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July 13, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. Obviously after you watch the film you have a better grasp of what you saw. What's your takeaway after seeing the film?

MONTY WILLIAMS: They took it to us. No other way to look at it. They played with a great deal of force -- 50/50 balls, attacking the paint. We had spurts of playing the way that we play, but certainly not as consistent as we needed to. I think I said that the other day. From the first possession of the game, we had a bad transition defensive lapse and they get a corner three in transition.

That was a credit to them. They played with a great deal of energy and they were physical. We were physical, but they were physical from the jump. The more I looked at it, it was like I can sit here and make excuses about what we didn't do and all of that, but they played at a high, high level.

Q. You guys usually get the corner threes and just were limited in Game 3. Did they do anything different or was that just a lack of maybe you guys not focusing on that?

MONTY WILLIAMS: No, I think they did a really good job of running us off the line. They were intent on closing out and then bringing someone else. As the game wore on, and even in the third quarter, you could see we were starting to figure out some things, but not as consistently as we needed to.

Q. Was that three you were talking about the one from for Holiday at the start of the game?


Q. So on plays like that where you want the attention to be on Giannis but you don't want three or four guys -- and there were a few possessions like that -- what's the delicate balance there between the team defense of focusing on Giannis but not to a point where it leaves guys open like that?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, it's not delicate at all. It's a hard truth that you have to do both. You have to be able to show a wall, but also have the integrity of your defense intact on the other side. That particular play was a bit of an anomaly, because normally he's attacking and it could be a clear side. That particular play, Jrue just sprinted to the corner. We had no awareness of that. They kicked it for three.

But to your point, you have to do both. There's no in between with this team. When you can do both, you can have success.

Q. I was just talking to P.J. Tucker about how when you defend Chris Paul, no pick-and-roll is the same because he's so good and kind of manipulating things. We've seen Jrue Holiday mix it up against him defensively. I'm curious if you could speak to just kind of the ways in which Jrue might not give you the same look every single time defensively.

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, he's a guy that I coached in New Orleans. So I have some history with him in that regard. He's guy that can judge where he is on the floor better than most. He knows when to get under. He can tell the kind of screen that's coming. If it's a flat screen, he bulldogs over top. If it's a different type of screen, he gets under. He just has that instinct. I don't think it's anything that anybody taught him. He just knows how to do it. In the same way, he manipulates on the defensive end. That's who he has been his whole career. If you look at him from Philly to New Orleans to now, he's been one of those guys that can get through screens or get under and get back to the ball.

Q. What does that kind of do for you guys offensively, knowing that he will do those different things?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It just forces us to be more sound in our screening. You can't change your screen just to fit what he's doing. I don't think that's something that we will spend a lot of time on. There's certain things that we can do that I won't share with you all so you can go tell them, but we want to be as consistent as we can to try to get a hit on those guys. Connaughton is another guy, PJ is another guy that can get over a screen, and Middleton is better on defense than people give him credit. So there's a reason why they have been a really good defensive team the past few years. They have guys that know what they're doing.

Q. After the last game you said you didn't want to complain about the fouls, but then you kind of did in the next sentence. So I'm curious the reason for --

MONTY WILLIAMS: Is that like a jab or some way of like --

Q. No, no, I'm curious the reason for bringing that up at a press conference is what?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Well, somebody asked me the question. Like, how can I help DA? So I answered it. And then the free throw disparity is what it is. So that's what I did. They had one player with 17 free throws; we had 16. That's not complaining; that's stating facts.

Q. You mentioned force. You've said that same terminology other times during this playoff run. How do you define it? What do you want to see out there that let's you know that guys are playing with force?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's typically not the first play that we had in transition. We get five guys back, along with attacking the offensive glass and getting guys back, I know we're playing with force. 50/50 balls, we couldn't come up with those balls. There was a play where Giannis dove, Devin got a palm on the ball, we couldn't get it. The ball hits Mikal in the face, we couldn't get it. Cam Johnson had it, we couldn't get it. Giannis ends up with it and dunks the ball. Those are the kind of plays that we just could not make go our way. When we're playing the way that we know we can play ...

The offensive rebounding, Torrey didn't have one. He's a guy that just falls into it, you know what I'm saying?

And then just both ends, just the relentless sprinting, getting to the corners on offense, defensively getting back and showing a wall. That was what we thought was inconsistent, and our players thought the same when we watched film yesterday. They were all in agreement. When we do it, we give ourselves a chance to be successful. It's not the panacea by any stretch of the imagination, but it does help us play the way we want to play.

Q. Before Game 3 you kind of laid out the levels of concern with the offensive rebounding, the points in the paint, the Giannis free throws -- and then those things happened in Game 3. Were you disappointed kind of that you sort of knew how they were going to attack you and then they went out and did that plan?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, more at myself, because the messaging wasn't where it needed to be to get our guys to do it. Our guys know it, but I was thinking about me, my messaging to the team and was that adequate enough. Obviously players have to do what they're supposed to do, but we know it.

On my part, when I look at how we prepared to get ready for this game, I was like, man, that's -- I have to do better. And then our players, they get in line with that. I think they look at themselves internally and think about what we all can do better. I think across the board we have to have a better understanding of the kind of team that we're going to play. From here on out, they're going to play that way. I'm not quite sure I got that across to our guys strongly enough.

Q. You played for Pat (Riley) and (Jeff) Van Gundy, Doc (Rivers) and Pop (Gregg Popovich), a bunch of guys who liked kind of needling the media a little bit or needling the league through the media in the course of a playoff series. Do you see value in that? Have you seen situations where things that they pointed out as a point of emphasis has actually worked in the next game because they pointed it out, and do you a ascribe to that?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I don't know if I can do it. It's just not my personality. The one thing that Pop taught me was to be myself. I do think it's finite in its ability to change anything. Ultimately, I think the players are going to go out there and do what they're going to do to help win the game.

I'm not quite sure if it helps as much as people would think. Maybe it does. I don't know. But I'm not good at that stuff. I tend to state the facts. I try to be respectful. I want to go through the proper channels and get my point across. I don't want to play the game that way. It's just not who I am. Maybe I'm wrong in that. But I do get your point. I've seen coaches implement that. I just know I'm not that good at it.

Q. You know it looked like that the other night, right?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Maybe, but it wasn't intentional. But if it works, great, you know? You know what I'm saying? I stated the facts. I wasn't pulling something out of a cloud. You get where I'm coming from? Those are facts. That's what it was.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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