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May 23, 2023

Joe Mazzulla

Boston Celtics

Game 4: Postgame

Boston Celtics 116, Miami Heat 99

Q. You guys talked a lot over the past couple days about getting reconnected, fighting back in moments. You guys were down nine late in the first, down nine early in the third and had the timeout, all moments where things could've gone a couple ways and you guys responded every time. What was the difference today and what did you see from your group in those moments where you were able to have big responses and turn this game around?

JOE MAZZULLA: Yeah, I think just that poise, the trust in each other, the connectivity I think just throughout a game regardless of how the game was going, that stuff never waned. Listen, when the stakes are really high and you're trying to achieve what we are trying to achieve, it's easy to lose those things because the guys are playing as hard as they can.

I just thought regardless of the result, the guys just stuck together.

Q. The loss in Game 3, how did that kind of test you guys to kind of re-find yourselves again and how did you re-find that trust over the last couple days?

JOE MAZZULLA: I think anytime you're in a do-or-die situation it forces you to build an awareness and perspective. It's always been there, and I think just the perspective of understanding just a week ago we had it, and so it's just fragile during these times. So, we just had to remind each other of that, and I thought the guys were pretty well connected.

Q. The fourth quarter hadn't been kind to Jayson coming into tonight, but obviously got going offensively. What was the difference for him in the fourth quarter?

JOE MAZZULLA: Our spacing was good. Our intentionality was good on what we were running and how we were attacking. He started getting to his spots and made the right play.

Q. After such a necessary victory for you guys, can you describe the state of the locker room now that this victory has come to refresh everything for you guys?

JOE MAZZULLA: The way it's been the majority of the season. So, I think that that's important. Then just having an understanding we can't relax. We have to keep the same level of intensity, the same mindset, same focus for the next game.

Q. The third quarter timeout where Jaylen was kind of stuck in the corner, what did you see on that play, and what was the key for Grant to be able to get back to being a 30-minute-per-game guy? You said for a lot of the year it's been a matchup issue that he hasn't been able to play as much.

JOE MAZZULLA: Just wanted to make sure we got a good shot on that, and I felt like the possessions before that didn't go well defensively. But we were still playing with a good sense of pace, but we obviously lost the advantage, and wanted to reset a little bit. We had lost a 50/50 ball to start the quarter that I think that we just had to nip that in the bud and took an opportunity to do that.

Grant just played solid. Made open shots, did a great job screening versus switch, and just executed the game plan defensively.

Q. They tried to hit you early, went up nine a couple of times. What prompted you guys to kind of keep responding? Game 3, you backed up a little bit, but you kept coming with force. What prompted that?

JOE MAZZULLA: I mean, I think just the situation to where we had to rely on each other. Just continue to stay the course.

Q. It wasn't Jimmy's most efficient night, specifically around the rim. What do you feel you guys did to throw that off?

JOE MAZZULLA: Listen, I just thought our pickup points, our ball pressure was pretty good. We've got to do a better job defending without fouling, staying down on fakes. But I thought just our ball pressure was a little bit better.

Q. Can it just boil down to as simple as a bunch of three-pointers from guys who just hadn't been hitting them? Al hit three, Derrick hit three, you got four from Grant. That's contribution from role players that you haven't been getting.

JOE MAZZULLA: I think that plays a part in it. I think at the same time, we didn't make shots. We had like an empty-possession stretch in both halves where we continued to defend at a high level.

So, I think it's a combination of defending at a high level regardless of if those go in, but obviously when they go in, they help. It makes things a little bit easier for us.

Q. That third quarter timeout you called when Jaylen got trapped, what did you say to them in that huddle? Because the execution was so on point right away from that moment.

JOE MAZZULLA: I just told them we can't start the quarter off not getting a 50/50 ball and just keep your poise and execution, and I thought the guys had a great awareness, too, intentionality to what we were running. Spacing was good, execution was good.

Q. Coach, Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter found his offense in a big way. What did you see in his approach in this game compared to what you've been seeing fourth-quarter execution throughout the entire series?

JOE MAZZULLA: Just patience. Patience. Executing the spacing, and then just making the right play.

Q. After Game 3, you said you thought the team lost some of its defensive identity. Do you feel like you got some of that back tonight, and what did you like about how you responded on that end?

JOE MAZZULLA: Yeah, in the sense of like, regardless if the ball goes in, you have to defend, so we didn't do that at times throughout the series, and I thought tonight we did that, which empty possession or not, we still guard at a high level. When we're at our best, that's what we do, and that's what we have to do.

Q. At shootaround this morning the guys seemed really kind of loose and really confident, especially what they're saying to us. What did you see leading up to this over these past 48 hours when it could have been easy to not be that way and pack it in a little more? What were you seeing from them during that time?

JOE MAZZULLA: Just the connection and togetherness and awareness and perspective, understanding the situation that we're in, and you don't really have a choice. It's do or die. Got to stick together.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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