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May 15, 2019

Nick Nurse

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Pregame 1

Q. Given the emotion of Sunday night and the team's even-keel nature, what do you see from them in this kind of atmosphere?
NICK NURSE: I mean, listen, I think it's definitely something that I see what happens. Looking at it from a positive standpoint, we certainly have been on an edge each series, and sometimes that's a good thing, just to kind of keep that same intensity and effort and those kind of things going as quickly as possible.

But obviously it's a big win, big shock, people talking about it a lot and all that kind of stuff, and that's good, but at some point all that stuff has to get pushed aside and you have to get yourself ready to focus, and you have to, again -- I think that approaching each game is critical. We talk about that in each series and this is a critical game that we need to perform in and go get.

So let's see if we're ready to do that.

Q. Can your defense, the sharpness of your rotations, from Game 7 carry over, do you think, or is there maybe an adjustment to make because Milwaukee sort of initiates a different kind of action?
NICK NURSE: Well, I think for sure it's a different style of play. We talked about that after the game with Philly. I hope we can. I think it's not like we haven't seen it before. You know, it's not like we don't know what's coming and they're going to penetrate with their head down and we're going to have to do some things at a super high level that are different than we did at a super high level just a few days ago.

Transition is huge. Everybody knows that. This team gets a ton out of transition. Can we do a really good job in transition? And I thought, for the most part, we did against Philly. We didn't give them much in transition. But as good as Ben Simmons is in transition, and he's darned good, this guy is better and bigger.

So our transition awareness and just execution of transition defense is where it's all going to start for us. And I guess we'll see. I think it took us a little bit to get into that series a little bit with really, really sharp defensive rotations. But I keep saying this, this game is critical. We don't have time to wait. I hope we're ready to go.

Q. What's been the process of coming down off that and having that edge that you need to play with?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I think that a couple for me, a few more things that are with us, it was a really emotional deal, and it was hard to get to sleep afterwards. It's just too much juice flowing through the body, and I'm sure I wasn't alone.

I thought the fans and the (indiscernible) couldn't sleep very well because of the excitement. Well, that catches up with you a little the next day or whatever. So I don't think our on-court -- we hardly did anything on the floor. We were trying to reduce our energies and all those kind of things, watched film, all that kind of stuff. And the other thing is, like you said, human nature is people are constantly coming up and saying, hey, look at this picture of this shot, and here, this was -- and that goes on for probably a little bit longer than you want it to as a head coach, and I think that's the way it is and you've got to deal with it.

But I think it was -- as cool a moment as it was, the wow I think was because of the shot and advancing, I think our guys were pretty good in the locker room afterward, as well. It didn't seem crazy in there, didn't seem over the top, and in fact a couple of the them said let's enjoy this one tonight and let's get ready to go.

Q. There was a lot made during the last series about the shots you guys created, the shots you guys were getting, the shots that didn't go down. Was there some thought that some of those issues you could wipe the slate clean and start over?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I mean, I think for some guys, you could even actually use those exact words. You had a clean slate, some guys that weren't playing much or didn't play in a few games or whatever, that this series presents a new team, a new set of opportunities, right, a new set of issues, whatever it is.

And man, I hope we make some more of those shots. I've been saying that for a while, though. I hope we make some, and I hope we create them. As long as we're creating them, and I hope we're getting some more people involved, I think we really need to, I think we have for most of the year, and I think we've shot it for most of the year.

So again, I think -- I'm hoping, and I just think that the games that we do shoot it pretty well, our defense even gets better. The energy kind of feeds itself.

Q. Is there a key that you can easily share about the decisions your guys are going to make against Giannis, and is there something that's easy to explain, or is it --
NICK NURSE: It's certainly not above. For right now it's not an either-or. You've got to do both. We've got to climb the plain and we've got to get up. No, it's not easy at all. He and the rest of their team make it as hard probably as it is in this league. But you've got to protect the rim, you've got to protect the free throw line, don't send him to the line, and you've got to contest the shots somehow. And I think a lot of that is -- a lot of it's awareness that he's going, of where he is, and then he's downhill or whatever. And it's not just him, man, it's [Eric] Bledsoe, it's [Malcolm] Brogdon, it's George Hill, it's [Pat] Connaughton, all those guys are putting it on the deck and heading to the rim.

And we've got to help. And when you do help, they try to kick it out, and you've got to either rotate, right, to contest, or you've got to -- forget the rotation, just hustle. Sometimes it's not very perfect, the rotations, and you've just got to bust your butt and get out there. And then after that you've got to go find somebody to block out because they're crashing the boards, too.

Q. It seems like Serge's production is directly tied to how the team has played. On nights when he's played well, you guys have won. When he hasn't or the other way around, you guys have lost. What's the biggest difference you've noticed in Serge's game when he's at his best versus when he's not?
NICK NURSE: Well, Serge is -- he's a lot like a lot of guys. You know, he -- for me, again, it starts with is he protecting the rim and rebounding, using his size, that is like to me, that's what we really need him to do. That's something he should do and can do, and that's what we really need him to do.

When he does that at a high level, usually coincides with him making a few shots, getting a few put-backs, touching the ball a little bit, and I think he's not alone. I think [Marc] Gasol plays better when he has more touches. I'm not saying shots, I'm just saying -- there's something about running up and down, running up and down and you never touch it, you're kind of like, this isn't that fun. But when you touch it or have some success and that kind of spurs you and gives you energy, it's what we just talked about making some shots, that seems to give people energy, too. It's fun.

Q. How big a concern is it that they have Bledsoe and George Hill and you have one guy?
NICK NURSE: Yeah, I mean, it's a concern. I mean, they've got Bledsoe and Hill, and Connaughton, Brogdon. They're like four of the same guy. But you can only put so many out there at once. There's five of their guys and five of our guys out there.

I think it's going to be really interesting to see how this plays out as far as how the matchups go. You know, we'll -- let's say Bledsoe is out there with Kyle, on him, maybe not. Maybe Pascal [Siakam] is guarding him, his size, obviously. There's a lot of mismatch things that could happen. That's what I expect to happen because we do a lot of switching.

Q. Kind of piggy-backing off of that, you mentioned Kyle. There was some talk about his (indiscernible) the way he touches games that doesn't show up (indiscernible). When you study Milwaukee, do you see that from any of their games, this guy is winning possessions without (indiscernible) assists?
NICK NURSE: Well, I think they've got a few guys. I think if you want to look at one similarity to Kyle right away, look at [Ersan] Ilyasova. He's a big charge taker, one of the league leaders, and those are saving issues a lot of times. And a lot of guys that go get it on the glass, right. They've got a lot of hustle guys. Their system that they play with as many of the reasons that they shoot threes, a lot of long rebounds, and they've got speed to go get those things.

I've seen a lot of those guys, and I think they all would. So it's like a collective four fast athletic guards, like I just mentioned, you'll see all of them at times racing in from the corner, picking off a long rebound, kicking over, and there's another three that you thought you already stopped them on.

Q. So often during the regular season matchups we talked about Serge getting a lot of shots up just because of how the Bucks' defense kind of functions. How do you try to impart the importance of taking those shots to heart, to Serge, to open looks (indiscernible)?
NICK NURSE: Well, I think those shots will be there unless they try to change the way they play. I would imagine Pascal, Serge, (indiscernible) to a lesser degree will get all the shots they want. But I think for us, there's a fine line between taking over the shots and making them play a little on defense, and then you're taking a little bit better shot, and you mentioned spreading it around a little bit more. But I would imagine those guys are going to be stabbing out there pretty open because their system is that way.

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