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July 10, 2021

Mike Budenholzer

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. I know it's not exactly the same situation, but a month ago you guys were down 0-2 to the Nets coming back home. Does it help at all that you've been through this before in these playoffs and come out the other side of it and advance?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah. I think during the regular season you do things that you reference. You build habits, some things that you can lean on. So your playoff experience, your playoff journey, I think we're all human. At the end of the day, it doesn't mean anything, but we're always trying to learn and grow and you just have those reference points. We know we got to play well going into tomorrow night's Game 3.

Q. Did Giannis make it through the postgame and the days off healthy? I know he had some bumps and bruises last game.

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: He's in a good place, yes.

Q. As you look at these last two games, you mentioned, obviously it starts defense first. But offensively, do you think there were moments of falling kind of back into some of the isolation or the one-on-one type stuff that maybe you saw in some of the other series at times where the ball kind of stopped and stopped moving? And if so, is that an emphasis going forward a little bit?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think our ball movement can be a little bit better, getting to second actions and multiple actions and plays and moving people. It's something that's good. You play against a good defensive team, I think we need a little bit of that.

Q. You've mentioned Jon Horst's name a couple times over the last two series. I wanted to know about your working relationship with him a little bit and maybe the atmosphere that he's created to allow you guys to put the team together as it is.

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, he's the most incredible partner. I can't imagine a better GM probably. I guess most importantly, he does an amazing job at his job of putting together the team, whether it's making trades, drafting, free agency. He's just incredible at what he does. And then his openness and willingness to have conversations, to be inclusive, his staff, the coaching staff, the players, his relationship with our players, his relationship with our owners. GM is a job that I don't think everybody understands all the things that come underneath that hat. I think he does them all at an incredibly high level, and I'm just beyond appreciative of being a part of what he's put together.

Q. Who do Booker and Paul remind you of that you've played against this season?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Booker and Paul (laughing). No, I know I'm being a jerk. I am probably not great at this, kind of trying to compare and stuff. And they're unique. Chris Paul's been around a long time, so you kind of have seen and experienced him at different levels, including playoff series and things like that. Booker is relatively young, but he's put his stamp on our league at a very young age. They're very good players. I'm having a hard enough time trying to figure out how to guard those two. I can't come up with a good comparison for you.

Q. Along the lines of Chris Paul, you can't take away everything that he's good at that he wants to do, but what are the things that you're willing to concede? Is it the contested jump shots? Is it if he scores 30 but the ball sticks? Are there things that you're just willing to concede from an offensive standpoint with him?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I don't think any coach is going to say concede. But I think it is, at the same breath, every coach is probably going to say it's hard to take everything away. So I think if he's having to take tough shots, if we're making the shots that he's creating for his teammates difficult, that's kind of the mindset: Can we make everything hard on Chris Paul? Can we make everything hard on them? There's been stretches when we have done that well, and there's been stretches where we need to be a lot better. But I think just hopefully trying to make it harder on him, make him uncomfortable, which is easier said than done.

Q. What's the first thing you want your team to get much better at Game 3? What's the first thing on your mind?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think we just got to play. I just want the guys to come and play. We feel like we can play better on both ends of the court. I want them to be free. I want them to compete and play. It's not one thing that's going to -- basketball is a lot of individual moments, things happening on both ends of the court. You got to win some of those battles, some of those 50/50 balls. You got to be good in transition defense, keeping them off the free throw line, getting back and contesting shooters. There's so many things that go into winning, playing fast and all those things. So I just want our guys to come and play. That's the most important thing for us.

Q. Can you talk about Jrue Holiday and the impact he has on your team, especially on defense.

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think having him at kind of the front of our defense, I think his ability to impact the ball and be disruptive is very unique there, and still keep it in front and have the size and athleticism to do some switching. He's a very, very good defender. We need every bit of that against both Paul and Booker in this series, when he switches onto other guys. But he's very, very unique. I think he's a big part of -- when we're good defensively, it starts with Jrue.

Q. I just wanted to ask if you feel that you have some adjustments to make offensively or if you think that it's just a matter of time for the shots to finally start dropping in?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think there's things that we can hopefully tweak a little bit. I think there were some things that improved in the second game. We got to keep working to get better. When you get good looks, good opportunities, it's going to be helpful if we convert. And then sometimes you got to make some tough shots in the playoffs, too. You need a little bit of both. But I think we can get better. We can keep improving offensively going into the third game.

Q. What you talked about with Jrue Holiday just there as far as how much you guys are relying on him defensively, do you have to accept or concede that it's going to put a limitation on what he can do offensively, just if only from an energy standpoint?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think there is a great challenge for Jrue. The amount of effort that it takes and that we're putting that on his shoulders defensively is significant. But it's the playoffs. It's the Finals. I think everybody has got to be able to do it at a high level on both ends of the court. But certainly appreciate and respect what Jrue has got to do defensively and do it on big minutes. But we feel like he can do both. He can deliver in a big way on defense and still deliver in a big way on offense, too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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