July 10, 2021
Q. For you guys, obviously defensively, it's just going to keep being a struggle, trying to defend two good players in Paul and Booker. What did you do better in Game 2 than Game 1?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I thought we did a good job keeping them off the paint, keeping them off the free throw line. Now we have to take away the threes. They shot the ball really well from three but just got to do a better job of contesting and making it tough in that way. Something we can improve on.
Q. Bridges attacks close-outs well. You get the kick to the corner and he's attacking it. How do you help contain him? I know it's first level and then second level is what they are hitting on now.
JRUE HOLIDAY: Right. Last game we felt like we were over-helping a little too much, so if we step closer to Bridges we can take away the three and stay down enough to recover and close out and slide our feet to be able to take away the drive, too. Maybe not help off just as much, maybe leave it more so to the big and make sure that we show bodies but knowing that they have three-point shooters out there and we have to get it out to them.
Q. You've been the primary defender on Chris Paul. What is the mental toll, everything that he does, and how do you push through it?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I wouldn't say mentally tough. I think it's just being competitive. Just like in the way he probably gets annoyed by me. For the most part it's probably more of a physical, trying to make it hard on him just to be able to down the stretch make shots.
Obviously, we're at the end of the season and to be able to pick somebody up in full court and be fighting me the whole game and to be able to come down toward the end of the game and knock down shots, sometimes your legs might be tired or your arms or whatever, so really just try to make it difficult on them.
Q. I was hoping you could look back to last summer. My understanding when you're in New Orleans figuring out what's next, there were several teams your group had made it clear you would be pretty content to go to and possibly re-sign and do the extension. Did anything else come anywhere close to happening other than this, and when it comes to the Bucks situation, what was the dialogue like with Giannis in terms of trying to figure out how it might look?
JRUE HOLIDAY: For other teams, not a lot. I don't really remember. I think everything happened so fast. It was a weird offseason. Everything happened quickly. So when I got the news that I was going to Milwaukee, first person I talked to was Giannis and just how excited he was that I was coming. At the time I think the Bogdan [Bogdanovich] situation was happening, too. It was like, yeah, we're happy that you're going to be here and super excited. Let's get to work.
That's one thing I love about Giannis is, it's really about putting in the work and being able to show it off on the court.
Q. The second round, you're in a similar situation down 0-2 to Brooklyn. How much can you draw on that experience going into this or is it just two totally different things? Does it help at all that you've been through it before?
JRUE HOLIDAY: It helps tremendously. Again, those first two games that we lost in Brooklyn were like, first one was bad and the second was really bad.
But I think these last two games, we lost by 10. We felt like they kind of controlled the game. And to know that we have been in a position like this where we can come home and do the same thing is huge for us mentally.
But honestly, I think one of the biggest things is every time we played, we felt like we got better and we plan on doing that Game 3, 4, 5 and however long.
Q. How beneficial was the last experience for you in playoffs that you are down by 2-0 against the Nets and what did you learn from that series? And how important is it to set the tone for Game 3 from the first minute?
JRUE HOLIDAY: Yeah, I think we learned a lot from Brooklyn. Just being able to have that mindset that even down 2-0, you can still take care of business. Not going to lie, that series was draining but it was one of the most exciting series that I've been a part of and glad that I got to partake in it. It is about setting the tone. We know our crowd here has so much energy, like the Suns had in Phoenix. We think the crowd here is awesome and they will have our back and we will play for them, but not only that, but to be able to win games and protect home.
Q. What do you think made this group so special to make it to the Finals?
JRUE HOLIDAY: The group, it was a veteran group. It was a lot of guys that had been together and then a lot of guys who had just come together for the first time. So, I think there was a good mix of what the expectation was and then adding on veterans who complemented the system and Khris and Giannis really well.
So, coming in was really fun. We knew what the goal was, and we're here. We just have to achieve it.
Q. The list of players who have scored 42 points in a Finals game is short; I've seen it so many times here with Giannis I've taken it for granted. What is your experience watching him go for 42 in a Finals game?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I mean, I felt like it's a little sweeter when you win the game. We know that Giannis, he carried us offensively. To be able to do that in such a crucial game is huge and we know what he's capable of more than 42. It's definitely exciting and great to know that we have that.
But we've got to help him out a little bit.
Q. You always deal with that both ends of the floor type thing, but is this matchup with Chris and Devin in terms of what it takes out of you defensively, is there more of a ripple effect on your offensive game, especially when Coach is asking you to be more aggressive than normal?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I think sometimes it happens. Sometimes it happens. But it's literally been like that this whole playoff experience from Game 1 in Miami to now. I'm not complaining. I signed up for it. That's the reason why I'm here, and at times it might get tiring for offense and I know I'm just going to have to exhaust myself on defense. But that's where, I mean, everybody else and even me at times have to step up and do different things.
Q. You decided a very long time ago to be a two-way player. Do you think if you came off the gas down here it would make things easier on the other end? Is that a commitment you question at all?
JRUE HOLIDAY: No, I don't like being scored on to be completely honest. It just isn't my nature. It bugs me to my core. Even against the best players in the world and being able to guard KD or Trae or Chris or Jimmy, whoever, it just bugs me.
Me personally, I like to be able to stop somebody from scoring and go down there and score on you.
Q. By his position and body type, Brook Lopez is dependent on being fed the ball but his personality doesn't seem like he's going to demand it. How do you balance that? Do you have to read him? Or maybe he speaks up and I don't see it as much. Will he say anything at halftime or in the game?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I told him the other day, I texted him, I was like, "Man, I love being your teammate, because you don't complain about anything and we ask you to do so much and you don't get any credit for it." He's definitely one of those players that you love to have on your team, and he is a weapon. To be able to utilize him more is going to be key for us. We've seen what he can do, especially in big games where he had to score but yeah, it's going to be huge for us to utilize him.
Q. Coach Bud just acknowledged the responsibility on your shoulders defensively. You said you know you signed up from this and you've experienced it all playoffs, but given the matchup in CP and Devin and these are the Finals, do you feel like you have a heavier load defensively on your shoulders right now?
JRUE HOLIDAY: No. I think it's about the same. It's always been win-or-go-home. We do know that it's the Finals and this is the last series, but every game I want to win. Every game I treat like it's Game 7.
So, I bring that same mentality, that same mindset that honestly this is it, and I'm going to go out there every game and do the same.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports