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May 14, 2019

Nick Nurse

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Practice Day

Q. From your chair, seeing what's gone around the city and around the country, seeing how people have reacted the last 48 hours, what's that been like for you?
NICK NURSE: It's good. I like to be a party pooper. I try to insulate myself away from it pretty much, right?

But when I'm sitting in the lobby waiting for my Uber to come, I can hear conversations about where they were watching the game and things like that. You can sense that excitement a little bit.

There is nothing like a buzzer-beater, right? Just literally nothing like a buzzer-beater. I think that added a lot to the emotion of it all.

But it's good. What I'm really happy about is that we're still playing and getting ready to go again. I kind of expected us to be playing at this time of the year.

Q. Does it feel like you guys are the underdogs in this series? Do you have to approach things differently as the lower seed?
NICK NURSE: No, I don't think so, to both questions. I think we're a good road team. We're a good team. The stakes are high, right? They have been high.

It hasn't really dawned on me that we don't have home court or any of that kind of stuff. I'm just really focused in on trying to get our mindset right so when I this thing goes up tomorrow night that we're ready to go.

And, again, trying to block out how excited everybody was. That's got to be over here pretty soon. Any other little things that it's going to come down to once that ball goes up, can we get ready to go.

Q. I appreciate what you're saying about trying to insulate yourself from the hype and everything. You insulate yourself, but you have a phone. I'm guessing it might have blown up. That was such a rare moment. It's never been done in NBA history that someone has hit the buzzer-beater in Game 7 to win a series. Did you get reaction from other people even though you, as you say, try to insulate yourself?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, of course. Of course you do. That's OK. It's interesting. I find it interesting that that many people are really watching and how many people said, It was so close and I was breathing heavy, my God, it was so hard on me. All that kind of stuff.

I find it interesting and I find it great. I think my college coach, Eldon Miller, one time I remember him saying that, you know, everybody is worried about the result and it's good, man. We would rather have them worrying about that than a lot of other things.

So it's good. I also think it's good that people that you know and grew up with and family and friends and high school teammates and all this kind of stuff, they get to enjoy it and come along. I'm happy to share it with them. Of course.

Q. When it comes to Giannis, can you talk about the challenges and how you -- can't stop him, but contain him?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, obviously he's an overpowering type player, with his size and now his strength, his speed and then his array of kind of moving up the floor. He's got the speed dribble, the shoulder hits. He's constantly running people over. Spinning movement. He's big and long? He can reach out. Even if you do a great job, he can still reach up over the top of you and lay it in sometimes.

So the challenge -- I think you guys have seen them play. Got to try to slow him down in transition, which is more than a one-person job. Probably a five-person job. The guys that are out there have to build walls and build them early so that the freight train doesn't get going too fast.

And you're going to have to stand in there. The one thing I'm super proud of with our defense is that we stand in there and we take hits and we take charges. I don't have the numbers, but we have to be up there really close to leading the playoffs or the league. There are going to be charges to be taken in this game.

Q. Kyle is almost leading the playoffs.
NICK NURSE: Kyle by himself?

Q. What is it, every team but Golden State? Yeah.
NICK NURSE: We have some guys that take charges, and there are going to be charges to take. We need to stand in there and take them. It isn't that easy sometimes when [Joel] Embiid is rolling downhill with speed or somebody like Giannis is to step in and take them. But we need to step in and take them because they're going to be there.

Q. How much has Giannis' game changed or evolved since the last time you guys had to prepare for him in the playoffs? Is it a different job?
NICK NURSE: I don't think so. I think he keeps getting bigger and stronger and a little more skilled. Obviously, he's shooting a little bit better. But it's kind of always -- we've played them a number of times. You've got to somehow slow down the transition. They do probably run different things this year, so that's evolved a little bit. He'll post. He'll handle in the screen-and-roll. He'll set in the screen-and-roll in both the mid and the side.

So there is maybe more actions with this coach than there was prior years. But, again, you got a guy like that, you use every action there is in the game, right? And they do.

Q. On Saturday before Game 7 we talked a lot about the idea of growth and what you can learn in these games. With a few days to reflect on it, what do you think you learned about your team, good and bad?
NICK NURSE: I think I always say we're going to find out what we learned when the ball goes up. But I think, let's be honest here. We had some great moments where we looked awesome. We had some moments that were really bad, where we didn't play very well.

I'm hoping we learned that how proportionate our effort is into how well we play. I thought we learned our lesson from that Game 1 against Orlando. We ripped off about six tough-ass, hard-playing games. I think six in a row, and then took a step back in Game 3 in Philly. Maybe Game 6.

So I'm hoping we learned that. I think we're growing defensively in what we can do as far as our aggressiveness and rotations. I think we're growing as a rebounding team. I saw us putting bodies on people a little bit more. I think we are growing as far as our rotation. I know it's short, but the many differences it's now presenting with Kyle, Kawhi at the 2, Pascal at the 3, Serge at 4, Marc at 5. We don't know yet which of those turns out in this series, but I didn't know those were going to be good going into the last series. We know there is some variety there. We tinkered with that stuff all year long and we know we can handle those kinds of things.

Q. Most people assume that the rest they'll have going into this is an advantage. Is there an advantage to what you guys are coming off of, the grind in both series really?
NICK NURSE: I think so. Definitely hear what you're saying, and there is a case for that. I hate to keep using this line, Got to wait until the ball goes up to find out, but there is also certainly a theory or history that the team that's been on edge stays on edge.

We've certainly been on edge and had to play at a very, very high level. That's coming quick. Hopefully we just get in that same vehicle.

Q. How much of an asset has Kawhi been in the dressing room? He doesn't talk too much about his impact. What's it been like, his experience?
NICK NURSE: I think he talks a little bit more than maybe you guys think he does. I think we all know he's pretty quiet. My thing is he speaks up in the film, in the defensive coverage sections of the deal. I talk to him about places we're going to get him the ball and things we're going to run. He either agrees or disagrees and weighs in on that kind of stuff.

He's very even-keeled. If he was like your son or something and you were trying to teach him how to be a sports person you would say, Don't let your emotions get the best of you. Be as even-keeled as you can. Don't overreact to good or bad play, wins and losses. He does that at a really high level, and I think that impacts us.

Q. Offensively do you need more diversity and just movement, especially...

Q. And also, do you have any status on OG [Anunoby]? Any change on OG?
NICK NURSE: First of all, yes, 100%. I think all the way leading into the fourth quarter of that game the other day we were trying to keep more people involved offensively? I think somebody told me like in the first eight minutes of the game the other night we had 22 uncontested shots. And we made eight of them, which isn't good [laughing]. So, again, we need to keep creating those and spread those around a little bit and make some of those. I'm hoping that we do.

And OG, the update I got this morning was he is starting to move around and be more active. We've got about one more week before we think we can probably start really moving him around and getting to a point where you see something in the distance of possibly returning.

Q. Milwaukee has similar defensive skills to Orlando. Are there lessons you can take from that series to this one?
NICK NURSE: I think we've seen that now a couple series. Obviously Orlando, [Nikola] Vucevic. Embiid. And Lopez is a great rim protector. Really good; always under the rim, using his physicality, sometimes overphysicality on shots [smiling].

So, yeah, should be some similarities there in what we see. Be interesting to see how they match up. I'm sure they watched the games and are going to take is look at some different things. And it'll change throughout the series. I'm sure the way we go in or they way they go in will change by halftime of the game tomorrow night coming out in the third quarter.

Q. You said Kawhi makes an impact on your team with the even-keeled attitude. What's the impact?
NICK NURSE: I think we've made it kind of a part of who we are from the start of training camp to not overreact too much this year. We weren't going to go crazy with a loss in preseason or a loss in game 12 or an unbelievable victory at Golden State at Christmastime. Just going to be even-keeled and get ready for this time of year.

That's helped us. We had some up-and-down moments. We have them. Golden State has them. Portland has them. And I think we keep on playing.

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