TD Garden, Boston, Mass. — Brad Stevens was interviewed after the Celtics had a resounding 118-110 win over the Washington Wizards. Boston is now locked into playing the 2nd place Brooklyn Nets.
On the challenge of playing Brooklyn, Stevens said “Just generally… it’s really hard to make the NBA Playoffs…every year presents unique challenges…we’ve been through a lot, so we’re hardened in a lot of ways…we’ll get ready for Brooklyn starting on Thursday…those guys are the best of the best…we’re going to have to play great…we’re going to have to be really, really sound on both ends of the floor.”
On keeping up with the fast-paced Wizards, Coach Stevens said “We got a little stagnant at times there…we stayed together again…our Friday practice and our practice yesterday were probably the best we’ve had all year… we need to get Rob healthy, he needs to get back…I was encouraged by the way that we played…I thought we did a pretty good job.”
Both Marcus Smart and Robert sustained injuries, and Stevens was able to offer a small update on their condition. “Marcus twisted his ankle, came right back, played the rest of the game… I have a weird feeling John, that he’ll be ready for practice on Thursday… Rob hyperextended that toe… not enjoyable.”
Jayson Tatum went off and carried Boston with a 50 point performance. “He’s really good about the minutes in the playoffs…I was nervous at halftime because we had to use those two timeouts with guys down…he does a good job, he’s smart about it, and you know, he’s going to play over 40 a lot.”
Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford also provided solid minutes in their stints, making crucial plays. “I think you saw both those guys had decent weekends… it’s a lot easier to be good when you’re surrounded by our best players…it’s why you keep throwing him [Romeo Langford] in there…if we can get Rob back…it’ll be a fun challenge to go up against the best.”
Jayson Tatum was noticeably more aggressive, and his driving was frequent and often. “It has not always been roses, and they’ve had to answer a bunch of stuff, and it has been hard missing people all year… I give our guys a ton of credit… Jayson’s obviously the leader of it… he can lead by not saying a word, he can lead by example, and he can lead by the way he played tonight.”
On Evan Fournier’s performance and figuring out his role, Stevens said “We need to probably get him more shots generally… Evan doesn’t care about that stuff… he just wants to play and win… we do need to find him more looks.”