July 5, 2021
Q. The Eastern Conference Finals was a first for you, now the Finals is a first. I know you have goals, but have you taken time to just take it all in?
BOBBY PORTIS: I think yesterday is when it finally hit me. After the game on Saturday, I was just so pumped up and so thrilled still that we got the victory and that the series is over and that we're moving on to the Finals, I didn't get a chance to just decompress and just sit down and just think about it. When I got on the plane yesterday and got to the hotel room and I was actually by myself for a change, that's when it hit me. Yeah, like we're the Finals now, and it was a big accomplishment.
But like you said, it's a first for me. First time in the playoffs in four years too, so being able to get a chance to go about each round and compete in every series and get to this point with this amazing group of guys is great.
Q. Getting to the Finals is not just a first for you. Every player on this roster has never been to the Finals before. What's it like being able to experience this together?
BOBBY PORTIS: It's great. I think this NBA season has been great. With all the COVID testing we had to do, all the protocols we had to follow and things like that, and being around these guys more than basically my family, we've become brothers and become really, really close. So, getting a chance to compete for a championship knowing that all the hard work we put in through training camp and the highs and lows of the NBA season and things like that to get to this point, it's a special moment.
Q. The first two games in this series are in Phoenix. When you're in Milwaukee, you're so used to all those "Bobby!" chants to get you going. What are you going to do on the road to continue to motivate yourself and get your energy up?
BOBBY PORTIS: Just stay together knowing that every possession matters, being together, staying in the moment, just trying to burn the motor out. Ain't no tomorrow. We've got seven games to win four, and I'm just trying to blow the motor out and go as hard as I can and get them all.
Q. Bobby, you guys obviously switch a lot defensively and just had that task of handling Trae last series. I'm curious, how does it shift from handling him to Chris and Devin and sort of the differences in their offensive games?
BOBBY PORTIS: Trae has the ball a lot in his hand. Like you said, in the last series they come off the pick-and-roll. Guys will roll, we'll switch and he'll attack the bigs wherever it is. I think the biggest thing with this series, when we switch on these guys, they'll throw it across the court and back up to half-court and charge at you.
So not trying to foul and get in foul trouble, knowing that Chris Paul and Devin Booker are great guys that can make you foul them and get you in foul trouble.
Q. Welcome to Phoenix. Just P.J. Tucker, just the leadership, what he provides, just a guy who's had quite a career and getting his chance here the Finals like everybody else. Just tell me about what you get out of him.
BOBBY PORTIS: Toughness. He brings that mental physicality that you need to win in the league. All guys, all teams need a guy like him on your roster that do all the little things. It's just not about scoring with him, whether he's making shots or missing them. He's the same way every day. Brings that dog to the team, brings that toughness that every team needs, like I said, getting all the loose balls, fighting for the offensive rebounds, coming out of the corners and getting rebounds, things like that. Always gets a big rebound every game.
He does all the little things for our basketball team that we really, really need, and he's great in his role. He plays it to a T.
Q. What is the advantage for your team this series against the Suns? And at this point, how special is that moment for you to be in the NBA Finals and you are four wins away from the championship?
BOBBY PORTIS: I think some of the advantages we have is we're a big team, just pounding the ball inside, like we did last series. We tried to own the paint last series. I think that's going to be a big emphasis for us.
This moment is special. Growing up as a kid watching KG [Kevin Garnett] versus Kobe in the Finals, LeBron all those years and things like that, so being able to be a kid from Little Rock, Arkansas, being able to represent myself, my team, this organization, my family, and my state on the biggest stage in basketball is remarkable, man.
All the hard work I put in, being able to be in the NBA Finals is a dream come true, and it's a special moment.
Q. Congratulations on making it to the Finals. How important will it be for the team to set the tone from the start of the game, and what do you think will be the keys of this series?
BOBBY PORTIS: Coming into the game with the right mindset. Obviously playing on the road and winning on the road is a big deal. You always want to get at least one. So being locked in from the jump, following the game plan, following what Coach wants us to do, everybody being on one accord and going out there and just giving it their all.
Like I said, man, there isn't any tomorrow. We've got seven games to win four, so I think everybody has to blow the motor out, go as hard as they can, stay locked in on the task at hand.
What was the second question again?
Q. About the keys of the series.
BOBBY PORTIS: I think the biggest keys of the series is guys staying out of foul trouble. Not falling for some of the tactics they're going to do. Obviously, they do a good job of getting the refs involved and getting people in foul trouble and staying on their game. Just staying locked in. We know not falling into some of the tactics they want to do and just being who we are every day. Everybody playing their role, playing with confidence, playing with swag, and going out there and just enjoying the moment.
Obviously, when you get to this stage in basketball, some guys don't live in the moment, and I think it's big for us to live in the moment, take it one game at a time, one possession at a time, and go out there and just give it our all.
Q. Phoenix and you guys rely a lot on your second units. How much of a key is this matchup between second units?
BOBBY PORTIS: It's big, man. Obviously, me, Bryn, Jeff and Pat, we're the catalysts of the second unit. We have to come in and be ourselves and come in and bring some energy to the game, some scoring and things like that. So, I think it's going to be very vital to help out the starting lineups and things like that.
They do a good job on their end too with Cameron Payne and Saric and those guys. Cam Johnson as well coming off the bench and scoring the basketball and bringing some energy to the game.
I think whoever has the most energy and plays with the most effort is going to win these games. That's what it's really going to come down to. Obviously, it's July. Guys have been playing since December, and it was a short offseason last year. I think whoever is the most conditioned, the most well rounded, and the most energetic team is going to obviously come out victorious.
Q. Every single series that you all have gone through has been different, first Miami, Brooklyn, Atlanta. How did those battles prepare you for what you're going to face against the Suns?
BOBBY PORTIS: I think it prepared us well. Obviously, Miami, they're a tough-minded team. They bring the physicality to the game, try to dog you out. They play hard, play physical. Brooklyn, they're a different team. They play small ball. They had three of the best players in the world on one team. The Hawks were a young team that's going to be a tough team for years to come, and this team, they have a Hall of Famer in Chris Paul that's led young guys to the Finals.
So obviously, each series has been different, but for us, we've just tried to be ourselves and follow the game plan that Coach has put in place for us in every series, and it's worked so far. I think, if we just follow our game plan, everybody comes in, be themselves, and I think everything will fall in our favor if we just play with swagger and play with confidence.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports