TD GARDEN — Brad Stevens spoke to the media after the Celtics win over the Nuggets that improved his team to 16-5 and 9-0 at home.
It’s been a great stretch for both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown; is this what you’ve been
building up to?
“That story’ll be told down the road. Those guys are still getting better. They’re clearly improving in a lot of areas but I think they’re really enjoying playing together and figuring it out with the rest of our team. And it is more fun to be a central player that we’re going to in those occasions, and they’re taking advantage of it and doing a really good job of it. As I’ve said many times this year, our five best players are really clear, and everything we do has to be focused around complementing them and maximizing them. Those two guys in particular have done a really good job in this early part of the season of just focusing on making the right plays. But we’re still – as a team, and those two guys – we still have a lot of room to improve.”
Re: Tatum’s pulling back from attacking offensively
“He’s seeing a lot more doubles, he’s seeing a lot more blitzes than he’s ever seen. A lot of times the game starts, people are back, you hit a couple shots, they get a little higher, and by the end they’re blitzing. And so he’s seeing more of that, because people know what he’s capable of, and that also challenges you as a player to make the next right play, and it’s not always the most fun because you’re usually making a hockey assist against that blitz so it’s not the seven assists or five assists, it’s what it leads to after that usually. He’s doing a really good job of that, and you know we’re running a lot of action for him and Kemba (Walker) and they’re doing a great job of reading and playing off of it. And then obviously whenever you run anything, Jaylen’s just playing off of everybody else. His ability to shoot or drive powerfully is just different. It’s unique.”
Do you feel like this year the team is holding it’s ground in the fourth quarter?
“Well statistically we’ve been excellent in the fourth quarter, but tonight wasn’t a Mona Lisa from an offensive standpoint. But I didn’t know if either team was going to score after the first three minutes of the fourth but what was okay because we were up. We kept getting stops and then finally found a way to put some shots in. Thought the key to tonight’s game was: we kept out with great energy. We played really hard and well together, and then when they made their run we hit really timely, often tough shots. Sometimes it really is that you make a shot at that moment that you needed to make a shot to kind of start a run and tonight felt like that. They cut it to five, to eight, (Nikola) Jokic was hitting the one-foot floaters and then we had to come down and answer. Couple of those threes we hit were tough, so that was part of tonight’s success. We did make shots against a really good defense.”
Re: Tatum and Brown’s supporting each other, and their on-the-court dynamic
“I think I’ve always felt that way about those two guys. I think that everybody wants them to do really well. The great part of the whole situation is all the players, all the coaches, all the front office, the whole city; we all want Jayson and Jaylen to do really well, and it’s on us to all bring out the best in them and help them continue to grow through tough times or success. They’re having a lot success right now, so with