemed so well prepared for it and you jumped all over it there. What was the preparation like for that zone and what allowed you guys to be so successful when they broke it out?

JAYSON TATUM: Just not be stagnant. I think the idea of zone can make you shoot a lot of jump shots and cause you to be stagnant. That's what zone wants you to do. Taking open shots but still finding ways to penetrate and make the right play and find the open man.

Q. I was just curious, when you picked up that second foul in the first quarter and you guys were down, just how big was J.B. in terms of his shot making and decision making during that time period? Then when you come back in, you guys have a double-digit lead.

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, those guys played great in that first quarter, especially the second half of that first quarter. That's just what we do. We pick up for one another, regardless if somebody is out or foul trouble. Everybody can make the right play. Obviously J.B. can do it all, so when he has the ball more often than not great things are going to happen. He was just real decisive, getting to his spots and just making the right play, obviously drawing a lot of attention out there. He did a great job making the right reads.

Q. In the third quarter Grant had a drive, he hit the deck pretty hard, but you came up to him and it seemed like you guys were laughing about something. What was that exchange like, and what have you seen from Grant in those moments?

JAYSON TATUM: What we said to each other, I've got to keep that between us. But obviously Grant is just -- he just came a long way from his first year, and in that situation I think we got a steal or something and they kicked it ahead to him. He's worked on his game, and he's developed into somebody that we believe and trust in to catch it at half court, he sees an opening, take it to the hole, make the right play. That's what he did.

Q. Early second quarter it looked like you kind of bumped knees; how are you there?

JAYSON TATUM: I'm fine. I'm good.

Q. You guys have always throughout the Playoffs responded from a loss with a win. That was kind of the way it was during the regular season. How much confidence do you have that Ime or you, the energy is going to be different after a loss, that it just seems like you guys are a different team when you guys are hit in the mouth like that?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I think that's the -- since I've been in the NBA, the difference between the years that we've been really good and not so good, just how you respond. You're not going to win every game you play. There are really good players and really talented teams in the NBA. But I think the sign of a good team is how you respond after losses, especially tough ones. It just kind of shows the character of the group. We've done a really good job most of the year responding after tough losses and situations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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