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June 28, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Game 5: Postgame

Los Angeles Clippers - 116, Phoenix Suns - 102

Q. What do you attribute to the way you guys came out and started that game with the 20-5 hole early?

MONTY WILLIAMS: No, that's -- I don't have an answer for what I attribute it to, it's just unacceptable the way we started the game. It was a big hole for us. It's pretty obvious that we can't play with a show-up mentality. We showed up in the first quarter and they played with desperation, simple and plain.

Q. You guys did make a push and took the lead in the third quarter, and had it down to four midway through the fourth. What do you think you were missing to get over that hump?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Guarding the ball, simple as that. That's basketball universal 101, you've got to be able to guard the ball. They hit some tough shots and you give them credit, they had 58 points in the paint. That's not something you would have expected, especially with them not having Zubac tonight.

So we will be better in the next game, but that's -- paramount on my mind right now is we got to play with way more force and competitive edge and we've got to guard the ball.

Q. You talked about points in the paint, [DeMarcus] Cousins, hardly playing and having that kind of impact?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Fifteen points off the bench, when you have to double guys like that, it forces you into rotations. We didn't meet them early, we let him get right to the block tonight. He got whatever he wanted for the time he was in the game and he was a presence tonight.

They played with determination. We have to realize we're trying to close out a series against a team that's been there before and they're going to claw and scratch and do whatever it takes. We have to have that mentality. I didn't feel that in the first quarter. As the game progressed we had it and then they had confidence because they were making shots.

Q. Without Zubac they played more small lineups. They went small for like 37 minutes. They actually played better with Zubac versus the small lineup. What kind of changed tonight with them having success?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I didn't think we showed them enough bodies. Even when they were in one-on-one situations, I thought we were spread out. And we looked at it at halftime and you could see nothing but paint instead of seeing Suns bodies and arms. Even when they were in isolation situations with Paul [George] and Reggie [Jackson] and [Marcus] Morris, we didn't show them enough bodies. When they have a small lineup like that, they're going to try to spread you out.

Again, it comes down to being able to guard the ball and forcing them to shoot tough shots. We let Paul go left, step back, how many times did we see that tonight? Reggie went left into his shot. There were times we were shifting too far off of Reggie and he hit some deep threes, but in that moment you have to understand that he's going to take those shots, especially late in the game.

Q. For you guys offensively the Clippers went zone to start the game. Can you assess the way you handled it early on?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I didn't think early -- we held the ball too much. That's all we talked about was, once the ball gets to the second side, take off, either shoot it or get to the paint. When we did it looked pretty good. I thought we allowed them to force us to stay on the side of the floor instead of getting over top of the screens. When you get over top of the screen versus the zone, then you can force them into rotations. We didn't do a good job of that tonight but we will. We'll be better. They will probably do the same thing, throw some defenses at us like that and we have to be better.

Q. What do you think you've learned now about closeout games as you get deeper in the playoffs?

MONTY WILLIAMS: The desperation has to be there. That's the deal. Just because you have a lead in the series doesn't mean you can show up and they're going to give it to you. We have to understand that and I think we do now. We will be better when we show up the next time we play.

But their desperation, their competitive edge tonight was consistent for 48 minutes. We did it in spurts and we certainly didn't start the game with it.

Q. What did you make of DA's play tonight?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I thought they poured a lot of bodies on DA. When he was diving he saw two bodies, three bodies at times. When he was trying to get to the offensive boards, he had two guys boxing him out and that means the corner guys can come in and get some offensive rebounds.

He had an imprint on the previous game, and they did a really good job of sending bodies to him tonight. He's going to figure that out and we'll show him on the film. When you see DA in the game like this, as much as we missed with only three offensive rebounds, I got to look at the film, but from the eye test it just looked like they sent two bodies to keep him off the glass tonight and they did a good job.

Q. Desperation isn't exactly something that you can practice for, there's no drill for it, right? So what is the switch that needs to turn on in order for your guys to really take it up a notch?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Getting your butt kicked like that should turn it on. I think our guys are feeling it right now. We have already talked about it, we'll talk about it again tomorrow, but from a competitive standpoint they got us and that should turn your switch on.

We should play Suns basketball with that edge and relentlessness every time we step on the floor. We didn't do it consistently and tonight is a reminder that you have to play 48 minutes in that mode, especially in the playoffs.

Q. Do you have any reaction to the flagrant that they called on [Patrick] Beverley and what was going through your mind when you saw Chris take that tumble?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I just, you know, some of the stuff that's happening is just, it is what it is, but when a guy does that kind of stuff consistently, what do you say as a coach? I can call the league, I can talk to the officials in the NBA, it doesn't do anything until something's done about it. Those kinds of plays are dangerous. You know what I mean? Jae gets a flagrant for touching a guy in the face. That play with Chris, I have to watch it more on the film, but we can't let those kinds of plays get into our heads.

They were physical tonight, that was an example of it, I want to watch the film before I make a declaration about that play, but they played desperate. Do I think it was a dirty play? No. But I think even when you're playing with a certain degree of aggressiveness it can come off the wrong way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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