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July 11, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Game 3: Pregame

Q. Just trying to get an update on Torrey. He was probable. Will he play for you tonight?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, he'll play. He had a good workout yesterday. He's got some soreness, but everybody does. So we think he'll be okay.

Q. You said he was going to do some light stuff and see what he would do. When he went down, I was thinking the worst. When you see that kind of recovery -- or were you thinking the worst, as well, when he initially went down?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Well, I think it depends on your player. I've seen him enough in Denver and here to know he's a tough dude. I was hoping he wasn't seriously hurt. And then when I saw him move around a little bit, I just got a bit more confidence.

I just didn't want to use a time-out. And when I realized he was going to be down for a little bit, that's when I called it and wanted to get over there and check on him. He's not the kind of guy that lays on the ground. You start to think about, is this going to be one of those deals. Gratefully, it was just a hard contusion. It swelled up a bit, but they have been treating it every day. He's got some soreness, but he looked good yesterday when he was shooting the ball and moving around.

Q. Do you ever look at the referee assignments going into a game, and if so, how do they impact how you approach the game?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I look at them, but it doesn't impact me at all. I just don't get into that stuff. I think the referees, the officials, especially that are reffing on this level, they are the best of the best. I always think the guys that are on this stage are the ones that you can communicate with. That's what I look for in an official is ones that I can talk to while the game is going on and a timeout situation.

The guys that are on this level, to me, that's the sign of a high-level official, the ones that can communicate in pressure situations, talk you off a cliff, listen to your complaining and kind of wade through what you're trying to say and give you an answer that makes sense.

So that's about as far as it goes for me.

Q. Have you gotten a chance to touch base with any of the guys on the '93 Finals team, and if so, what came out of those?

MONTY WILLIAMS: The '93 Finals?

Q. Suns team.

MONTY WILLIAMS: Oh, gosh, no, I haven't. I think they got more important things to do than talk to me on the phone. I have gotten text messages from different people from Suns lore, history. That's been pretty cool because I'm new to it and they have adopted me like I've been in it for a long time, but it's really not even two years yet. So the way that they have embraced me has been pretty cool.

I got a text from Steve (Nash) the other day. I thought that was really cool of him. He's coaching Brooklyn. But it just spoke to me about how those guys feel about the Suns, the fan base, the former players. It's a pretty cool family to be a part of.

Q. Now that you've seen four games of the Bucks this season, and more closely here, when you see Khris and Giannis get in their two-man game, do you see the eight years together?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I'd say it looks like more than that.

Q. What does that look like and what does that mean and maybe to a degree, how difficult is it to defend in that way?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I feel like those two guys have a certain level of synergy, not just in that part of their game but how they play off of each other in isolation basketball. Giannis seems to know where Khris is going to be in transition or if you try to help off of him. But in that pick-and-roll, it's a tough cover. I mean, nobody has been able to stop it.

I think the thing that doesn't get enough play is Khris' ability to handle the ball for his size. People don't really talk about him being a pick-and-roll player, but he's pretty efficient when he has the ball in that environment. He gave us a problem in Game 1, for sure, and we've been talking about it ever since.

Q. What are the biggest things you'd like to see improve in Game 3? What are the points of emphasis coming into this game?

MONTY WILLIAMS: They had 18 offensive rebounds last game and 54 points in the paint. We talked about it. That was a huge focus for them, to get to the paint. We certainly have to keep Giannis off the free throw line. Gives them a chance to set their defense.

We'd be here for a while talking about everything we saw in the film, but those are the main keys. And you have to keep those guys off the glass. Connaughton, he's coming every single time. P.J. is a big, strong dude, and he finds a way. Our guys know we have to do our best to keep those guy away from the paint.

Q. Chris was talking about Devin's personality. He called him basically a killer who, if you're up late in the game, he wants to go score again. Are all the great players killers or are there guys who don't have the mentality who are still greats?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I've played with guys who have that. Allen was like that, Allen Iverson. He was going to keep coming, no matter what. Tracy (McGrady) was like that. Book's his own guy, though. He's just not afraid of making plays. People forget how young he is. He's done a lot, but he's really young. And so I think those two are a good team because they know how to talk to each other in those situations. I think Chris is a good calming force for Book in those situations. I think Book trusts Chris, so anything Chris tells him, he respects it.

Q. You and your players talk a lot about the gym, as almost not a physical place but a state of mind. What goes into that, and how have you seen that created in the last couple years?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I think it's the DNA of our team. Our guys love the gym. Certainly was an answer to a prayer for me when I was not a head coach. I prayed that if I ever got a chance to do it again, I'd get a chance to be a part of a job that I was excited to go to work every single day, and having a gym like ours makes you that way. We said that we weren't going to let wins or losses dictate the atmosphere in our gym. Our guys come to work every day, whether it's a film session or practice or just getting up shots. We try to keep the same consistent level of joy, but also balance it with focus and work.

It has helped to have the kinds of guys we have. Guys like Mikal that you have to kick out of the gym. Cam Johnson. Those guys would stay there all day. Jevon (Carter) is another guy. That's about it. I think our guys, they just love being in the gym.

Q. A big talking point during this postseason run has been the youth and inexperience of the roster, but this is your first Finals coaching.


Q. So I'm curious, what have you learned during this postseason journey and what's been the difference the deeper you've gone into the postseason?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I probably will have a better answer for you when it's over with. It's hard to dive into those kinds of thoughts and contemplate that stuff when you're trying to win.

The playoffs pose a challenge for you unlike anything else you're ever going to deal with because every possession, every decision has the results and the consequences are high, high level. But that wasn't anything I didn't know. It's just different when you're in this seat and you have to make those decisions.

I think after this is over with, I'll probably have a better perspective on it all, but right now I'm just so focused on trying to help our guys win games and have success.

Q. Can you remember the last time you guys gave away a game? Because it seems like you make your free throws, you don't turn the ball over. If another team beats you, it's because they beat you, not because you necessarily gave it to them.

MONTY WILLIAMS: I don't want to think about that. I don't have -- that one, I don't know. I'm just grateful for the way that we do play. And it's a challenge when you play against a team that plays the same way. They play hard. They are physical just like us.

And we have always told our guys, you have to go take it. You have to have a knock-out-the-champ mentality. Don't leave it to the judges to go to the scorecard. That's how we approach every game. It seems to resonate with our guys to play 48 minutes all the way through. I hope that helps our guys.

Q. Obviously up 2-0 in the series, you're going to be facing a pretty desperate Bucks team. You guys have experience in this regard as far as playing the Lakers with desperation and the Nuggets in Game 4 and Clippers were a desperate team in Game 5. Are those experiences that can help you in this scenario or is that a team-by-team, matchup-dependent thing?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's probably both. Every game, every series has its own unique life, but there's certain things you can learn from each game, each series. We've always talked about being more desperate than the other team, even though we could have a lead in the series or a lead in the game. That's been part of the mentality of knock out the champ or being desperate. We just call it relentless.

We certainly hope we've learned from series to series, and we hope it helps us as we are playing against a team that is really, really good.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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