Brad Stevens spoke after the Celtics practiced on Thursday. Boston and Brooklyn will face off again Friday night in Game 3 of their series, with the Nets up 2-0.
On the defensive lapses in Game 2 compared to Game 1, Stevens said “We need to get back to being more solid and a little bit better on that end…I thought we attacked a little bit better in Game 2 and hopefully we’ll be able to build off that as we head into Game 3. I thought we did get some really good looks in Game 2, but it was one of those games where your back’s against the wall and every shot takes on that much more significance, especially when they were going like they were going.”
James Harden and the Nets were showing out in the second half of Game 2, and Stevens was asked how the team can use that as motivation and drive them. “You gotta be ready to roll from the tip…you gotta not only be motivated, but you gotta be on edge and you gotta be prepared to compete to the nth degree on every possession. I thought that game separated itself with their flurry there in the first quarter. Again, we scored it early, but… we were scoring it pretty efficiently and we’re still down 6 or 8. That’s why you have to be so much better on that end of the court. With regard to how they played…I thought Blake’s plays were physical and aggressive, and I thought that’s what Harden does. He puts the ball between his legs and he makes you reach. He makes you gamble, and then he beats you. He makes you overhelp and then he whips a pass by you…I think the most important thing is…we’re down 2-0. Tomorrow’s important. Tomorrow the edge, the pride, the competitiveness and everything needs to be at its best level.”
Stevens was also asked how the team can help ease the pressure on Jayson Tatum, who has been smothered defensively so far this series. “I think that obviously, he didn’t play much of the second half last game…they’re not helping much off Jayson…when he has the ball, when he drives the ball, they’re sending a lot of help. And so, this is gonna likely be a scenario where he can find his spots, he’ll have his opportunities. He’s such a high volume player, high usage player for us…I think it’s also gonna be really important that we space well around him so that he can make the next right play. Someone else is gonna have to open that up for him.”