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June 17, 2008

Ray Allen

Rajon Rondo


Q. Ray, can you just describe the roller coaster of emotions this day has been for you?
RAY ALLEN: It really started over the weekend when I knew my son was -- he was feeling ill, and we kind of -- we just thought maybe he had some type of virus that was passing. And Sunday morning we had to admit him to the hospital and just had to deal with that. Found out he was diagnosed with diabetes and just had to play the game that Sunday, and then wonder whether he was okay. He wasn't doing well that day, so I got to his hospital bed after the game on Sunday and he started coming alive and everything was great. I just knew that that's where I needed to be.
We got in this morning and we took him to the hospital, and he was lively, so I was relieved to see that he was moving around. This is something that is going to be a lifestyle change for all of us, but we made it through those first couple of days, and being educated on what exactly he has to go through. Just sitting in the hospital this morning, I hadn't slept really, and just now thinking how I'm going to sleep, get rest and how my body is going to respond to getting out here tonight and just -- the team was great, and I just told myself that I wasn't going to come in and just do -- I was going to focus on just trying to make plays for this team, whatever that meant.
The team played great, and I was able to focus in, and the family took care of everything else from the hospital perspective, and I was able to come out here and just play basketball. It's such a wonderful feeling to be able to do this on this night with all the stuff that has taken place over the weekend, and to be able to share this with the fans in Boston has been great.

Q. Did you think of your son over the weekend?
RAY ALLEN: I did. I had him on the stage with me. I know he was looking at me wondering what was going on. He was very happy to be in my arms. He was very content, and just knowing him, in the years to come he'll realize how big of a moment and he was able to share this moment with me, both my sons and my daughter. All of us are pretty speechless. We talked about this at the beginning of the year. We spotlighted the wall in our practice facility. We talked about it in Rome. We talked about it in September when the trades went down. This truly to me was a team coming together where everybody put individual agendas aside, and we just stepped up to the plate and we did what it was to do the team thing.
Of course we had bumps along the road, there was frustration. There were times when we were trying to figure everything out and what we needed to do and how we needed to proceed. But we always came back to each other as a team, and to finally win this and to prove we're the best team in the NBA this year, everything we went through was definitely worth it, and we know exactly what it takes to be the best. It's not easy, but to be the best you have to give up a lot, and we gave up a lot but we definitely took a lot along the way.

Q. Rajon and Ray, what does this mean to win this for this franchise, 22 years in the making?
RAJON RONDO: It's been a long time coming. Last time we won a championship was when I was born (laughter). So I don't -- I'm just definitely excited to be a part of this organization, especially going through what we went through last year as a team, all the trades this summer.
Like I said, I'm just glad to be a part of this organization, a Celtic, and we got the win. Like Ray said, we went through a lot this year, a lot of criticism. We had the boys on our back throughout the entire year, and we had to live up to their expectations.

Q. Ray, can you talk about the commitment that you and Kevin and Paul made at the defensive end this year.
RAY ALLEN: Well, you can score a three-pointer, you can drive to the hole and dunk, you can make a free throw and you can make a great pass, any time any one of us did any of those things, it really did matter because everybody on this team, everybody in this building expected us to do that. But when somebody dove on the ground for a loose ball, when somebody got a blocked shot, somebody boxed out and we got a rebound and we ran, those were the things that made this team better. We held each other accountable to get on the floor every time there was a loose ball, to help in rotation when somebody was beat. I mean, we just held each other accountable. We didn't accept anything less from Paul. They didn't expect less out of me. If Kevin was out of position, we let him know, and everybody followed suit. It was that accountability all year long that everybody knew when you came in here, we don't care about the offensive end. Offensively we have talent and guys that can make plays, and you make the right play, but defensively you'd better be in the spot that you're supposed to be in, and that's every day that's something that we -- it was a contention of stress for it because we really cared about it and we had to focus every shootaround. It seemed like we were in shootaround forever, but at the end of the day it was all worth it.

Q. Rajon, Doc said that his message to you today was to just be aggressive and don't worry about everything like the games out in LA. What was your thinking after that and what was your thinking even before that just coming out?
RAJON RONDO: Before the game I was going through a lot, especially not playing well on the road. I talked to Ray about 20 minutes before the game, "just let the frustration go," and he told me I could still be a threat to the team. I just had to go out there and be aggressive. No matter how many shots I missed, I think I started off 0 for 4 or something like that but I kept attacking the rim, made Kobe play defense. I didn't want to give him the night off, like I did the past couple of nights on the road.
The first play of the game was for me. I passed the ball. But from the jump, he instilled the confidence in me tonight that he wanted me to be aggressive. I try to let my defense dictate my offense instead of vice versa.

Q. In the past when you missed like your first four or whatever, had that made you back off?
PAUL PIERCE: No, not at all. Those four shots I missed were shots I take. I think I missed a couple easy lay-ups, two floaters. So that's what my game is and I don't want to shy away from it.

Q. Ray, when Bird, Parish and McHale were called the Big Three, it was after they won a couple of championships. You guys are sort of introduced as the Big Three, which you could argue a little bit of pressure. How did you guys overcome that because expectations were high? I don't know if anyone actually predicted this, but they were high, and you guys seemed to meet them. How did you overcome the expectations and the pressure?
RAY ALLEN: Any time there was that label, whether it was TV, newspaper or traveling to another city, we just did our best to somewhat downplay it because Big Three, this is Big 15. We have 15 guys on this team that have contributed all year. It's not going to be the three of us that ultimately are going to help win the championship. It took all 15 players, Scot Pollard contributed before he went down and Brian Scalabrine, he was big for us all year, just stepping up when we needed him to step up. Going to the bench when need be, when PJ came, those things that the guys like that did for us as a team, as individuals, as a team, it allowed us to shape this team. It allowed us to bring Sam in and bring PJ in and make this team better, and everybody accepted what their roles were. It wasn't just about the three of us and we knew that. Kevin had been in situations where it was always about him; same with myself and Paul. And even with the three of us, we knew it was going to take more than just the three of us, and we had to make our teammates better and allow them to understand the magnitude of what we were facing. We just ignored the Big Three talk and if people are going to place the stigma on the team after we won, everyone is going to be fine with it because we did win.

Q. You guys noted that you have a unique mix of veteran leadership and youth. How did Coach Rivers blend that during the season and how did he blend that during the championship run?
RAY ALLEN: Well, it was interesting towards the end here when PJ really started playing a lot. He started noticing his impact on the game, and it gave Glen an opportunity to see what he needed to do out there on the floor and Leon had a big game for us Game 2. If you look at this team all year long, somebody carried us at one point or another. That was a different individual, whether it was a starter or somebody on the bench, somebody had a big game. We allowed each other to rely on each other throughout this course.
Young players came in, they learned a lot from the veterans, and the veterans, we truly had to allow the young players to come out here and put their stamp on this team. It's been, I think, a great combination of a give and take by both the veterans, the young players and the coaching staff realizing what each individual strengths are.

Q. Rajon, while you were struggling in LA, Eddie and Sam were playing pretty well. Were you feeling any pressure in the 48 hours or just before game time to play well to stay in the game?
RAJON RONDO: I wasn't feeling any pressure. That's what it's about. Our key word we used the entire year is "Ubuntu." If I'm not playing well I wish Sam the best to try to get the W. I don't feel any pressure if they're playing better than me. It's a team effort. Like Ray said, it's 15 guys and that's what it takes. We got the win in Game 3, the great comeback we had. I was on the bench, the entire team, but as long as we got the win that's what it was all about, and I was excited for us to get the win.

End of FastScripts

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