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June 24, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Game 3: Postgame

Clippers 106, Suns 92

Q. How would you sum up the play out there tonight?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It was typical playoff desperation by them. We didn't play with the desperation necessary to win a game like that consistently. That's how I would sum it up.

Offensively tonight, we weren't sound at all. You look at the point totals in the first, third and fourth, they played good defense tonight, but we didn't run our offense the way that we have been running it for most of these playoffs. They played with a great deal of desperation. 50-50 balls, attacking the offensive glass, attacking the rim -- they played hard in every segment of the game. We didn't play as hard consistently, and so you have to tip your hat to them. They brought it tonight for more of the 48 minutes than we did.

Q. Just your assessment of Chris and how he looked tonight.

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, it was his first game back. You could see it, some flashes of it. I thought I played him too much. He probably got tired. But it hurt us when Cam Payne couldn't come back, so I left Chris out for a longer stretch. That's on me.

But I think if he practices more and plays more -- he hasn't done much in 10 days -- I think he'll be much better in the next game from a conditioning standpoint.

Q. In that third quarter it was the most you have had outscored in any quarter this postseason. What did you see then?

MONTY WILLIAMS: They came out in that third quarter and just brought it. Our guys were talking about their level of play in the timeouts. Everybody knew it; we just didn't match their force. Like I said, you have to give them credit. We have to understand that, playing against a team that was going to play with that kind of effort every quarter. We've been pretty good in third quarters, so that was a bit surprising for us.

They threw a punch, and now we've got to counter with another punch and make sure we bring the effort and execution in the next game.

Q. For Cameron, any sense of how this would affect him moving forward?

MONTY WILLIAMS: No, I don't. We'll see. He tried to come back, and it just wouldn't allow him to get back out on the floor. I'll get more of an update when I go in the back.

Q. Coach, with Booker, how much of it was an off-night, and how much was the mask?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's hard to say. He won't make excuses about that. There were stretches where we as a team, the ball just didn't pop around the gym the way that it would typically pop around the gym. For Book, those kinds of shooting nights don't happen often. He and Chris both -- Chris was probably more conditioning and first time getting back out there. There was a lot of attention on Book, a lot of hands on him. So those guys will adjust.

Q. Along those same lines, they've put Beverley on Booker a lot more the last couple games. What have they done that's so effective, kind of making Booker inefficient?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's hard to say. Patrick is a really good defender. We know that. But there were times when Book just missed a shot. I'll look at the film. He's physical for sure; that can wear a guy down. We have to do a much better job of having more balance in our offense. If you look at the point totals, a lot of our stuff came late in the clock. That's not how we've been playing most of the playoffs.

Tip your hat to Beverley. He plays really good defense. He's aggressive. But when I look at the film, I'll bet you'll just see Book miss some shots.

Q. You mentioned before the game that there were some things that popped up in Game 2 that you were like those are the things we need to pick up. Was it the same things that popped up again?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yes. We had difficulty in our switches. Paul [George] had a dunk at the end of the second quarter; we didn't communicate the switch properly. Another example was we helped off Kennard on a drive. We had the drive under control, we went and helped, kicked it to him and he gets a three. Those were things we talked about. Our guys don't have the excuse of being young anymore. We've won playoff series. We know what it takes, and now we've got to go out and do it.

We'll look at the film. We'll see the things we didn't do well. We'll try to strengthen the things we do well. And we'll come back better in the next game.

Q. Should Deandre have been more forceful in calling for the ball with Devin and Chris having such off nights shooting, or should Devin and Chris have done more incorporating him? He had a really hot first quarter, but then he faded.

MONTY WILLIAMS: We as a team can do a better job of getting D.A. the ball. That's on me. Whether we post him up or hit him more as he's diving to the basket. They were taking him out more. I thought we tried to force it a few times, trying to make interior passes when the corners were wide open. That's something we'll look at and try to fix for the next game.

Q. Because of what the Clippers did the last two rounds, what kind of themes are you seeing in terms of how they do manage to hit back?

MONTY WILLIAMS: They play with a great deal of desperation in these situations. Our guys expected it, but I don't think we dealt with it well. We knew what they were going to do. We knew they were going to come out at halftime with more force, and we just didn't match it. On the road, you have to exceed it.

So we've watched them for a while. We respect what they do, and we'll be better next game.

Q. Devin had two rough shooting nights in the first round against the Lakers. He then got hot right away. Is he a guy you talk to at all in these situations, or is it just that ball is going to go in and you trust it?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Both. I'll talk to him. We'll look at the film and see opportunities to either knock it down or trust your teammate. But I also know that it's going to come because he works too hard, you know what I mean? And he's been in these situations, as you alluded to, throughout the playoffs.

We'll watch the film tomorrow. I'll sit and talk with him and Chris and try to see opportunities for us to be more efficient on offense.

Like I said, I thought the ball stuck too much. We didn't move it around the gym. When we did, when we touched the paint and moved it to the corner, we got open looks. We didn't always make it, but they're putting a lot of hands on him. They're showing him a lot of bodies, speaking of Book, and guys have got to be ready to make plays when he gets off of them.

Q. Do you remember what you told him?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Same thing I told all of our guys. Go out there and hoop. Don't forget who you are. I don't want our guys thinking out there. We put structure out there, and I want our guys to use their gifts within our system. But I told our guys to hoop, and they seem to respond well to it.

Q. Do you sense a little frustration in Jae Crowder, just the way he defends, the things you ask him to do defensively, just the way he tries to get up in somebody and then the fouls?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I think so. The one thing we can't do is allow the officials to mess with our mental stamina. I see him pushing off out there. We all see it. That's not something that anybody would sit in this room and say they don't push off to get open. Jae is getting frustrated with that, but we've got to rise above it.

Q. Is it hard not to be frustrated when you get Chris back and the timing is such that Cam can't finish this game?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's one game. We'll re-evaluate how we're going to attack them. We hope Cam can get back on the floor in the next game. Like I said earlier, it was hard on Chris because I had to leave him out there for a longer stretch. During that stretch in the third, they made a run. So I left him out there longer, and that was a tough spot for me to put E'Twaun in.

Not having Cam to spell Chris put us in a bit of a bind, so hopefully he can come back and play in the next game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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