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May 21, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 3: Pregame

Q. Just if you could update us on Rob Williams' status and how he feels.

IME UDOKA: Yeah, he had some soreness and swelling that cropped up. Got checked out this morning and it's going to get looked at again here in the next few minutes and we'll determine from there.

Q. With Kyle possibly playing, what does that do in terms of your defensive approach to this Miami team if he's on the floor, even if it is in a limited capacity?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, it's heightened awareness of a veteran point guard that does a lot of good things for the team. Immediately their pace increases and he kind of pushes the pace, ball up court, finding the guys. And obviously the three-point threat. A guy that we played against for years and know the veteran presence he brings to the team. Just another guy you have to be aware of as well as the other shooters that they have.

Q. Having a chance to be at home, where you guys suffered a couple of losses in the playoffs, what's the key to utilizing the crowd advantage against this Miami Heat team?

IME UDOKA: I'd say in general, our starts at times weren't the best in the Milwaukee series, even Brooklyn to some extent early. To get the crowd into it, you want to have good starts. You know, carry over from last game and what we did for three quarters in Game 1 and bring our physicality. All of that plays into our crowd being into the game and us getting off to good starts.

So for us, I don't think we focus on home or road as much as some other teams maybe. We've been really good on the road at times, as you saw in the Milwaukee series. And so for us it's neither here nor there. But we do want to get off to good starts and get the crowd into it and put some pressure on the opponent always.

Q. If Rob is not available, is Grant the guy tonight?

IME UDOKA: Daniel Theis.

Q. What makes Daniel an ideal substitute for Rob in this particular matchup?

IME UDOKA: We like our size always and we've done that well this year. Kind of puts Grant back in his role, even though he's done both this year, as well. And matchup-wise and scheme and schematically, what we want to do and the way we want to start, Daniel benefits us, and we let Al kind of keep his role that he would with Rob.

Q. Feels like you and Marcus have similar leadership styles, telling it like it is, saying something when it needs to be said. Have you seen this team evolve in terms of being able to accept that kind of leadership and how they have responded to Marcus' in particular?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I think guys have been good from day one honestly. I've always said guys have been receptive to constructive criticism and they have the freedom to discuss, debate and talk back if they have something to say. So an open line of communication from all of us I think has been beneficial. Feelings don't get hurt.

We understand the big picture and the goal at hand. I think Marcus and Jaylen, Jayson as well as Al and guys that have been together for a while, can get on each other and respond in the proper way. And so Marcus is a guy that plays with his emotions on his sleeve. Says what comes to mind at times. I don't think guys are sensitive to the delivery. It's more so what's being said.

Q. To confirm with Rob, is this knee soreness and swelling related to the bone bruise or the surgery?

IME UDOKA: I'd say the bone bruise. Kind of brought it along in the Milwaukee series, obviously missing three games there.

But just in general, you know, he's seven weeks post-op right now and two weeks since the bone bruise happened and that kind of brought it back up. Obviously he had to miss some games due to that, and now with the every-other-day games, he's not getting the rest he initially got with those three-day breaks. So some natural soreness and swelling this soon after surgery would occur, but taking that hit didn't help it for sure.

Q. There's a chance Kyle could be back tonight. That kind of difference can he make if he's himself?

IME UDOKA: I already answered that one -- no, all good.

You know, he's a veteran leader that they brought in for a specific reason. He presents a lot for the team. Obviously the pace that he plays with is different from some of the other guys. More of a veteran presence leader than Vincent and some of those young guys. His shot-making ability, charge-taking ability, all of the craftiness that he brings that I've seen for years, obviously is beneficial for the team.

But they brought him in for a reason. He fits into what they do toughness-wise and leadership-wise. I'm sure he's a welcome addition for them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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