BOSTON -- Tom Thibodeau tried to downplay his arrival back in Boston, but even he couldn't help himself when he started talking about the place he called home for three years.
"It's great," he said of his return. "A lot of fond memories. I don't think I'd be in this position, if it weren't for this organization, those players, Doc [River], Danny [Ainge], the ownership. I'm indebted to all of them."
Here are a few more highlights from Thibodeau's pregame media session:
On what it will be like coaching against the Celtics: "It'll be interesting because I know the competitive spirit of that group. So I know what they want to do and we want to do the same thing."
On how the styles of Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo compare: "They're both great talents. I think the thing that's similar is that they'll do whatever's necessary to win. For us right now, we need Derrick to do more scoring and he's done that. He's developing as a defender right now.
"With Rajon, I think he understands where he is with that team over there. And he knows he's a pass-first point guard and he's got to run the team. He has a lot of options, but the thing that impressed me last year with Rajon is when we had all the players go down with injury, he stepped up his scoring during that period. I think it says a lot about him, I think he understands what's needed each night to win."
On what specifically he would like to see Rose improve upon defensively: "The big thing is on the ball pressure. I think challeging shots and I'd like him to rebound better. The more he rebounds, particularly defensive rebounding, when he busts out in transition off that, it's impossible to stop. When he does that we score very efficiently."
On how to slow Paul Pierce down: "Like all great players, you try to make them work as much as possible. But the thing about this team is they're not only great players, but they're also unselfish. That's what makes them so hard to guard; when you commit more than one defender to any one of them, they're going to move the ball freely.
"[Kevin] Garnett will continually run into pick and rolls and they'll screen so your defense can never rest against these guys, you have to play 24 seconds of defense. When the ball is shot, you have to challenge their shots, and then you have to block out and rebound and you have to do it for 48 minutes against this team."