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May 17, 2011

Tom Thibodeau


Q. How do you think your guys are handling all these expectations and the media that's surrounding all this?
TOM THIBODEAU: It's a great time of the year, and our approach, we don't want to change anything. I think our guys have done a good job all year long going step by step. And I think you're faced with a number of different challenges throughout the course of the year. This is just the next step.
So if you handle everything the right way and you're building the proper habits, you should be able to handle things like this.

Q. I know you talked about this before, but can you talk about the second unit and the pride they play with to give the spark to carry on the momentum?
TOM THIBODEAU: I think the fact that they're a high-energy group, that you can count on that energy every game. And oftentimes it changes a game for us. They've done a great job all year. The defense and the rebounding you can count on every time they go on the floor.
Offensively you have to make shots. When we're making shots, that group has played extremely well.

Q. The energy Taj gives, the energy he's able to provide when he comes in --
TOM THIBODEAU: I think his versatility. Taj obviously did a great job last year as a starter. It gives us great flexibility. He plays both the four and the five. He can guard all five positions. So you can do a lot of switching with him. And offensively, he's probably underrated. He can shoot, he can post, he's a terrific offensive rebounder, and he's an excellent screener.

Q. A guy that started one year and now is coming off the bench --
TOM THIBODEAU: He has great character. He's a winner. Smart talk. Whatever you ask him to do, he's willing to do. The team always comes first with him.

Q. What do you think of Luol's influence on that second unit?
TOM THIBODEAU: Oh, it's huge. Luol has done a great job for us all year with his leadership. And he's played well obviously with both groups. It gives us stability with the second group in terms of having another primary scorer on the floor.
Luol, again, with the starters, his role is a little bit different. Second unit he does a little bit more scoring. But he plays very efficiently with both groups.

Q. (Indiscernible)
TOM THIBODEAU: This is the playoffs. You go into a series, you look at all the possibilities, and you anticipate what they could do. They could go big, they could go small. But usually the biggest adjustment in a playoff series is the intensity. So that you can add a player here or there, but that's not going to change the strengths and weaknesses of a team.
I think it's important to understand that. And then the readiness to play. Then you have to sustain that intensity throughout the game.

Q. So is the idea here to prepare your guys for any changes (Indiscernible)
TOM THIBODEAU: You do both. You're prepared for them to go big and you're prepared for them to go small. Either way, you go into the series knowing what you're going to try to get done with both groups.

Q. Do you expect this to be more physical tomorrow?
TOM THIBODEAU: It's the playoffs. When you're playing the same team over and over again, as each game goes on, you become more familiar. You know everything that's coming, they know everything that's coming. And then oftentimes it's how well you can execute and do all the little things.

Q. As a coach, is it comforting to know no matter what they do big or small, you're able to combat it because you have the roster to do it?
TOM THIBODEAU: The big thing is I think we feel very good about our team, the fact that we have quality depth. I think they've built the right habits over the course of the year. And their defense and rebounding are two things you want to be able to count on every night.
Some nights you're going to shoot the ball better than others. But if you're doing those other two things, you should still have a chance to win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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