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July 1, 2021

Bobby Portis

Milwaukee Bucks

Game 5: Postgame

Milwaukee Bucks 123, Atlanta Hawks 112

Q. Bobby, I know we talked to you quite a bit after Game 3 about what it's like to be here and all that, but now that we're talking to you after a home game, I mean, they are chanting your name all night long.

BOBBY PORTIS: Yeah (smiling).

Q. And what do you think is behind that and what do you make of it?

BOBBY PORTIS: Milwaukee's a tough city. You know, some people at the start of the season -- they were telling us all about the city and how tough it is to live here and things like that, and you know, the city goes through a lot.

So, when they see somebody that gives his all and works hard, because it's a blue-collar city and I'm a blue-collar player, I'm going to make the shots whether they are going in or not, I still give my all to the team 100 percent, for the name in front of the jersey and they love players like that. It's just fun, man, to go out there and play this game, and have the home-court advantage, as well, and just get them involved just so we can have that home-court advantage.

Q. I know you said on other occasions you had more lucrative offers. What's it like, this playoff atmosphere?

BOBBY PORTIS: Great. Coming here was one of the best decisions for my career. I started my career kind of shaky, up and down, a lot of highs, a lot of lows, as well, and when you first come to the NBA, you don't really understand the journey. You just come from college, I was the best player on my team, Player of the Year, All-American, All-American high school, so when I first got to the league, I wasn't playing a lot. Didn't really understand and kind of lost myself a little bit, but I fought my way in. Played some. Went through a lot of altercations and things like that.

But the journey is what makes it sweet, man, in the NBA. You really can't put a tab on that. Coming here, man, was the best decision, like I said, of my career, having good veterans like Giannis and Brook to coach me up on how to be a two-way player on the defensive end and things like that and guys like Khris and Jrue, who are unselfish that can pass the ball and still trust me to shoot my shots; and having coaches, Coach Bud and Coach [Darvin] Ham and all the coaching staff that just believe in me. It was a great decision on that, too.

Q. When I watch you play, it feels like joy. What does it feel like?

BOBBY PORTIS: Finally found peace, man. I'm at peace with myself and at piece in my life and at peace with everything going on around. I was just always trying to find it again, and really couldn't find it. But having great teammates and great coaches. And the pandemic, like I said, really helped me find out more about myself more than anything.

Being at home for nine for 10 months straight, watching guys on TV play in the bubble, not being able to go there really hurt. Being home with my mom was actually fun, as well, getting to spend time with her. But knowing I love the game, just had to sit out a lot and wait my time. But I got a chance to really work on my game a lot. So that kind of helped me prepare for the moment. But at the same time, it still hurt.

Q. You're someone that obviously plays very aggressive on the glass, getting to do everything in the paint. What did you think of Jrue's start and then Brook’s overall performance?

BOBBY PORTIS: You see that dunk Brook had? That was crazy. We were talking about it. I don't know, man. That was -- he dunked it so hard. Like that was crazy, too. I didn't think he had a chance of even catching that.

But I think guys don't even understand how athletic Brook is to do the things he does. He's a great basketball player, but that dunk right there, I was at the top of the key and I saw him coming and I thought, wait, that's out-of-bounds, and he dunked it. That was a special moment. Got the crowd really, really hyped, too, and from there, it was our game.

Q. The series was tied. It's 3-2, one game away, I know you try to stay in the moment, goes without saying, but how important was it to not just bounce back but to do it at home?

BOBBY PORTIS: To be at home, you've got to take care of home. You've got to take care of the home-court advantage, man. I think the pressure is more on the home team to win. Road team coming in, okay, go home and try to win at home again.

But we had to win the game, and knowing that the situation we were in, one of the best players in the world went down on our team. So other guys had to step up and guys stepped up and played their role to a T. It was fun. Crowd was involved from the start. Got a chance to go out there and play basketball that we love.

Q. You've talked about taking advantage of every opportunity you've been given, but starting in the Eastern Conference Finals when Giannis is out, what did that mean to you?

BOBBY PORTIS: I was just trying to stay locked in. Like I said coming here was a good decision for me. When you're on a losing team, like I said, man, you kind of take the moment for granted when you're just out there playing and try to get established.

But when I came here, guys like Khris are always on me about boxing out on rebounds and things like that. Coach Bud is always on me about the low man. Giannis is always on me about me shooting the shots, not pump faking. So, guys really trust in me, and having guys like that, it just makes it much more fun to play the game.

Knowing that Giannis went down, we had to step up. I think that's what makes the game that much better when you have to stay locked in and stay in the moment and be ready. I didn't play the last couple games in the Brooklyn series, but I didn't pout. I just kept working and knew my time would come. I always just believe if you do the things the right way and you do right, it always comes back around. The cream always rises to the top. I just tried to stay in the moment and be a team guy and I give all the credit to my teammates and Coach for just trusting me.

Q. This is your first playoff start. When did he tell you the news, when did Bud tell you, and what was your reaction?

BOBBY PORTIS: I worked out yesterday in the gym, and they were kind of hinting around to it, but I didn't really think I was going to start. Then came to shootaround this morning and we did our film and Coach said, "You're going to start."

I said, "Cool, I'm ready to go out and start."

It was fun, though, man, but still got one more game. I'm a big-time believer in the 12 o'clock rule; when 12 o'clock comes, then it's on to the next one.

Q. You talked about Brook being more athletic than people realized and the dunk that he had. How would you describe kind of what got into him tonight?

BOBBY PORTIS: Brook's a beast. You know, the games that Giannis sat out this year -- Brook, he went crazy in all those games that we played and had monster numbers in those games. You know, we all know what we've got in Brook, he protects the rim and plays hard. He's a team guy. He's fun to play with, man. He's a joy to be alongside.

So what got into him is him just being himself, and knowing that the situation that we were in and he wasn't going to let the team down.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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