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Defense, rebounding, steals, and Boston accents (links & quotes)

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A quick spin around the Celtics media.

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Sacramento Kings v Boston Celtics Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Brad Stevens has not been impressed with the Celtics defense lately. (via Bulpett)

“Yeah, that’s three in a row that I think we’ve struggled defensively, not played as well as I would have liked,” said the coach, referencing the 140 points the Celts gave up in the loss to the Clippers in LA and the 120 they allowed the Kings while still managing to win by six two days prior. “That being said, I think Atlanta, coming into the game — I told Lloyd (Pierce, the Atlanta coach) this after the game — they’ve organized themselves, the way that they’re spaced, the pace at which they play, the way that (Trae) Young kind of controls the whole floor and their bigs rolling to the basket, they make it very hard. I hated playing Vince Carter today, because I know as a 42-year-old I like noon tips. I’m sure he does. I knew he’d go off.

“But our defense needs to improve, and we’ll get challenged mightily here over the next week.”

Terry Rozier on the unique relationship he shares with his GM (who happens to share his birthday) - via NBC Boston.

“I know he had some thoughts about trading me this year,” admitted Rozier. “I respected the business side of it. I don’t ever try to get too much in other people’s jobs. I try to do my job, which is on the court. Like I said, I know he had thoughts, but it didn’t happen.

“Obviously, we’ve got some similarities. You know it’s pretty dope to have a guy around, especially a GM that played in this league, stuff like that. Our relationship is good. Sometimes, you know, a lot this year, I’ve wanted to put on the gloves with him, feel like we need to fight sometimes.”

Jay King appreciates Marcus Smart and his penchant for thievery.

The Celtics were in the process of vomiting away a huge lead against a Hawks team on pace to finish the season with 28 wins. As much as Brad Stevens appreciates the job Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce has done, this would have been one of the season’s worst losses for Boston – right up there with a February debacle against the Clippers. Instead, Smart snatched the ball away from Young and directed it the other way for a Jaylen Brown corner 3-pointer. Over the next three minutes, Smart stole the ball from Young two more times – once on the dribble and once on the pass – to command a game-sealing 13-2 run.

Kyrie Irving is rebounding more, which is adding to and evolving his game. via MassLive

“I just wasn’t asked to do it a lot in Cleveland. Tristan was like an offensive rebound maniac and ‘Bron was trying to get every rebound. I was with some thirsty guys for rebounding,” Irving joked, acknowledging that it was Thompson’s and LeBron’s job to get those boards. “Helping our bigs here is a point of emphasis for us. And we finish out defensive possessions with rebounds, and especially as guards, it helps our bigs just feel good about boxing their guy out.”

Here’s a clip of Isaiah Thomas playing pickup at Emerson College.

And here’s some Celtics trying to do Boston accents (badly).