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July 13, 2021

DeAndre Ayton

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. After Game 3 with the foul trouble, how frustrating was that to have to sit out for that long stretch in the third quarter, and after watching the film what are some things you picked up on that are some adjustments you can make defensively?

DEANDRE AYTON: I'm not going to let none of those foul calls change my aggression. Mainly just show my hands early, letting the refs know where I'm at, feeling the refs out throughout the game, on my physicality, how I'm playing my defense. But it was pretty frustrating. We really wanted that game, and I just felt that as a team we needed a little bit more effort. They played harder than us, and yep, that was the results.

Q. You know how competitive Book is, so when he comes off a tough shooting night like he had, what have you seen from him in the past day and a half, just to be like, okay, he's locked back in, he's ready to go back in? Give us a sense of that.

DEANDRE AYTON: Yeah, he gets pretty scary after that. Just knowing his mentality and knowing that games like that don't really slow him down. We know it was just one of those games, but I know he'll step up, and as a team we'll step up, as well.

Q. People always say he's got that dog in him. You've been with him now your whole NBA career. When did you first see that in him and what do you wish that people could see like if they were a fly on the wall, the work he puts in, all that stuff?

DEANDRE AYTON: Really Book puts in work really when no one was watching to be honest. That dog has been with him since I've been here day one, just always being on me, whether we didn't have the wins to back it up, but that man has always been on me from day one, me and Mikal, and just knowing the game and knowing how he approaches the game, I wish the world could see how he hard he works and the results they see on the court.

Q. What are the challenges of contesting Giannis effectively given his length and the way he's aggressively coming at you and maybe where does he rank in terms of difficulty of guys you've had to defend throughout your career?

DEANDRE AYTON: I really don't have nobody ranked or really think about that, but Giannis has an awareness where he does put his head down going in for fouls and he's really lengthy and strong. You just have to keep up, match the physicality and not really back down or try to brace contact. That's where the fouls come in. But he is a difficult dude to contest when he's in rhythm.

Q. What is your preparation and mentality facing the next game?

DEANDRE AYTON: Just mainly approaching it the right way, watching a lot of film from last game, seeing where my mistakes were. Just mainly trying to stay on the floor the whole time of the game and just trying to stay away from foul trouble.

I think that's an awareness that I see on the court where they're trying to attack me, so it's just me bracing and being aware what's coming next.

Q. You and Mikal joined the NBA together in the 2018 draft. How have you guys been appreciating this first Playoffs of your careers?

DEANDRE AYTON: I mean, us two, we always hold each other accountable from the get-go, starting in our training camp. That was pretty hard, just going through that process of not winning and going through all them experiences of adversity. We stuck together, and Book was the leader of all that, just keeping us level headed and knowing that better is going to come, just making sure we always work in the offseason and being prepared for the next season, and just seeing us two grow, it's insane to see where we are.

This is where the hard work comes in, and this is your results.

Q. Giannis had 40 in the last couple of games. What is the team's strategy to stop him in tomorrow's game?

DEANDRE AYTON: Basically showing up a wall, just being sturdy on defense and making sure we show our hands and not really getting into foul trouble as a team, making sure we have a strong defense and we're all back on defense.

Q. You've done a really good job of avoiding foul trouble this postseason up until Sunday. Is it any concern the way Sunday's game went because of that, or after looking at the film did you kind of see what you did or what you can't do or that type of thing?

DEANDRE AYTON: I mean, yeah. I mean, it's loud in there, man, so anything can go any way. But just in general, I'm not going to let that game bother me, to be honest. I think I've been playing defense where I can play big and just embrace contact. It was just up to however the momentum of the game was going to where we're in transition and I'm taking -- I'm gathering everybody around or I'm doing straight-up verticality. It's pretty hard in the Playoffs where you can get a foul or not. It's just me being sturdy and doing what I do best.

Q. Thinking back to before Game 1 when you had this light in your eyes, walking in and going, holy cow, this is the Finals. Has any of that diminished or dissipated or does this now feel like a normal playoff series? How do you balance, this is the task at hand with understanding the stage that you're on, which is still pretty darned cool?

DEANDRE AYTON: I think it got old now; now we're back to business. All the lights and embracing that I'm here is finally over. I got a taste of losing in the Finals, now it's -- I'm awake a little bit more, not really on just happy to be here, but let's get the job done.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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