Here’s what Ime Udoka said to Celtics in locker room after Game 1 win over Warriors

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BOSTON — After a thrilling fourth quarter to pull off a remarkable comeback on the road in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, a head coach could be forgiven if he went a little overboard with his excitement in the winning locker room.

But that just wouldn’t be Ime Udoka’s style.

The ever-steady head coach never gets too high or too low in any scenario, generally opting to state things as plainly as possible while seeing things as clearly as he can. It’s worked out thus far, as the first-year head coach has the Celtics three wins away from a championship.

It was no surprise, then, that Udoka did not break character in front of his team on Thursday night. Here’s what Udoka said to his team in the locker room after the game, courtesy of ESPN/ABC mics:

One game. Three more. A lot of series left. But very impressive when we don’t play our best, we can still grind it out on D. Until they hit their last three-pointer, [it was] a 13-point quarter. So fourth quarter, they’re up 92-90 going in, and basically they had 105 until they hit their last three [with 16 seconds left].

It’s not always gonna be perfect, not always gonna be pretty. Guys didn’t play their best. JT, where you at? Way to impact the game when you’re not scoring — 13 assists.

Too cute, too comfortable early. We did what we did in the second half. Here we go.

The behind-the-scenes Udoka certainly sounds a lot like the public-facing Udoka at the podium.

The head coach wasn’t the only one to address the team in the winning locker room. 

From his locker, Marcus Smart said, “We didn’t let them click. When they went on a run, we responded. And that’s how this series is gonna go. We’re playing a really good team who’s been here, who understands what energy it has to bring. We can’t lack that. We gotta do what we did every night. That’s how it’s gonna be. That’s how we’re gonna come out. It’s one game, we’re on to the next one. One game at a time.”

Grant Williams, who had no points in his 16 minutes on the floor, sees a lot of room for improvement from his team.

“Hey, I know we won. But we’ve got a lot more to improve on,” Williams said at his locker. “That’s what’s scary. That’s what’s scary — we have a lot we can improve on.”

The Celtics will have the opportunity to show those improvements on Sunday night in Game 2, as they look to take both games in San Francisco to start the series.


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