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June 13, 2022

Ime Udoka

Boston Celtics

Game 5: Pregame

Q. You talked the other day about how maybe Jayson's hunting fouls too much. He only took five free throws, so he obviously wasn't successful at it. What does he have to do to get to the line more?

IME UDOKA: I'd say play more physical on his drives. This team is really loading up, clogging the paint at times. Whether he's going to the basket or making the right read, which is a kick-out, we're asking him to be decisive, aggressive and physical with it.

A lot of times he's getting kind of floating, going off one leg when he can plant and go off two, finish a little bit stronger.

I think that will draw some contact. When I mentioned hunting fouls, I'm thinking it's taking him off his shots a little bit. We're just telling him to be decisive. He's done it all year, seen every coverage. For the most part has kind of picked those apart. Want more of the same in the Finals obviously.

Q. Normal minutes for Robert?


Q. You guys have talked a bunch with the third quarter. Obviously it hasn't gone the way you want it to in the series. When you look back, what is the recurring theme that you see that causes you not to be to the level you want to be?

IME UDOKA: I think turnovers and a little poor offense really got them out and ignited their break a little bit. Within the series, that's been a sign if we're doing well or not. That's turnovers and a lot of times coming out of the third we've had some poor possessions offensively, which have led to that.

We've had good starts overall. Just have to translate that from the first quarter to the third.

Q. How important is it that Steph feels the defense? As elusive as he can be, how difficult is that sometimes?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I mean, that's what we pride ourselves on, being one of the toughest, physical, defensive-minded teams. At times we're allowing our guards to kind of dictate where they want to pick him up. Some of those things are creating some space and opportunity for him to get downhill with some of the picks that they're setting around half court. Have to be a little bit more deliberate about that, understand he can stretch the floor. We don't want to bring our bigs that far off where he has a ton of room to operate. But we do want to impact him, not just let him get a head of steam coming down.

We trust Marcus, Derrick and our guys to kind of do that. Everybody else to load up behind. He's obviously one of the best at it. With his range, ball-handling ability, play-making ability it puts you in certain predicaments that are tough for you.

Q. A thought on your eight postseason road wins. How much confidence does that give you coming into a game like tonight?

IME UDOKA: That's kind of who we've been. Second half of the season even, before the postseason started. Bounced back and kind of have a let-the-last-game-go mentality, move on to the next.

I think the tough road we've been through in the playoffs so far, the elimination games against Milwaukee, the Miami Game 7 at their place bodes well for us.

As I've said quite a bit, we put it behind us pretty quickly and move on. Understand the opportunities were lost, some of the things we could have done better. Our guys are resilient, have been through a tough road against some high-quality teams. That will work well for us tonight.

Q. Lineup-wise two bigs versus having one big on the floor. Is that a game-flow decision for you at this point or do you want to see a little bit of both of those groupings going up against the Warriors?

IME UDOKA: It's been both. It's been the flow of the game. I think Derrick was obviously playing extremely well, kind of took some of Grant's minutes with the smaller lineup. We like that. At the same time Rob has finished games with Al when they're both playing well.

I think we can match whatever Golden State does with our big and small lineups. It's more a flow of how guys are playing. They are trying to put some size on the floor when we have one big, bringing Looney back in some. We can counter that if we want to go bigger at that time.

A lot of it has to do who is playing well and what lineups and units are playing well together.

Q. How much of your team, your game prep, is dedicated to maybe finding that one big adjustment that you can throw at them versus just trying to perfect what you've been doing all along?

IME UDOKA: A little bit of both. I think we don't want to overreact to -- Curry is playing well obviously. But we feel we don't want to lose sight of the big picture. That has to do with our offense.

Like I said, we've played them evenly in wins and losses defensively. Offensively we've kind of had a big step back in our two losses as opposed to 120, 116 we had in the wins. Holding them to 107 or 100, around that area, if we're playing offense, I think we finished the last game off with a victory.

Not overreact to what we're doing with him, holding everybody else in check, but also tightening some things up offensively. Seeing the big picture for what it is, not just Curry getting loose.

At the same time, we do have things we can do to make him more uncomfortable without opening up everything else to Draymond and the shooters and the movers.

Q. You've been great in responding to a loss in these playoffs. Do you think it's more a mental thing or adjustment things?

IME UDOKA: It's both. I think our guys are resilient and tough and get pissed about certain losses, the way we're losing some games. We get a good focus coming back in.

At the same time we do zero in on a few things we could have done better in losses, tighten up in those areas. Our biggest thing has been the carryover after the wins. It's been good for us so far. Look for that happening tonight.

But we'd like to get a little more consistent after the wins, for sure.

Q. How much do you think this just comes down to, when you look at the ebb and flow of the series just, the final who has the best last 10 minutes of the series?

IME UDOKA: Seems to play out like that. The first halves have been pretty even so far. Their third quarters have been better and our fourths have been better overall, other than the last five minutes of the last fourth.

In general, I think offensively we don't want to understate how important that is for us in defending them. Did get stagnant last game. Took some threes that were contested, we could have drove those. Obviously, they hit some big shots.

Offensively taking care of the ball, that all plays into how well we can defend them in the halfcourt and limit their runs getting out.

At times it seems like that, but we got to be better in the third to kind of counter some of the third quarters they've been having and not have to play from behind as much.

Q. A lot has been talked about Jayson Tatum's shot selection over the last couple days. Are you comfortable with the looks he's getting?

IME UDOKA: Yeah, I think he's getting some solid ones. He's shooting okay from three. I think it's the finishes around the basket that he's kind of fallen off numbers-wise as far as that.

Getting there and making the right reads is the main thing. I've mentioned the two wins. He's picking the gym apart, has 13 and nine assists in those, five in the losses.

As aggressive as we want him to be, he knows what's going to be there waiting for him if he over-penetrates. Sometimes it's taking that one or two less dribbles, finding guys like he's done, keeping himself out of bad situations.

We do want him to get downhill and get aggressive and use his size. More so the strong finishes and less looking for fouls that have taken off some of his shots and equated to some of his misses.

Q. Last game Steve made a lineup change, took Looney out and moved him to the second unit. How did that impact what you do? Is it something you have to adjust to for Game 5?

IME UDOKA: Size-wise I think Looney has been obviously solid, hurt us on the glass some games. The counter to that is we can get our bigs out sooner, bring them back when he comes in. I think part of it was to have him out there when Rob or we go with one big.

I wouldn't say it was a huge impact in the first. Still evenly played for the most part. Us being up five or so most of the first, second, third. He hurt us late in the game. Obviously they went with him over Green. He had an impact on the game.

Not just him, Wiggins. Some of the guys, their offensive rebounding is a key for them. Looney is a big part of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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