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May 15, 2019

Mike Budenholzer

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Pregame 1

Q. With the rotation, obviously late in that series you leaned pretty heavily on Pat [Connaughton], George [Hill], and Ersan [Ilyasova]. You get [Malcolm] Brogdon back. Is that the nine guys you're looking at, and when it comes to Giannis, are you still going to try to keep him in the low 30s [in minutes] if everything goes to plan?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Well, certainly those nine guys have played well. It was great to have Malcolm back. We look for him to continue, probably play a little more, and he's a huge help to us. The great thing for our team is we feel like we've got more guys in Sterling [Brown] and Tony [Snell]. DJ [Wilson] is a little banged up with an ankle, but including Tim Frazier, you just keep going down the list, there's a lot of confidence in our guys.

So we can kind of go a lot of different directions rotationally. Giannis, we'll just try and keep him fresh. That's the goal. I'd like to see him where he's really playing hard on both ends of the court and laying it all on the line, and as much rest as he needs. Hopefully we can get him that and keep him in a good place physically.

Q. Nick Nurse today, he didn't blink when asked about how much this series will be defined by Kawhi and Giannis. Maybe not a coach's type thing to do, but do you see that your other players following in the lead just like the Raptors do maybe with Leonard?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: You know, every team is built differently, and a ton of respect for Toronto and what they've done and how they play. But certainly Giannis is a huge part of what we do. But hopefully we're built to play and be efficient on both ends of the court with Giannis being a big part of it and with others being a big part of it, and others having the confidence to step up, make plays, do things.

So there's no doubt how important Giannis is to us and how important Kawhi is to them. You know, my look on it is probably slightly different, but Giannis and Kawhi are certainly special players.

Q. Coach, with Brogdon, will there be any restrictions on him? And how important could he be taking a turn on Kawhi if you just leave Khris [Middleton] on Kawhi the whole time, obviously you're not going to, but that could be really a difficult matchup, you need to help there?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: You know, I think we feel like we have multiple guys that we have confidence in giving the responsibility and the opportunity to guard Leonard. Khris will get it out of the gate. Malcolm is certainly one of those guys that we feel like is going to get opportunities, and you can keep going down the roster and there's guys that are going to get chances.

Again, it will be important to keep Khris as fresh and feeling good and what he does for us on both ends of the court is important, and what Malcolm comes in and gives us on both ends of the court is important.

I wouldn't say Malcolm has a minutes restriction. I think there's a logical and sensible way to bring a player back from restriction, and hopefully we'll continue to follow those guidelines or follow that, again, what we think is logical and sensible.

Q. You guys had some really good success with your guards against Kyle Lowry in the regular season; why do you think that was, and do you think he can continue it?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I mean, it's such a small sample size. You play -- I guess we played four times, and I'm not even sure Kyle played all four games. There's so many different things that happen in the regular season, it is important. We look at it. We watch the film. You know, we feel like our guards and particularly Eric Bledsoe has been phenomenal defensively all year. Adding George Hill has just added to our kind of defensive IQ, defensive toughness at the point guard position.

To be honest with you, I have no idea if what you said is even true. But we'll continue to guard him and do our best and just see how it goes.

Q. Niko [Nikola Mirotic] got a long chance against a number of guards, wings in that last series against the Celtics. Does that give you a little bit more confidence going into this series if he does have to spend time on a guy like Danny Green?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, I think Niko has -- I don't know what the right word is, but his feistiness, his competitiveness, it's one of those things I think he wants to show that he can guard lots of different positions, and he can contribute in lots of different ways. He was so anxious when he came off the injury to -- he wanted to come back and be perfect, and it was -- it took a little bit of time, and now he's found a good place, and I think he's in a good place defensively.

Certainly gives us confidence with what he just did in the last series as far as playing wings and playing a little different position than maybe he's played the majority of his time.

Q. Bud, having had an opportunity to coach Giannis now for a year, what stands out to you about him other than his obvious talent?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, I mean, the competitiveness of him just is -- I guess it's kind of like his game. It's elite. There's a lot of good players. There's a lot of talent in this league. I think there's a lot of great competitors in this league. And then there's others that competitiveness just is on that next level.

And it just stands out to you when you talk to him, when you watch him work and practice. He wants to win. And the great thing about him is I think he's happy when his teammates succeed. He's happy when others are playing well, and he just -- he's all about winning. And like I said, a lot of guys in our league are. Most everybody in our league is.

But I think there's some guys like Giannis that just feels like he takes it to that next level.

Q. How close did you come to coaching the Raptors? And why did you choose Milwaukee in the end over Toronto?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: You know, I think Toronto is incredibly pleased with where they are. I think Nick Nurse does a great job. I have a lot of respect for the organization, and I'm very happy where I am. Seems a little inappropriate. They're doing great, we're doing great. We'll go play tonight.

Q. Obviously with a week off, everybody is really excited to play in this game. It's obviously a high-stakes important game. How do you try and channel or temper the kind of emotions that guys will experience at the start of this game?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, you know, I think probably each of them is a little bit different. At the end of the day, our mode has always been just to kind of keep things as similar, as normal as they are, shoot-arounds, practices, pregame. Just keep them in their comfort zone. And you know, they're going to come out, both teams are going to be excited for Game 1 and anxious, and you just want to keep them in their normal kind of mindset and keep them there as much as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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