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July 13, 2021

Jrue Holiday

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. I wanted to talk to you a little bit about covering Chris. I know you said like the goal is to annoy him, make him work, do all those things. Pick-and-roll is simple, right? There's two things involved. There's a screener and a guy that has the ball in his hands. It feels like somehow P.J. just said this, that every pick-and-roll is different, especially with CP, it's always going to be slightly different because of the way that he manipulates things. How do you deal with that, just the idea that there's never going to be a set pattern, even if you run the same play, the same set and the same spot on the floor, it's always going to be different with Chris?

JRUE HOLIDAY: I feel like it's just how you play the game, right? It's kind of like the cat and mouse, trying to play chess. You just have to -- a lot of times you just have to figure out when it actually happens.

So in real time, that's why Chris goes into pick-and-roll. He's one of the best at it. He doesn't make it easy for the defender, and for the most part he gets to the spot or he gets a big roller.

But that's what makes it fun. I guess if you did something over and over again and you kind of figured it out, that would be boring. I don't know, there's a part of me that's like, it is a bit frustrating that he keeps on switching it up and he's really good at it, but there's also this fun part in trying to figure out the equation.

Q. So often in this series they've put Devin in the weak side corner, so it makes it tough to help off so it does turn into a two-man game. What have you seen from Ayton and his ability to, one, set a good screen, and then roll in different and creative ways, whether it's a slow roll or a quick slip, whatever it may be?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Smart player. Smart player that knows how to read his guard. Sometimes he sticks to screens, sometimes he gets out early, sometimes he slips it and gets to the rim, has great touch around the basket, great hands.

Having a big like that probably makes it easy for Chris to manipulate things even more, throw it up to the rim. If he slips out early, yeah, he has Booker on that weak side, but as a defender you've got to help your team out, and there you see him try to whip it to the corner. That's why they have that duo, right? Nothing is going to be easy.

Q. So often in this Playoffs it's been about like Brook miraculously playing both, hands crazy, being able to do some of that. I feel like CP can neuter that a little bit because of how good he is. What do you try to tell Brook or whoever your partner is in the pick-and-roll not to get frustrated?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Just to do them. Just like they have my back, I've got theirs. I'll continue to pursue and try to make it difficult. It's not going to be perfect every time. Deandre Ayton is a big dude, so I am getting hit on the screens, but just can't die on them. Just continue to fight through them and be patient with me.

Q. Ayton also ducked in -- it was a possession where he goes all the way down to the dunker --

JRUE HOLIDAY: Four times, yeah.

Q. As you said, he's a big dude and that's what he does professionally. How do you try to work through that?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Well, that's probably the advantage that they have. I'm 6-4; he's 7-1. That's definitely an advantage on him, but try to use my strength, try to sit low on his legs so that he can't move really.

No big dude ever likes somebody my size on their knees. That's probably one of the first times he ducked in on me, so he kind of surprised me. Really just tried to be as physical as possible and tried not to make that pass as easy as it was.

Q. Switching topics here, I wondered two things: How do you hear from or feel the presence of any international fans who follow you? And then secondly, what has it been like to see Greek fans in the stands rooting for you with the flags? I don't know if you could tell in Brooklyn their presence --

JRUE HOLIDAY: It's like, yeah -- as you walk into the tunnel going to the locker room, it was just like a sea of blue, and it was really cool to know that there was that type of support for our team internationally.

I know that I see our games are shown in Spain and everywhere else in the world. I know soccer is considered like the world sport, but I feel like basketball is really becoming up there with that, which is really, really cool.

But yeah, the Greek fans, and they're here, too -- I guess they travel. I don't know, just having that support is really awesome.

Q. First Bucks home game in the Finals since 1974. Talking to fans, I know ESPN kind of caught a glimpse of it with Maria Taylor outside the Deer District. What was that environment like being there, and how much juice did that give you guys having them behind you in the Finals?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Yeah, it was fun, man. Again, this is my first year here, so ever since we got the crowd back they've been amazing. The energy that they bring, how rowdy they get, we love it and we need it.

To see that, and then after the game still having that support with the fireworks and 20,000 people outside still there, it's amazing.

Q. When you’re guarding CP, sometimes you pick him up three fourths of the court, full court. I was wondering how you decide when to do that, what's the strategy behind that, and is it dangerous with a guy like CP, who's such a good playmaker if he gets by you?

JRUE HOLIDAY: I guess I'll answer the first one. Three quarter court or full court, there isn't really reason to that. Sometimes I'm on the perimeter, and if we shoot a shot, I'm actually like the first line of defense. So sometimes it's hard for me to just push up and leave when somebody is out in transition.

But for the most part, I think I try to pick him up as close to full court as possible just so that I can frustrate him, try to get him gassed, try to speed him up, and knowing that if I get beat or even him speeding up, I know that I have Brook behind me or my teammates behind me.

I guess the strategy really is to make it as difficult on CP because he is the head of the snake, and if I can possibly get a turnover here and there, because he rarely turns the ball over, or just get him thinking, all right, well, Jrue is always here, that could be annoying, and that's kind of my plan.

Q. With the way that Giannis has performed over the last three games, when you were waiting to see if he was going to be available for the NBA Finals and he comes out and puts up 20 and 17 in Game 1 and then back-to-back 40-point games, is what he's doing right now even a surprise?


Q. Do you find yourself marveling over what he's doing?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Marveling maybe, but not, it's not a surprise. He's been doing it. I guess honestly this is what we kind of expect from him, right? He's the leader of our team. He's talked about this moment so many times, and him being in this moment and the responsibility that he feels, this is what we expect.

Q. Having the two days off between games without a travel day, how do you feel about that?

JRUE HOLIDAY: It's great.

Q. Do you like the rest or do you get antsy?

JRUE HOLIDAY: No, it's great. The season has been weird. We won Game 6 of the Conference Finals. We landed at 2:00 that morning and had to leave 6:00 at night to go to Phoenix. I'm cool with having a day in between with no travel.

Q. How are you handling this physically and mentally? I don't know what day it is, I barely know what city I'm in. This is our first Finals, too, not answering phones, but you have kids, you have a young family. How are you getting your rest or truly getting a day off? How are you handling all this?

JRUE HOLIDAY: I think I'm handling it pretty well. This is just the opportunity of a lifetime, so I do my best to take care of my body, rest as much as possible. I do have kids, and sometimes kids need naps. Daddy needs naps, too. We'll get that in. We'll get naps in.

My wife does a great job of being my backbone, the backbone of the family. When I need to sleep or if I need something, she'll pretty much take care of everything. And she knows that -- I mean, I think we have like nine days left or something like that. She knows that at some point, I'll be back to be able to help, but right now my wife has always known the importance of this and what this means to me.

She's obviously been my biggest supporter.

Q. Then there's Tokyo.

JRUE HOLIDAY: Yeah, so then after that. So, August I'll be back with the family.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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