June 20, 2021
Game 1: Postgame
Phoenix Suns 120, Los Angeles Clippers 114
Q. You've done quick turnarounds already in the playoffs but there were times I saw you hunched over, looking like you were trying to catch your breath. Not to make excuses but in that fourth quarter you were close. Did fatigue come into play at all?
REGGIE JACKSON: Yeah, no excuses. A little tired but playing every other day, you've got to play the cards that we're dealt. So it's going to be an every-other-day series. We're built for it. We're not going to make excuses. We're going to find a way. We're going to go back, get our rest, watch some film. Got a hungry team over there. Got another great team over there. So ain't going to discredit them. They played extremely well. They played hard even without their floor general. We are going to be ready whatever lineup they throw at us and make sure we make adjustments and get our rest and come out in this tough environment, tough building and try to get one of these games or get one in Game 2.
Q. The challenge of Booker, how is he different from Donovan or Doncic? He had a triple-double today.
REGGIE JACKSON: He played with the ball but he does a great job playing off the ball whether it be off ball screens, getting himself open, really, really good in the mid-range. The other two, really three-ball and to the rim guys. They are all three-level scorers. He's honestly a three-level scorer. It's hard when you put so much pressure coming downhill and then he pulls up. He's the complete package. We have to find a way to bottle him up. We did a pretty good job in the fourth. Got a little loose early. Have to figure out our defensive coverages. Like I said, go watch film and try to figure out a way to slow him down but he's a great player in this league for a reason..
Q. You have faced a lot of big guys this postseason. Ayton and what he brings, how do you compare that to Booker?
REGGIE JACKSON: Really, really good player who has come into his own. Tries to command the paint as much as he can and he's not going to let anybody off the hook. So we have to make sure we hit him early, hit him early and often, keep him off the glass. Had a few breakdowns defensively with our rotations. I know myself personally, had some, allowed him to get going early. He has great hands so when he catches it, he's off the ground quick so we have to make sure we can meet him before he gets his momentum going and then just trust our rotations.
It's going to be a lot of film watching and a lot of collective thoughts, guys getting together, figuring out how we are going to combat what they did today so we can come out with a win in Game 2.
But they played great and he played great. He commanded the paint and made sure they got some second-chance points. Even when we let up on him, they had other guys crashing the boards, whether it be Bridges, Crowder, Cam Johnson. They present a challenge but that's what we love. We love to be tested. They got Game 1. Hats off to them. We are going to refocus, recover, rest, and figure out a way to get Game 2.
Q. With Marcus obviously at halftime, he's not right, comes out; did he say anything to you guys about what he wanted to see from you guys with the bigger lineup in the second half?
REGGIE JACKSON: Yeah, he's been one of our leaders all year. His whole thing was he didn't take any pity on himself. He was more involved and engaged in what we had going on as a team. He was honest about going out there as a team to compete and give ourselves a chance. Unfortunately didn't get it tonight but it was very selfless, very selfless. Played with him in before in Detroit. Proud to be his teammate and see the maturation. This team has been a relentless group, a resilient group and selfless group and we are here for a reason. We have to go back, figure out how we can do better from this game, move on to Game 2 and hopefully we have as many guys as possible healthy. Kawhi, hopefully everything is going well with him, taking care of himself. We know we have bumps and bruises but we don't want to drop anybody else hopefully. Marcus is going to be good. I'm confident he'll be ready to go. Game 2, we'll all be ready and we'll figure this thing out.
Q. You've adapted really well this, kind of the story of how you've gotten here. Why has this group been so good at that? What do you do between the end of this game and the next time you guys gather to put ideas together?
REGGIE JACKSON: I think we've been able to adapt because I think we've grown into our roles. We've embraced our roles. We hold each other accountable for your role. Really we all know we have one goal, so we walk in each and every day no matter what we have going on, we know we have one goal. Guys want to be better individually but we know it's about coming together collectively and doing anything it takes to find a win. Next Man Up mentality, we've had it all year, and I think that's why guys have been able to adapt or our team has been able to adapt.
This team presents a different challenge. From this game, like I said, we have to figure out how to be better. Myself, I think we only had nine turnovers, I had five, so I have to protect the ball better, allow us to get shots and not waste possessions. We know the playoffs is a game of possessions. I think it was like a five-point game, I know it was under ten, and that's five turnovers, that's five shots and that's potentially 15 points we don't get. So I have to help give ourselves a better chance and definitely figure out how we'll be better. I think we'll be ready in Game 2 to make our rotations to close out quicker. We know they got a lot of open looks. We gave them some comfortability and we have to try to smother them the next game.
Q. Obviously guys would like Kawhi on the floor but what's he been able to provide behind the scenes?
REGGIE JACKSON: Leader. Big brother. Leader. A guy who still has confidence in his team. We know he's battling what he's the battling, and he's doing everything he can to get back with us. He's been here in spirit. He's been here vocally. He's been with the team. He's making sure we're good and giving us his best wishes. Still checking in. Keeping up-to-date. Like I said, he's doing everything he can to still have an impact on this team while he's away and doing everything he can to make sure he gets back as fast as possible. We would love to have him. It's unfortunate, injuries, any time. Not just us, throughout the entire league, it's been tough for injuries. But nobody's made excuses. Like I said, until he gets back, we have to have a Next Man Up mentality. We just have to figure out a way to be better. I'll take this one on the chin. Guys played well.
Like I said, I had five turnovers. I can't do that and I think I had three or four in the fourth. When you need baskets when it was a tie game, I did a poor job of allowing us to get shots and giving ourselves a chance. I've got to be better. I'll be better the next game and we'll come out with a tremendous amount of fight again and in Game 2 we'll do everything we can to give ourselves the best chance to come out victorious in this hostile environment.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports