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July 8, 2021

Devin Booker

Mikal Bridges

Phoenix Suns

Game 2: Postgame

Phoenix Suns - 118, Milwaukee Bucks - 108

Q. Book, you mentioned before Game 1 that you were more excited than nervous to be on this type of stage. When you talked in the past about visualizing these moments, has the Finals felt like that? Have you had those times where you're like this is exactly what I imagined it would be like?

DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah. To be completely honest, you know, I think the whole playoff experience helped to tone it down a bit because I feel like we have seen a lot of situations and different coverages, and we have been through it all through the regular season and stressing the details of the game. So, I think we're prepared for this moment. Obviously, Milwaukee is no slouch and they make it tough on us and they're always going to make it tougher on us, but we have seen a lot as a team.

Q. I think you started 2-for-10 and then got really hot. Just what changed, not what changed but just maybe what unlocked for you that allowed you to really get it going?

DEVIN BOOKER: Just slowed it down a bit. Early in the game just amped, excited and shooting a few things long, rushing a few shots. So just getting back to fundamentals.

Q. Devin, those three threes you hit in the fourth, Chris said this is something that you work on, you envision. Monty said you don't run from the moment. Jae said hey, if you did run from the moment, we wouldn't be here because you've done this throughout this playoff run. What allowed you to get open to hit those or maybe you even weren't open when you hit a lot of them?

DEVIN BOOKER: That's just team. Team basketball. I think a few of them were open and we prepared for these moments, like you said, nobody's running from any action or any type of moment, like you guys are saying, and it's not just me, it's 1 through 5. It's like you said, setting my man up, Deandre hitting a screen, Chris causing enough attention to get me open. So, it's all the collective group, it's team basketball and that's why I feel like we have been successful for most of the year.

Q. Devin, obviously you're young but Monty was marveling how it doesn't ever seem like there's ever a moment where you're tired. What do you think goes into just being able to play at that high motor from start to finish continuously?

DEVIN BOOKER: Just preparation, taking care of your body. There's a whole list of it. But I think the adrenaline and me and Mikal, we're some young guys, we're young and getting it and trying to get after it. So, I don't feel tired, for real.

Q. On that note are there any things over the years that you took from Kobe or Chris or any other veterans as far as things that go into kind of maximizing your health and all that?

DEVIN BOOKER: Everything. I take bits and pieces from all my mentors and preparation with diet, strength training, just making sure your body can withhold these moments, and during the regular season we're still working, even after we win a game next day in practice, we're in there getting right, making sure our bodies are right and it's not just myself, it's everybody on this team.

Q. For both you guys, how do you balance what you guys have done and being two wins away to where you are about to just go on the road after you held court, like how do you look at your situation right now?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Got to treat it like it's Game 1. We talk about it in the locker room and our next game is the most important game. That's in the regular season, that's in the playoffs, the Finals no matter what, our next game is our most important game.

So just stay locked in and we know we did what we were supposed to do here, and it's not over and we got to just got to continue doing what we're doing and keep playing our way.

Q. Is it hard not to get excited?

DEVIN BOOKER: I said before the series, I'm excited. I'm excited honestly every day I wake up and get a chance to play in the in the NBA, the league that I've been watching since I was a kid. So, I try not to lose site of that. Fortunate, both of us are grateful to be in this situation. We don't want to take it for granted. So, it's an everyday thing for us.

Q. If each of you could describe what you thought about each other's game tonight.

MIKAL BRIDGES: I'll start.

DEVIN BOOKER: "I'll start." (Laughing).

MIKAL BRIDGES: Man, just coming up huge, especially in that fourth, I told him that after the game. Just timely shots, they come in, go to the free throw line or hit a couple threes, they're making a little run, every time Book hit a three or do something, you could just tell it just melted them down. Like dang, we was right there. And I'm just like, I'm amazed too. I'm running in there trying to crash, maybe get an O board. It's going in every single time.

So, I'm just, hey, I'm just running at this point. So, it's just unbelievable and he's just -- this is what he does and he doesn't shy away from it.

DEVIN BOOKER: There was another part to that question.

MIKAL BRIDGES: Let me get my love. Let me get my love, for sure. (Laughter).

DEVIN BOOKER: No, he had it going. He takes a lot of pressure off of everybody. And the most impressive part is he's always guarding the most dynamic scorer on the other team. Middleton is not an easy matchup, and that's his matchup every night and he has to do a lot on the other end. So, for him to still have his legs, still have his focus to make the plays that he did, it takes a lot of pressure off everybody, me, Chris, Deandre. It makes it a lot easier for everybody.

Q. When Mikal was struggling in his rookie year with shooting, I remember you said everyone saw the shooter he was at Villanova and knew that player was going to come out. What's the work you've seen him put in to become this type of offensive player he is in just his third season?

DEVIN BOOKER: Just every day. You say the type of work, like I just said his focus is there every single moment. You get to the gym, Mikal's there and he's putting in extra work, he's there after. So, you know people will still try to label him as a 3-and-D guy, and I've told you guys multiple times that's not even close to his game. I think he stole a little going left fade from me a bit. I think he took that out of my book, but he gets it going. And if teams want to try to make him be the one to beat them, he'll do it.

Q. They need to start mentioning him as the third mid-range guy with you, Chris and Mikal now?

DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah. We'll talk next year. (Laughter).

Q. Mikal, to follow up on that, Monty mentioned at the beginning of last year and just like attacking closeouts for you and how important that was going to be for you, and you did that a ton tonight. Just how comfortable do you feel with that part of your game now?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Yeah, I just -- it started in college, when I came off the bench on our championship team, I wasn't shooting the ball that well and I had to figure out ways to score, and it was cutting and driving it. So, once I went to my last year of college, and I was shooting it really well, it was just a mix of everything. Sometimes I get so focused on wanting to hit that three, if I haven't touched it in a while and I just want to get one up, I think it's always, let me hit this three and get myself going.

I have my teammates and I'll give E'Twaun [Moore] a shoutout, he's the one that talks to me, I know especially in that Clippers series when I wasn't getting it going, and he was just like mix it up, try and get to the rim. And I'm like, damn, that's what I was doing and I just forgot. I was trying to just hit a three. And once I started doing that, it just opens up my game just playing off my jump shot and getting into the paint and trying to have everything, for sure.

Q. I wanted to ask you about that play late in the first half where you guys moved it around and how did you know to cut inside there, the ball was on the perimeter so long, was that just an instinct thing? And Chris was just talking about early into the season Monty telling you guys you were the worst starting unit or whatever, how do you go from that to just having the instincts like you had on that play, where it seemed like you were so connected?

DEVIN BOOKER: Just chemistry, trust, believing in your brother, believing in your teammate. We actually talked about that play right after the game, me and Mikal, and he was like, I think that was the most pumped I've ever been after a play and I was like, me too. Same here. So, when you're playing like that, it's fun. It's fun, everybody's touching it, you feel the energy of the ball. When you get it, you want to make a play for somebody else and something opens up always when it's popping and moving like that.

Q. Mikal, was there some motivation for you in, when you're hitting those shots, you hit a few from three-point range and then another jumper later. You looked over at the Bucks bench, just a little glance maybe, a little gamesmanship or just something that motivates you when you were doing that?

MIKAL BRIDGES: No, it's just fun. It's just here, you're right in the corner, hit a couple corner threes right in front of their bench, and they just, playing basketball, trying to make me miss and I just, for the fun of it, and just talking little bit. But it's all friendly, all love, just having fun out there.

Q. Mikal, there's so much fun when the ball is moving the way it was at the end of the first half on that possession, but often in this game in the second half the ball ended up in the hands of the guy to your right. What does it take to be that fearless in moments like that when Milwaukee is right on you coming back?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Shoot, it's just easier for me knowing we have a guy like Book that's going to go out there and take those shots and make them. It's sometimes easy to take shots, but it's not easy to make them all the time, especially in the fourth when they're making runs and stuff. So, that's all to Book and how he was raised and how he works on his game. He's a go-getter. He's going to shoot it and I know he will.

Q. Sometimes some of Monty's speeches, whether it's a specific player or the team, kind of get a little bit of attention when they get caught into the broadcast and I'm curious, from a player perspective, what do you, what's best for you guys in those moments, when they're short huddles, and how do you feel like Monty has kind of handled those periods of time?

DEVIN BOOKER: We trust him. If he comes in the huddle, he's developed relationships with each and everybody in the huddle. So, he can pretty much say anything. He can be brutally honest. He can let you know what's going on, but he's always supporting and he's always uplifting. That's just the type of guy he is, whether you're in the huddle or you run into him in the hallway, whether -- it doesn't turn off, that's the type of character he has. So, that makes it a lot of fun to play for a man like that and those relationships, those personal relationships help him, I think, control the culture, control the environments that we're in.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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