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July 6, 2021

Mikal Bridges

Phoenix Suns

Game 1: Postgame

Phoenix Suns 118, Milwaukee Bucks 105

Q. You've seen Chris do what he does, but what was it like seeing that in Game 1 of the Finals?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Just know he's ready. He prepares his whole life for this moment, and it shows out there on the court. Puts in a lot of hard work and sacrifice and takes care of his body. You know he really wants to be here.

So just happy to see him go out there, but this is what we -- CP3, man. We know he can do this every game. Happy he did it in Game 1 and helped us get this win. We're going to need him for the next one.

Q. You guys had 20 points in transition. Was that just a mindset or was that something else that led to you guys scoring that much in transition?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Just locking in defensively, getting stops. We all are unselfish and we play fast, so once we get the stop, we just run out and I know for sure if I'm out, they're going to find me. I just start running, even if I'm tired.

Just a team effort, getting stops and getting out.

Q. When Chris and Devin are going like that offensively, it and seems like they're able to pick apart whatever the defense is doing. What does that do for the confidence of the team when the offense can vibe like that?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Amazing. It just opens up everything, I think. Just for other guys out there, we're spacing and stuff. It opens it up for us to get opportunities. If they start helping toward Book and CP, and then we get shots.

For us, just having that mindset to stay ready and be ready at all times because C and Book, they'll find you. That's a great thing about them is that they could go score whenever they want, but they know that they can read defenses and if they're overhelping, they're going to get us looks.

Q. You've obviously played at the highest level in college, playing in two national championship games. How does this feel similarly or differently?

MIKAL BRIDGES: No, it's different. It's the NBA Finals. It's a lot different. But I was talking about it earlier today, I think the only thing that I was really ready for was the media. I think being in a Final Four, that media thing is crazy. It's just a lot harder than being on the court.

So I think I was trained. Coach (Jay) Wright got us trained, especially going there a couple times helps. Doing that and now going to this media, it makes it way easier for me.

Q. For you coming out and scoring the way you did tonight, offensively in the Clippers series maybe not your best performance. What unlocked for you tonight to kind of get that going?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Just being aggressive. The Clippers' defense as well, they did a great job limiting everybody else and kind of making us play one-on-one.

But just being ready, man. I know I struggled that series. I just knew I put a lot of work in, and I was going to get ready to get another opportunity, another team and another big stage, the biggest stage, and just being ready.

Q. What does it say about this team for so many guys who have never been on this stage before to perform at the level that they did tonight?

MIKAL BRIDGES: It just shows that we're just together. I think that's the biggest thing. Jae's the only one, but just together as a team. We're all going to go through it. Win together, lose together, we're all going to be together. I think just us being so close and knowing that obviously this is our first time, but nothing changes on the court. Still the same basketball. Still the same rules, same court, same rims. There's no difference. It's just at the highest stage and, like people say, a little bit more pressure. It's higher stakes. Everybody wants to win.

So just being together and knowing that it's still basketball at the end of the day.

Q. Was something said tonight maybe by Chris or Monty that drove home or reminded you guys of that togetherness?

MIKAL BRIDGES: No, it's just every day. We preach it every day. It's never just, okay, let's be together. It's known that we're together and we show it. We don't fake it. We don't try to be together. It's just natural every time we see each other. We're a family. I love these guys. We're just happy we won today. Got to keep getting better and get ready for Game 2.

Q. Wanted to ask you about the assignment of defending Khris Middleton and that challenge and how you felt you did tonight.

MIKAL BRIDGES: Yeah, like I said earlier, yesterday, he's an Olympian. I don't know what else you want me to tell you. He's tough. He's an unbelievable player. Just try to make it tough for him. Doing a lot of scouting and watching film. Just trying to make it tough, knowing his tendencies.

I think I did okay today. Just trying to make it difficult on him, that's all.

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

MIKAL BRIDGES: That's what we need. Every time he scores or he's subbing in for me, I tell him, like, just be ready, let's go. He subbed in, got a quick three and I was hyped up and just telling him right off the bench, I like it. He just kept going with it, defending.

So that's my brother out there. I'm happy for him. We finally got a minute, maybe 20 seconds being on the court together, so that's pretty cool.

Q. Were you surprised at how often they were just kind of switching everything and even letting Chris just kind of take jumpers against their bigs?

MIKAL BRIDGES: No, we watched them in the Atlanta series toward the end and they were 1 through 5 switching. So we knew that was a possibility that they were going to do that, and they did. We just got guys like Book and CP3 that just keep making plays. I'm happy they're on our team, on my team. I'm just happy.

Q. In the fourth quarter Milwaukee played Giannis at center almost exclusively. Do you feel like you guys have to attack them differently when they're giving you that look defensively or is it more similar to what you guys were doing in the first half?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Yeah, just playing our ball. We've seen every look you could think of with blitzing Book and CP3 or being up high or being in a drop or ready 1 through 5 or doing a hit. So we've seen it all and we just get prepared and we know what we have to do in those situations and just everybody being ready.

Q. When Milwaukee cut it to seven, what was the feeling with your group and then what do you think allowed you to close it out?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Togetherness. Just being together. It's basketball, man; gave up a run. It's a game of runs. They had their run and we just had to stick together and know don't let them push it. And we got guys that make plays. I think Cam Payne during that stretch had like five straight points. I think it was during that stretch. But we got guys -- Book hit a three, I know.

So just staying together, just playing. We know they made a run. You can't get overhyped. You got to relax, calm down and get ready to make a play out of the timeout.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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