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May 25, 2023

Jayson Tatum

Boston Celtics

Game 5: Postgame

Boston Celtics 110, Miami Heat 97

Q. What stood out to you most about the performance tonight in terms of kind of the all-in intangibles of the game and what everybody up and down the roster was able to do that played?

JAYSON TATUM: Obviously I think it started in that first quarter. First playing with defense, Smart diving on the floor, getting out in transition, that was contagious. Smart played his ass off tonight. Everybody did. But D-White, Grant, Rob, Al. I think just how hard we played, how connected we were on the defensive end, sharing the ball, things like that.

Q. Jayson, you mentioned D-White. He was a huge part of the aggression, the speed you were playing defense with tonight. You guys have taken over the series ever since he started doing that last game. How crucial is D-White to being able to dig and recover and all the things you have to do to stay active against them?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, D-White, Second Team All Defense this year for a reason. He's a big part of our team, our identity, things we try and do on the defensive end. He's a very smart basketball player on both ends, and his awareness, his instincts, they showed tonight.

Q. You seemed to get really hot there early in the first quarter when that led to the technical, got pushed on the dunk there. What did you see from the response from you guys after that sequence?

JAYSON TATUM: I thought he grabbed me, but they didn't think so. I was upset, got a tech, whatever. But we responded. We just kept playing.

I think the crowd kind of fed off that a little bit, and we just kept making plays.

Q. Talking about the atmosphere over here and also imagining a possible Game 7 on Monday, was that the loudest one in this postseason, and how does it affect your performance, the performance of the team and also the opposite team?

JAYSON TATUM: I'm just glad we gave them something to cheer about today. We got the best fans in the league, and up until today, this series we haven't gave them much to cheer for at home, so I was glad that our performance matched the energy that they were giving us, and obviously they raise our level. They're a big part of what we do, especially at home. We feed off that a lot.

Q. It seems like this series is swinging on the other guys, the role players. Tonight, you got 10 three-pointers combined from Smart and Derrick White. What goes into those guys being able to get those shots, make those shots versus Miami getting those big nights from Caleb Martin and -- I know Gabe Vincent was out tonight but he's had big nights.

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, it's a long series, and you're going to need big games from different guys at different points of a series. That's why it's a team sport. You need everybody at some point to come up big, and Smart and D-White is the reason we won tonight. Those two guys, their ability to hit shots tonight, spread out the defense, and then making plays on the defensive end.

I think we fed off that, that energy tonight.

Q. Why do you think this team is so comfortable in chaos? Like it's a cliché to say when your back is against the wall you respond, but it seems like this team really gets compelled to do so when all hope seems to be gone.

JAYSON TATUM: That's a great question. I wish I didn't know the answer. For some odd reason, even last year, we always seemed to make it a little bit tougher on ourselves. But what I do know is that you can see the true character of a person, of a team when things aren't going well, and our ability to come together, figure things out when it's not necessarily looking good for us. It's unlike any team I've been on this year and last year, just the core group of guys being able to respond.

I think that's just a testament to our togetherness, obviously how bad we want it, and we've got a room full of determined, tough guys that push comes to shove, you look to the left and the right of you, believe that the guy next to you is going to do whatever it takes and go down fighting if it don't work out.

Q. What's happened to this team in the last 72 hours? Obviously, Game 3 was a low point. Everybody was down. But how did you flip the switch over the last -- team-wise, in the locker room with Joe? Why do you guys look like such a different team?

JAYSON TATUM: Yeah, I mean, Game 3, that was as low as you can be. The good part about being that low is you only can play better. It's only up from there.

I think part of it was just -- being down 3-0, you understand how that's never been done, all the talk about that. It kind of gave us a sense of just like, you know, everybody is counting us out. We're supposed to win. We're supposed to be done, and I think we started to play a little bit more free, relaxed.

Obviously, our defensive intensity, being connected on the defensive end, that showed these last two games, and then offensively I think guys are just relaxed and really just taking it one game at a time, knowing we have this uphill battle to overcome. But I really feel like guys have just taken a deep breath.

In that locker room after Game 3 was the lowest you can be, and I think everybody just kind of relaxed, honestly.

Q. You talked before about the roller coaster ride you guys have been on the last couple years. I think you said after the game that the pressure is on Miami now going back to Miami for Game 6 after you've gotten a couple wins in a row. I think you've won four straight road elimination games over the past couple of years when you've been in situations like that. What has allowed you to go into road environments like that and consistently put together performances like you have to stay alive in series?

JAYSON TATUM: Like I said, I wish I didn't know. But I feel like, speaking for us this year and last year, when we've had a lead or tied a series up and came back home, for whatever reason we've relaxed, for lack of better words, and we've lost some crucial games at home and really just had to buckle down, going on the road, back is against the wall, nobody but us and the coaches and the guys in that locker room believe that, whether it's last year, last series, that we were going to win.

But like I said, we've got a really connected group. We've got a group of determined, tough guys that, like I said, I know I can count on. I know I'm going to look to my left and my right when all hope seems to be lost, when the game is on the line, our backs are against the wall, that everybody is going to go down fighting and give everything they have.

That's contagious because we truly -- whether it's ignorant belief, we do believe at all times that we still have a chance, that anything can happen.

Q. Along those lines, I know you said that you're off social media through the Playoffs, but things got pretty dark, various reports about what's going on in the loom after Game 3. Did you take offense to that and hear that kind of talk?

JAYSON TATUM: I mean, like I said, I'm off Twitter, so I don't know what they said, what you guys said. I don't know, to answer that. I just try and keep a clear mind, good or bad. Just try and focus on the task at hand, the next game, and it's kind of just as simple as that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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