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Inside the Celtics Locker Room: Marcus Morris and the bench thrive vs. Nets

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Celtics close 2017 at 30-10, as Aron Baynes belted out yells behind the scenes in the locker room, “ringing in the new year.”

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Boston Celtics Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Four hours from the ball drops in New York City, ushering in 2018 where the Celtics’ schedule will calm and but the Cavaliers will present an immediate test, interviews were short and sweet in the Boston locker room. Brad Stevens spoke for a hair over 90 seconds, thanks to limited questions.

He paused for nearly 10 seconds too, waiting for the next one, then said the media must have to be somewhere to be tonight.

The Celtics beat the Nets 108-105, holding off a five point push in the final two minutes that pulled Brooklyn within three with a final possession. Spencer Dinwiddie unloaded from way beyond the three-point line and hit left glass, and Kenny Atkinson’s Nets fell short for the seventh straight time against Boston.

Kyrie Irving’s 28 points solidified the win, but the bench emerged behind a fully-healthy rotation playing, beside Gordon Hayward. Marcus Morris shined again, shooting 5-of-7 with 15 points. The Celts are 10-2 when he scores double-figures, and received 16-of-30 shooting from its bench.

Brad Stevens

What (did) Marcus Morris (give) off the bench?

“He’s obviously got a good rhythm that he carried over from the second half the other day, and did a lot of good things. He’s really important, and, you know, we’re still managing injuries and will be for a while, but he’s a big part of what we’re trying to accomplish. And we need him to score the ball.”

Was Daniel Theis’ not playing in the second half the result of tough decisions about rotations?

“We’ve had issues big against Brooklyn generally: the way they space you, the way they shoot it. They were going with (Quincy) Acy off the bench and ... 78 or 79 percent of his shots are threes, like it’s one of those things that it was more based on who we were playing ... with more healthy bodies available, there’s more decisions that are hard to make. The good news is Daniel has been already through some of that and has been nothing but a pro.”

Terry Rozier

How do you guys feel like you’re playing come out of this month?

“It’s definitely not where we want to be, but we just want to keep building off of it. That’s three (wins) in a row ... we’ll take it for sure.”

Jaylen Brown

How was it playing with the (knee) sleeve tonight?

“It was okay. It was better than playing with the brace. It felt a little more comfortable with the compression.”

Marcus Morris

Did you seem to find your rhythm in the second half against Houston?

“A little bit. The game got slower for me. I think in the first half I was out of character. Moving really fast and just things that I don’t do. Again, that’s the ... second time really being out there. Being able to play and not really think about my knee.”

What kind of treatment did you do right after the game on your knee?

“I just continue to do the same stuff. Just strengthen the quad around my knee. After the game I just ice and go home. It’s actually a lot better than we all expected. Practice yesterday was totally fine, came and played today and it was was totally fine ... I’m happy with the outcome.”

Kyrie Irving

What stood out about what (Isaiah Thomas) did here?

“The guy put on some epic performances for the city of Boston. What he gave on a consistent basis. We were just wondering how that tough-nosed ... was just getting it done every night and demanding it from his teammates and playing with an edge that really cemented him as one of the premier players in this league. You’re just nothing short of happy for a guy like that. Whether or not he plays it’s going to be nothing but love for him in Boston.”