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May 27, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 6: Pregame

Q. Update on Rob and Marcus, and just the mindset of you and the team coming into tonight.

IME UDOKA: Same as usual with those two. They'll get tested at the 90-minute mark, see how they feel. Did a little bit of shootaround today, but it's always a game-time decision. See if they continue to progress throughout the day.

Our mindset is to come out and be aggressive, like we did last game. We respond well to wins, not just when our back is against the wall.

We've been in this position before, Game 6 against Milwaukee. We understand Miami's mindset coming out. Have to match that intensity, sense of urgency and physicality they're going to bring.

Q. Derrick is really thriving in the short roll position. Says he didn't do a lot of that earlier in his career. What did you see that made you put him in that position?

IME UDOKA: Forward defender. Them wanting to stay on Jayson and Jaylen. That's an advantage for him in having two guys, Jayson and Jaylen, draw a lot of attention.

The others will be recipients of poor defenders. They do things to protect the other guys when we try to attack them with Jayson and Jaylen as a screener. So, we like to put him in that position and see how they are going to defend.

A lot of times, those guys slipping out. Marcus has been really good at it. Derrick has picked it up pretty quickly. A lot of times they're committing two to the ball. Just have to make the pocket pass and have the numbers behind it. He's really good at that.

Q. Grant said this morning he texted you at 4 a.m. after Game 5. Is that a common thing going on right now with the team, everyone kind of reaching out?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I mean, we're in communication all the time, obviously. I've done the same, too, whether it's Marcus, Rob, appreciate them playing through injury and soreness. Everybody's on the same page and understands the opportunity we have in front of us.

Obviously, like I said, we've talked about being the hunted -- the hunter, earlier in the series against Milwaukee. Now we're on the other side.

That's big for us to go out and try to finish it tonight. We did the same thing in Milwaukee, went to their place, brought it back for Game 7. We'd like to avoid that.

Q. Looking it up here, as late as January 16, this team was in 11th place. During the toughest parts earlier in the season, could you ever have imagined you'd be on the verge of a Finals?

IME UDOKA: We weren't even thinking that far down the road honestly. We were thinking about getting healthy, understanding the system we were trying to put in place.

We always had glimpses of success. We were just trying to be consistent for the most part, understanding that we were really good defensively all along. Offensively trying to get our guys on the same page, get them to understand what we needed from them. That was the goal at that point.

But we did see good things early on at times. Just up and down, inconsistent a little bit. But we were always optimistic if we got healthy and our defense would carry over, offensively we'd continue to improve.

The good signs were we played really good against the big teams. We had some poor losses against some of the lesser teams. For the most part we were competing against the best teams. That bodes well for the future.

I think we finally flipped the script, got healthy at the right time and here we are.

Q. Given that a few of the guys have had a tendency to try to do too much in this series, do you think there's a possibility they try to come out a little too hyped to try to close this out and maybe get out of what you're trying to do? How do you combat that?

IME UDOKA: Just take a look at what has kind of hampered us throughout the series. Miami is going to play the way they play. Take a look at last game, our first half with the 10 turnovers, giving up offensive rebounds and playing in the crowd.

It's pretty simple: if we do that, we struggle at times offensively. When we get it down to five turnovers in the second half, the ball is moving, it's night and day offensively. Guys understand that.

Still have to be strong with the ball, understand they got guys with great hands and they're not going to give up on plays. When Jayson and Jaylen do that, did that in the second half, it was night and day offensively.

I wouldn't say 'coming out too hyped'. Understand it's going to be a long game, continue to wear teams down like we did Game 4 with Brooklyn and Game 7 with Milwaukee.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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