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May 27, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 6: Postgame

Heat 111, Celtics 103

Q. What did you see them do down the stretch, kind of the reverse of what you guys did in Game 5, and what did you think of your team's performance down the stretch and how do you gear up and get ready for Game 7?

IME UDOKA: Two things: they attacked the basket, got to the free throw line. We had some poor fouls at timely possessions in the game, and they made timely threes, specifically late in the shot clock. We didn't contest or get out on shooters as well as we should have, and so throughout the game we had our chances.

We got off to a slow start. Butler was aggressive. We didn't match his intensity. But every time we got within striking distance, got it to tie game, two, three points, got some costly turnovers, that they go down on and score on. It felt like we were playing behind most of the time due to that.

Q. Just in the second half in general, in terms of getting Tatum going in that fourth quarter, what did you see there in terms of him struggling, and what can you do in Game 7 to make sure that doesn't happen, especially in the fourth quarter?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, them loading up on him, like always, and that was part of the deal, having some of the turnovers there was them double-teaming him. Either we got the passes out, got tipped, or they weren't crisp and didn't get to attack out of that.

Knowing they're going to go after him, load up on him like always, there's nothing new as far as that. Just our execution, whether he was the handler, screener, wasn't as crisp as it needed to be and we didn't get chance to attack the numbers behind it.

Q. With Jimmy, obviously he's a great player, hit a lot of tough shots. Is there anything you would have liked to see your guys do differently or is just a tip-your-hat-to-him performance?

IME UDOKA: Well, the threes, he's been off this series from three. He came out and hit 3-for-3 and goes 4-for-8 on the night. We adjusted from there and got better as the night went on, but his aggressiveness, getting to the free throw line, 11-for-11 usually indicates he's being aggressive and playing well.

And just matching his intensity from the start wasn't there. He put his head down, got to the basket, way too many easy shots or point-blank lay-ups and just poor defense on our part on him, when we had been really good in the past and understanding that he's going to come out and put it on his shoulders, and we didn't match it.

Q. To your point about the intensity at the start, you guys came out and were sloppy. I think had four or five turnovers in the first five minutes. How disappointed were you with the way you guys got off to that slow start?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, it's kind of indicative of how our nights have been in this series when we don't take care of the ball. A lot of careless ones, unforced, and that got us behind. Obviously dig ourselves out of a hole from the get-go, got it back to 29-22 but weren't playing our best at all. And throughout the game any time we got within striking range, it felt like head a poor decision, whether it was a turnover and they got out and scored. So kept it at five to seven point margin. So had chances and didn't take advantage of them.

Q. You talk about careless, unforced errors as a running theme throughout all of this, this was supposed to be the big opportunity to close this out at home. How come there are still unforced, careless turnovers to start the game?

IME UDOKA: Either too loose with it, them coming out physical and us being caught off guard, which we shouldn't be at this point, but understanding who they are, like I said, it's the same type of turnovers. Just getting poked away or playing in the crowd and us being surprised that they're going to reach, hold, grab and do what they do.

Got to be better as far as that and obviously like to get off to a better start. We got better as the game went after 11 or 12 in the first half, but at that point we were down 13 and had timely ones, costly ones late in the game.

Q. On the road really hadn't meant much to you guys in these Playoffs. You guys hadn't let one loss turn into a bigger thing throughout these Playoffs. How do you keep the guys focused on that and the quick bounce-back, knowing everything you want is still there?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, we won the close-out game, obviously, Game 7, and for us we've won two in Miami, so that's the positive of it. We know we can go there and win.

But just have to make it harder than it is, and at times it feels like we're doing that, not taking advantage of what's in front of us, and just overall sloppy basketball on both ends. So we can't have that on the road. We've done a good job getting off to better starts there, and just have to maintain that through our physicality.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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