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May 21, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 3: Postgame

Heat 109, Celtics 103

Q. I know it's not one guy in a game like this, but what leads to a night like this for Jayson and how do you try to shake him out of a funk when he gets into one this big?

IME UDOKA: Well, understanding how they're going to guard him. Just had a big game, Game 2, and all they talked about was upping their physicality, being embarrassed at home, and that's what we spoke about, not being caught off guard or complacent or content with getting a win at their place, and understanding how they're going to guard guys, be physical, and we didn't match that from the start. It looked like we were kind of wilting to their pressure and started complaining to the refs and took us out of the game from the start.

But disappointing to come out that flat in a Conference Final game.

Q. I know big thing for you is breaking the habits, whether it's the complaining, the turnovers, all the little things have crept back in here. I know it's not going to happen overnight and sometimes you fall back into those, but what's the key to shaking those on a night like this?

IME UDOKA: Having carryover from what's been successful for us throughout the Playoffs throughout the second half of the season. We saw it in the Milwaukee series at times, we saw it in Game 1 and Game 2, the difference between 10 turnovers in Game 2 and what that can get us to.

When you turn the ball over 24 times and gift them 33 points out of that, you dig yourself a hole. Credit, we fought back and got it to a one-point game and made some mistakes and more turnovers. But you dig yourself in that big of a hole due to playing in a crowd, we understand how they're going to guard us. They're doing it all series load up. Every team does that. Load up and penetrate and over-penetrate and get yourself in tough situations instead of relying on your teammates. That's the result sometimes.

Q. I'm sure everyone around said that the series might be over after the Game 2 and you were the more talented team, all that stuff. That's not what you told them. You told them this was going to be a difficult game. What happened between the message you gave them and what happened on the court? What didn't translate?

IME UDOKA: Hard to say because it wasn't just myself. It was the players speaking up, as well. They said it in the media. They got embarrassed at their place. They were going to come out and up their physicality, and it's no different than what they did in the third quarter of Game 1.

We didn't think that it was all of a sudden going to be an easy series and they were going to roll over. We bounced back from Game 1 to Game 2 and they were going to do the same that and we had to match that and came out flat for whatever reason. But it wasn't just myself, it was Marcus, Jayson, Jaylen and Al all speaking up at shootarounds and at the meetings saying be prepared, knowing they're going to come out with their best hit. For whatever reason, we didn't match that to start the game.

Q. In terms of the schematically, what didn't happen in terms of not the turnovers but other things, what didn't you do that you did in Game 2?

IME UDOKA: Guard them with some physicality or they increased theirs. We also talked about Adebayo struggling this series, he's going to come out extra aggressive. Put his head down, we didn't match it. We had been playing physical defense initially, and kind of limiting him obviously but other guys, as well, and for the most part felt like they were continually driving or we weren't get rebounds. So they outhustled to 50/50 balls. It was a concerted effort on their part to put their head down and try to be the more physical team tonight, and they were on offense.

Q. The third quarter in Game 1, the first 20 minutes tonight, what would you say is the biggest commonality between why those stretches keep happening?

IME UDOKA: Turnovers is one part of it, obviously. We had eight in that quarter, 10 at halftime. We said let's clean that up and we almost got our first half total in that quarter. And then defensively not matching their physicality on offense. When you turn it over, it's obviously tough to get some of those stops. When we defend well in the half court, instead of leaking out getting some easy baskets but also just their physicality went up.

Obviously they spoke about being embarrassed and they wanted to come out and prove something tonight, and they did.

Q. Follow-up on Marcus, what he went through, any comments on him after the game of how he's holding up?

IME UDOKA: No, I don't know anything yet. He obviously came back and played. Looked like he rolled an ankle and Jayson got a stinger but they both were able to continue and finish the game. I'm assuming they'll be okay.

Q. Lowry comes back, immediately is pushing in transition off of rebounds, and they just kind of kept running the entire night while you guys tried to keep up. What was it about the way that they were persistent with pressure and speed that affected you guys?

IME UDOKA: Well, I mean, that's what he does. We talked about that before that game. That's the impact he has on the game, but when you give them 24 turnovers it's obviously a lot easier to get out and run, and he's the head of the snake as far as that, pushing the pace and tempo.

But we made it too easy on them in that regard. Obviously getting stops or scoring the basketball, they can't get out and run to that extent, but scoring 33 points on our 24 turnovers is hard to overcome.

Q. You have Jaylen kind of routinely -- when you have these high-turnover games, routinely over-penetrating, you have Jayson that they're routinely jumping the passing lanes. Is there any thought of kind of intervening just with the play calling to try to get them the ball maybe on the catch rather than have them handle the ball?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, we've done both, used them as screeners and handlers. At times when they load up on them that much, we want to use them as decoys, and they've done a great job throughout the Playoffs and most of the second half of the year of understanding and getting guys open looks.

Disappointing at times when we over-penetrate when we don't have to. A simple pass, the team loads up, and we've seen it all Playoffs how others can be the recipient off of that. We took a step back as far as that, but at the same time we obviously use them as screeners a lot of times. Try to find them in the pocket, move them around a little bit differently. If they're still loading up on them, they have to obviously catch it, be tough with it in there, had quite a few turnovers on pocket passes, and then make the play from there.

Q. You guys have responded with a win after every loss in this postseason. Will you use that as some of your messaging going into Game 4?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I don't really talk about the bounce-back as far as that. It's just what we are trying to do, what we did the second half of the season, and even in this game tonight. You can look at some positives how, like I said, we got it back to a one-point game and then kind of shot ourselves in the foot, giving up a three-point and some late turnovers.

But it's two quarters that really stand out: 39-18 to start the game, 39-14 in Game 1, and you get yourself in that big of a hole and fight your way back it's always tough. We have bounced back well second half of the season, Playoffs, as well, so we know we have to do it again at home.

Q. Especially after a game like Bam Adebayo had tonight, I'm sure Rob would definitely have helped in that situation. Are you expecting to have him back for Game 4?

IME UDOKA: He's truly day-to-day, and we'll see how he responds to extra time off, but it's due to swelling and soreness, and it's likely to be like that the rest of the Playoffs. That's one thing, but we've won series and games without Rob. Adebayo kind of put his shoulder into whoever was guarding him, into their chest, so Rob can't save the day as far as that. Guys have to take ownership of that matchup and defend like we're capable of.

Q. You mentioned the message that you gave to the team and that teammates gave to the team. Do you have any concern when you look that there's a pattern of your team having a difficult time handling prosperity and coming back with the same edge after a really good game or a really good performance?

IME UDOKA: No, I wouldn't say it's -- we talked about not being content or complacent with where we're at and getting a win on the road, so I don't think it's as much that. It's more so a little unusual being caught off guard with physicality. It's not like they change much schematically. They just upped their pressure, upped their aggressiveness on both ends and we didn't match it.

I don't think it's due to our success or us getting a road win. We had success obviously in the Brooklyn series and in Milwaukee on the road and did well. So it's more so just matching that physicality because that's what they've done in two really -- two quarters that really stand out.

Q. Why did you start the game with Daniel, and then why did you go with Grant to start the third quarter?

IME UDOKA: Daniel, we talked about our size and keeping Al and the others in their role with the coverage that we want to employ to start the game, and that's keeping Daniel off ball more so and keeping him in Rob's role, allows Al to do what he does instead of flipping him and Grant.

We liked obviously the scoring aspect, and we obviously got off to a poor start, so we flipped that to start the third quarter and paired Daniel with Dedmon going forward in the second half. Didn't love the look at the start tonight, and we'll figure out what we're doing if Rob is not available.

Q. You talked all year about physicality being something you want this team to play with. Is it disappointing to you that as you go into the series knowing how physical Miami plays that you're not able to match that so far?

IME UDOKA: I mean, we have at times, and like I said, two quarters really stand out. Obviously we had a 25-point win, as well, so we were good in that regard the other night. Just that's a big part of who we are, and we've kind of fallen off as far as that in certain aspects in this series so far, and got to come back and match that. That can't be the reason we lose the series. That's obviously an identity we want to have on our side, and to come out and get bullied around a little bit is disappointing for sure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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