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July 6, 2021

Mike Budenholzer

Milwaukee Bucks

Game 1: Pregame

Q. Giannis was upgraded earlier this afternoon. What went into that and what are your thoughts on him playing tonight?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, you know, I think the word we've used is he's making progress. He did some work on court. We'll take a second and listen to him in the back, listen to the medical, listen to the Sports Performance Group and update if there's any changes or when it's appropriate. Yeah, that's it.

Q. So as of now, it's still up in the air whether he can go tonight?


Q. We've seen a couple times in these playoffs guys come back, like Trae Young, who couldn't do what the team needed them to do physically. Whenever, if ever Giannis gets back, with all the things he does, are you confident he'll be able to, even if he can't, say, score, he can still rebound or do something to help you guys out?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: For sure. He impacts the game so many different ways. I think obviously to get clearance, he's going to have to demonstrate that he can rebound, block a shot, do all those things. The way he scores, and his skills are very unique, and so yeah, a lot of confidence that he's going to be able to impact winning in a really positive way whenever it is that he plays.

Q. Given your connection to this state, who from your family is going to be here tonight and how much have you thought about coming back here, coaching your first Finals game, and were you a Suns fan as a kid?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I guess I'd better start with the one at the end, yes, I was a Suns fan growing up. Is this the Al McCoy room? If it's not, I want to spend some time there. I listened to him on the TV and radio, great, fond memories of watching the Suns and Walter Davis and Paul Westphal, and you can go on and on.

So, yes, was a big Suns fan growing up. My mom and dad will be here, pretty cool, lots of brothers and sisters and all that stuff, my kids. It's just like every other player. Every player is going to have family here. It's cool it's in Arizona, it's special, but it's special for all the players and it's special for anybody who gets to play at this stage of the season, this stage of the playoffs. It's exciting.

Q. Obviously, Deandre is a big part of what they have done this postseason. How can Brook affect the way that he plays does and also still be an impact player at the rim?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Brook has been incredibly important to us, his versatility. I think there's lots of ways that we're hopeful that he can impact us defensively, offensively. Ayton has been playing off the charts.

So a ton of respect for what he's done and how he's impacting their winning. So, you know, we're excited to see Brook and really what he can do on both ends.

Q. When you guys acquired Jrue, a big part of the reason for that was what he does on the defensive end. How much more comfort do you have with a challenge like Chris Paul and Devin Booker knowing that you have Jrue Holiday?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, his defensive abilities and talents are special. You know, obviously Paul and Book are two very, very gifted guards that do a lot of things, so you have to have great defenders. Having Jrue as one of those guys that can guard both Booker and Paul and throw P.J. Tucker, throw Giannis, throw our bigs at him, those guys are going to see a little bit of everybody.

Jrue is one of those guys in the starting group that you can put on one of them. It feels like it gives you a chance for sure.

Q. Jrue has been physical defensively and both Chris and Devin are great at drawing fouls and getting guys into foul troube. How much of an emphasis has that been in the lead-up to this game?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, I think our guys are tired of us talking about the pump fake. Every round, it seems like every team in the playoffs has somebody that's great at it, that's crafty, that gets to the free throw line.

So certainly these two guys, Booker and Paul, are both -- and they have got different ways that they get to the free throw line, so we try to create awareness. We talk about it -- luckily it's something we talk about all year and something we try and do at a high level, and these guys make you do it at a high level. Your awareness has to be really good.

Q. Curious about the preparation for a big game like the Finals, how much you want it to be like a regular playoff game?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, it's a fine line that you've got to walk. For us we feel like we just played on Saturday and relatively short turnaround, which we are hoping is a positive, just keep it clean and put our guys in a place to go play and compete and grow and get better as the series goes on.

But I think certainly feel like they are ready for Game 1, and you know, heck of a team, heck of a series, I'm sure.

Q. How much does Khris Middleton accept the challenge of being the lead singer, so to speak, whenever Giannis doesn't play?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, you know, Khris is just -- I don't know if lead singer is ever -- he's the greatest, whatever role. He just accepts and does whatever it takes to win. If we need a little bit more from him without Giannis, you know, he's accepting of that responsibility. If we need more of him when Giannis is playing, he's accepting of that responsibility.

He's just a guy with -- he takes whatever we need and usually delivers. He has just a very quiet way of doing it that's special, that helps him be prepared for whatever we need.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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