TD GARDEN — Brad Stevens on the greatness of Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier’s impact and Jayson Tatum coming up big in the Celtics 99-91 Game 2 win over the Indiana Pacers.
BRAD STEVENS TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
What were you thinking when the Celtics were down 12 in the fourth quarter?
“You know, just continue to play the game one possession at a time. I thought the group at the start of the fourth kick–started us off well, and then when some of our starters came back in, I thought they really played well. Al (Horford) played I think 16 straight minutes or 15 straight minutes, and I told him I‘d use one of my time–outs that I didn‘t use so he‘s probably pissed at me. But he is – I thought his play on the glass, his play protecting the rim, and then everybody else moving the ball and finding the next right shot just kind of allowed us to hit singles and get back in it.”
Re: Kyrie Irving’s performance in the fourth quarter, plus timely shot-making by Jayson Tatum
“Well first of all, Kyrie was incredible in coming back and when he gets on a run like that, he‘s going to draw even more attention than he already draws – which is as much as anybody draws in the league. And so, in the last couple minutes of the game, he just made the right play. He got off the ball and he drew two and other guys made plays. And it started with Jaylen‘s (Brown) kick-out in transition, which was one of the best plays I‘ve ever seen him make. I just – I told him after the game, I‘m so happy for him. Just thinking about him driving left, jumping up in the air and delivering a pass to the opposite corner is a tremendous, tremendous play. And then Kyrie got off of it a couple times because they doubled him or showed off of him, and Tatum was able to drive one time for the dunk, one time for the dump–off, and I was really encouraged by the way we shared the ball and just made the right play. And then Kyrie was special.”
Re: Riding Terry Rozier for eight minutes in the fourth quarter
“I think that he can–I think sometimes when it‘s going like that, you need to be able to score, obviously, but you also need to be able to pick the ball up, make them a little bit more uncomfortable, do those types of things. And I think Terry obviously does a good job of that. That‘s one of the advantages of playing a little bit lesser minutes is you‘ve got more energy to do stuff like that. And when we‘re at our best, he does a good job of that. And he was huge in that come back, way more than the stats, as you said. I don‘t always think the plus/minus tells us the most accurate story, but tonight I think, with him, it‘s very accurate.”
Is the team peaking at the right time?
“I don‘t know. We don‘t score in that last two minutes it‘s not probably the question, right? So, play the next game, one possession at a time. We‘ve been up 2–0, heading to Washington two years ago, heading to Milwaukee last year, heading to Philly last year, heading to Cleveland – and in three of those games we got our doors blown off in the first six minutes of the game. So, it‘s a different – every game‘s its own entity; you don‘t think about how good you played or how lucky you were or anything else; you try to get it done. You move on to what‘s next and play the next possession and it‘s hard. We have to be ready for what‘s coming in Game Three.”
Re: Defensive stops that led to runs, especially at the end of the game
“I thought our defense was really good. (Bojan) Bodganovic hit a couple of incredible shots; Wesley Matthews hit a tough shot fading away off of a kick–out that I thought was a, you know, a high pass where he had to jump for it, land, and shoot it. That‘s hard. But I thought our defense in the last five minutes was excellent and then certainly in the last few possessions. Because we had a couple empty possessions before that when they were up two; came back down and got stops and kept playing. But Al (Horford) was – Al was great in the paint for us. Both protecting the rim on some of those drives, guarding in isolation at the top of the key, and then – and then rebounding.”
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