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June 8, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 3: Pregame

Q. Injury-wise, Rob, everything is as normal?

IME UDOKA: Everything is normal.

Q. Are you going with the same starting lineup?


Q. When you're considering a lineup shakeup, how much do you sort of have to guard against doing something too quickly?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, it's something we look at in depth and more so than that, it could be a few other things we look at before changing the lineup, switching coverages, switching matchups and things, our substitution patterns and what lineups are working well together. There is a big-picture approach, as well, a core group that we want to build with going forward and understanding how to guard every situation. And so for us to put Rob or any others in their best situation is beneficial, as well.

And so dealt with this in years past in the Finals or in the playoffs in general, and kind of finding that balance of when to stick with it if something is not working but also look at the big picture and how well we've done throughout the season, adapting to different teams, different schemes, and we'll go from there.

Q. I know this might be a question more for your guys because they haven't been to a Finals before, but this is your first as a head coach, and now that you're seeing how difficult this can be, does it give you like an appreciation for the Warriors having done this six times in eight years?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I think anytime you have that sustained success, it's impressive. Leagues come and go, teams come and go. It fluctuates throughout the seasons and to stay injury-free and have that longevity, I think it's six out of eight years for them, is impressive, especially with some of the injuries they've been through.

As teams, like I said, kind of fluctuate back and forth, they've stayed consistent. It's a model for what we want to do here and build and grow into that, and so very impressive what Kerr has done there, what their team has done in implementing new guys little by little by continuing to have the same success with the core group. It is impressive. We've seen teams do it over the years, and that's our goal, as well.

Q. How do you get your guys to toe the lie when it comes to being aggressive, still playing drive-and-kick ball but limiting those turnovers?

IME UDOKA: Understanding where your outlets are at, guys getting into spacing quicker. A lot of times we're cutting or slashing or getting flares and kind of clogging the lane. We want to get spaced out well, but guys got to be decisive. Our scorers are scorers. They've improved as play makers. Whether you go into the basket to score or make a pass, you have to kind of read the room, read what they're doing a little bit differently than other teams which is not rim protecting as much with Adebayo or Lopez or Giannis and some of those guys. It's more as a rotation as a team.

From there just read it but be aggressive, be decisive and trust what you've done all year.

Q. Athletes love routine, but here practice is not at the facility, it's over here, media like crazy. How disruptive is just the whole pomp and circumstance of the Finals?

IME UDOKA: For me it's nothing. I don't think it affects the guys much at all. We do stuff at the practice facility still. But guys know what it is, big stage, and that's probably one of the things lower on the totem pole. Guys haven't said one thing about it.

Q. Ime, in '14 in San Antonio you guys switched things up a little bit, you started playing Boris [Diaw] a little bit more. I just wonder what that's like in the Finals when you say, we have to make this change, we have to do this for our team to win. Even though it's one team and you're game-planning against one team, how difficult is it to pull the trigger as a group to say, yes, we're going to do that?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, it's something you weigh heavily for a lot of the reasons I mentioned. Like I said, we've had success with this unit. We've obviously been the best defensive team and had success against a myriad of different teams and lineups. So it's worked well for us. Part of it is that he's not 100 percent, so that plays into it, as well, and from there, like I said, big-picture approach going forward in the future. This is a core group, and we need to be able to make adjustments and play against any type of team. But you're here in the Finals and you have to do what you have to do to win it.

Understanding that, and our team is selfless, they understand that part of it, and whatever we decide to do, if we do something different, the one thing is not panic, it's 1-1 right now. We didn't play a great second half and guard better, play better offensively and be in a better position.

Q. Is there anything you as a coach plan to do differently to try to prevent the third quarters from happening again in Game 3?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, a big piece has been a common theme which is turnovers. We've had quite a few. When we've had struggled in the first half, we've come out and added to that in the third quarter. Offensively been a little stagnant, as well. Just a little bit more off-ball movement, but in general have to guard better and do everything. It's not just one thing to pinpoint.

I think some of the turnovers and poor shots have helped them out getting to transition, but for us we've had good starts to games, so we've got to carry that over to the third quarter, same lineup, same matchups. And if it is something, as we did in Miami, with Rob needing a little bit more time to get loose and get warmed up, it's something we may look at.

Q. You guys have yet to lose consecutive games during this postseason run. What is it about the makeup of the team that has prevented that from happening so far?

IME UDOKA: I think we put it behind us pretty quickly and kind of attacked the areas that we did poorly and tried to improve on those. We've had some success on the road, and we have to bring that here into this building tonight obviously, but for us it's just a resilient group that kind of doesn't care about the last game, put it behind us and move on to the next.

I'm looking for more of that tonight. We looked at the areas where we could have done much better obviously in the game, but to your guys' point, the third quarter got away from us and have to have great starts like we have, have solid starts and then carry that over into second half. More or less it's a not-care attitude that we just move on to the next game pretty quickly.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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