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July 7, 2021

P.J. Tucker

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. Can you share some memories of your time together with Devin early on?

P.J. TUCKER: I think I shared a few of the fights and stuff we used to have. It's the Finals. I've got my whole life to talk to Devin. I don't got to talk to him right now (laughing).

Q. For you guys with the switches that you guys are doing, is there like a thought, I know Jrue sometimes will not try to give up like a soft switch. Is that a part of the discussion at all today, to try to keep you or him on Chris or Devin a little bit more?

P.J. TUCKER: We obviously like that. They are obviously picking and choosing pick-and-rolls, who they want to pick up and who they don't. It's something we've been able to navigate and try to figure out especially throughout the playoffs with Brooklyn, with Atlanta a little bit, like just figuring it out, and it's something we've got to do in this series, as well.

Jrue is really good at kind of looking like he's going to switch, and then not, and then kind of playing the game. With me, it's more aggressive, just throwing at either one or the other.

But we as a team have to figure out how we want to handle a lot of those kind of softer switches, especially with guard-on-guard.

Q. It felt like in the first half you guys were switching and helping quite a bit in the lanes, and that's something you played with Trae in the last round. Do you feel like you found the right balance at any point last night? What do you feel like it is?

P.J. TUCKER: I thought we lost, so didn't find it good enough. Something over the series you've got to figure out. Each game is different and you have to figure out each game, make your adjustments and make more adjustments and make more and just so on and so forth. That's how series goes. We haven't had a good record with first games of series, so obviously this doesn't bother us at all. But we're competitors. We want to win, and we're going to do everything we've got to do win Game 2.

Q. Do you just look at the last couple series, dropping a game early, not that you wanted to, of course, but is it, we've been here before?

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah.

Q. But there wasn't an effect there, does that make sense?

P.J. TUCKER: Yeah, it's like the saying, unsaid, like it is what it is. Yeah, like we have been here. No, we didn't want to lose but we're here now. What are we going to do about it? That's what this team does. We have guys that react, we learn. We'll figure it out.

Almost feels like each of those series where it's just like, okay, we're playing them now; we have to adjust. We're not playing the guys we were just playing, so we've got to adjust some things that, you know, in our big schemes and all the stuff our coaches come up with to fit this series and what we can do in film session and practice and everything else we're about to do today. Figure out how to get ready for tomorrow.

Q. Probably one of the better shooting nights at the rim and three-point line that you guys have had in a while. I know a lot of that, it goes in or not, but some of the looks you guys were getting and some of the shots going in, how important was that or was it frustrating that it was a good shooting night and yet the outcome didn't go your way?

P.J. TUCKER: I don't think it's either -- either way. I think, like, guys we figure out a way. We've had no offense this year and we figured out how to score; whether we're making shots or not doesn't deter or affect our game or what we do. We have so many guys that can score.

People can't discount how different it is without Giannis. It's a big deal. It is. He's a force, and so we all have to adapt, and when he went out, losing that force and everybody adapted. And now it's adapting back. It's a big deal. Like I said, it was a good adjustment to get him back, good to see him back, have him back, but adjustments made.

Q. Transition defense has been great for you guys all year but the Suns were able to get out and run last night. What have been the keys for you over the course of the season and what you need to get back to game two to limit that more?

P.J. TUCKER: Not turn the ball over. Just the way we turned it over, we gave up a few really silly ones. We get down on turnovers, we don't give up transition points. We are really good at transition.

It's just something, like I said, in a new series, figuring it out, taking our shots, getting to our spots, getting the spacing. Little things that equate to a big number, and I think they had 25 transition points. That's a lot for us. That's something we'll look to cut down.

Q. Just wondering how your experiences playing overseas, just in terms of your own journey to the Finals, how did your experiences overseas shape who you are as a person and as a player?

P.J. TUCKER: I'd say more than anything, going over there humbles you. You're here, you're like everybody is great. Everybody in the NBA is the best player on their college team and all that stuff. Then you've got to go over there and now you're like the fish out of water and you've got to figure it out, language barriers and everything. There's so much to go through.

But on the flip side, you get better as a player. If you go over there and really take it seriously, you learn the game and learn how to play there. To get a chance to come back, I learned how to be the best player on the team over there. So, in part, I learned how to be a really good role player here because I know what I need to do to help that guy.

And it doesn't make sense to a lot of people, but really, it's a big deal because you know exactly what guys need at certain times in the game and what you need in each role to try to win. It's something that I kind of hold high in my heart.

Q. Skill-wise, did you learn a certain skill? We always talk about you and shooting, but were there certain skills that played well overseas?

P.J. TUCKER: Well, more than anything you become a pro, because I was still a kid, so I became a pro and learned how to be a pro. But yeah, everything skill-wise, being able to switch one through five, guard fives, guard guards, really learn how to do it, playing the post defense, being able to deny, front, all that stuff you have to be really good at over there because the paint is so open over there, no three seconds, you can just kind of camp out. Skill and a lot of like really defined skills.

Q. I apologize because I think this is going to be the wrong word but did it surprise you how quickly they got into high/low looks for Ayton last night? Looked like they flowed into it.

P.J. TUCKER: Which they should. We gave up bad angles -- those passes, usually double teams, and so that's something that, you know, shore up as well because a lot of those shouldn't have gone through.

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