Brad Stevens continues to focus on transition defense

    Brad Stevens said the Celtics still need to improve on their transition defense.


    BOSTON – Brad Stevens spoke to the media on Thursday night following the Boston Celtics win over the Sacramento Kings at TD Garden.

    Listen to everything Stevens had to say here:



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    Re: Third quarter run and momentum swinging the Celtics’ way

    “Well I mean, what was it, it was, like 9-2 to start the third quarter and then 0-16 or whatever, and then we went on a run after that.  You know, their run, I thought, was really impressive, and we had to answer.  And I thought after the six-minute mark of that quarter we were – we were really dialed in.  They forced us to play big some; I thought our double bigs played well together and I thought, you know, obviously, the lift that Jaylen (Brown) gave us scoring the ball off the bench and we got a lot of good performances in those last sixteen minutes.  I thought (Marcus) Morris kind of kept us afloat there for a while, at the end – end of the first half, start of the third quarter.  Made some plays at the end of the third quarter; made some plays at the end of the game.  I thought he dug deep, because I thought he looked – he looked like he was a little bit tired in those first six minutes of the game coming off the trip.       So that’s really encouraging when you’ve got a guy who’s just going to dig, dig deep and figure it out for you.”

    Re: How the Celtics fared in transition defense

    “Not so hot.  Yeah, we need to get better than that.  They – in the first half, we were really bad but I thought that some of our missing shots and turnovers add to that. But, this team really puts you on your heels.  I mean, (De’Aaron) Fox is – he’s a load to guard in transition and everybody else follows suit.  And then with their shooters, how they space the floor, makes it very tough.”

    Re: Scoring 126 points, despite only making nine threes

    “We were attacking the basket well.  I mean, we made some midrange there late, but not many.  I thought our basket attacks were good for the most part, most of the game, and we needed it.  Again, I think that’s – that’s what Jaylen and Gordon (Hayward) both coming off the bench can get to the line and do physical attacks to the basket.  But you know, Jaylen did that in the first half at a high, high level and then, you know, saw the ball go through the net at the rim and then made all those threes in the second.” 

    Re: Energy Jaylen Brown provides off the bench

    “Well I think it’s – it’s – he’s done a good job of embracing that.  He’s done a good job of not letting that affect his aggressiveness or his game.  And the other thing is, is when we bring him in and play him and take (Marcus) Smart out, he’s – he can guard the guy Smart’s been guarding.  And if we leave Smart in, we can move Smart to a – you know, to a ball handler and pressure a little bit more like we did there in the fourth quarter.  So those are – those are good pairings and Jaylen’s aggressiveness off the bench has been good all, you know, ever since he’s gotten used to it.”

    Are you more encouraged by the win or discouraged by how the defense?

    “So, I would have to go back and really look at it; I was more discouraged after the Clippers game than I was after I watched the film.  I thought they – they were lights-out and we were not great, but we weren’t as bad as I thought we were.  So, I’d have to go back and watch.  But my encouragement comes from just kind of gutting it out and finding a way down 17, staying together. Had every excuse to not play well tonight and just – that’s more of what we have been fortunate enough to be used to.”