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July 13, 2021

Jae Crowder

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. I was just wondering, obviously you had the Finals experience from last year in the bubble. It was such an unusual circumstance being in that bubble environment. How much can you draw on that experience going into this year's Finals? Is that something you can use or is it two totally different things?

JAE CROWDER: I mean, it's definitely something I can use. It was the highest level of basketball I've played in my career, so I definitely tried to use that experience leading up to this point of helping my teammates, letting them know that it's hard, it's very hard basketball, two teams colliding, giving maximum effort for it all. It's the hardest thing we'll do as a professional athlete I feel like.

That was my message to my teammates, that what I've been through in the Finals, it's going to be some hard situations, hard, tough basketball, but it's definitely fun, fun basketball, too.

Q. I talked to your dad [Corey Crowder] yesterday and he was just kind of telling me that you guys have like a tradition of just kind of acknowledging each other before every game. He was talking about the way that he watches you just in terms of gathering insight to be able to relay it back to you. What's your relationship like with him, and what does it mean to be able to have a dad that you can also lean on even at this point in your career?

JAE CROWDER: Yeah, I've been -- honestly I've been traded a few times, and I don't know if I'm still the player standing here in front of you today if it wasn't for him to keep me level headed, to keep me in the moment, to keep me as rounded as a professional as I can be. He's definitely helped me as a person, as a man, as a professional.

Our relationship is great. I lost my mom three years ago, so our relationship definitely went another level once I lost my mom. He goes everywhere with me. He helps me with life. He's golfing right now on the golf course, and he does that every day.

But I just try to pick his brain as much as possible because he is a basketball freak. He loves everything about the game of basketball. He played 16 years as a professional.

That's my support, it's my main support, he's in my corner. He does a great job with just telling me the truth, not telling me what I want to hear, just telling me the truth and keeping it real, honest, and I respect that as a man. I respect that from him. But it's great. Our relationship is great. I love having him here with me during this moment, during every pivotal moment of my career I've had him there. He's definitely top of my list of my top supporters, and I appreciate him and love him for that.

Q. What's it been like just being back in the area? Is there a little bit of familiarity just from your time at Marquette?

JAE CROWDER: Yeah, it's great to be back here. Every time I come to Milwaukee I have a sense of appreciation for the city. They took me in. I see familiar faces here that work in the arena back when I was a college kid. I see the same familiar faces now, nine, 10 years later. It's great to just see familiar faces and people that I'm so used to being around and obviously being in a city where I grew up in a little bit.

It's great to be back here playing at this level and having this opportunity in front of me here in this arena in this city.

Q. Kind of building off of that, when you think about your career and you mentioned I think last week how you learned to be a man here in Milwaukee, do you think about how circular your career might be if you end up winning a title in this very city?

JAE CROWDER: I haven't gave -- I mean, once we figured out that my opponent was going to be Milwaukee, I sat back, like wow, look how everything is coming together. It was a great opportunity.

But it was just great to come back here and just see familiar faces. I can honestly say, I'm very happy with how everything went when I was a college kid here, but to come full circle nine, 10 years later, to come play for it all here in a city where you're so accustomed to, it's a great feeling, no doubt about it.

But I'm living in the moment. I'm taking it one day at a time and just taking it as it goes, but it's a great feeling just to be here in the situation of a city where I'm so comfortable staying and being here for a few days. Obviously I've been here just relaxing and trying to get my body to where it needs to be game by game.

It's been great. I've been having a good time. My family is here. My family away from my family, extended family, Marquette family is supporting me, and I appreciate them more than they know.

Q. Have you and your dad ever played one-on-one? If so, who wins? What's the mindset after Game 3 now?

JAE CROWDER: Yeah, I'm the professional athlete right now, so I win that by a landslide. If you take us back at the peak of my career, peak of his career, I think I still take him. I think I'm a better basketball player than him. But it's just the competitive nature that we share.

But on a serious note, I think moving on to the next game, I just feel like we've got to win the 50/50 balls. We've got to limit these guys to one shot at the rim, especially on the road, and give ourselves a chance to win on the road. You have to win the 50/50 battle, and I feel like we lost that battle last game. And obviously share some of the rebounding. That's some of the pivotal things that has to be done moving forward, and I think we'll get it done.

Q. Deandre had done a really good job of avoiding foul trouble in this postseason up until Sunday. From what you've been able to see in the hotel, film work, how has he responded in the last 48 hours or so since Sunday, and what have you said to him about just how important it is for him to be on the floor?

JAE CROWDER: Well, he's not happy with that, with the outcome of the game. Obviously we're all upset about that. We have to focus and move forward, and I think that's where he is right now. He's just trying to figure out how to move forward and how to be effective without fouling, without putting himself on the bench. He has to be in the game.

He's been playing all postseason for us. Obviously we know that, and we have to find a way to keep him on the court as much as possible.

He's aware of it. He's watching film. He's trying to get better. He's trying to apply himself. But he will be ready to go. He's upset that we lost. That outcome of the game was not how we envisioned it to be played. We're looking forward to the next game. We all are.

Q. You all had a really good series against the Bucks last year. I know it's a very different Bucks team this year versus last year, but what confidence did you get out of that postseason run a year ago, and how has it helped you this year do you think?

JAE CROWDER: I have gave it no -- it has given me no confidence. Last year it was a totally different team, totally different players. Even if you bring the same -- I'm a totally different player from last year. I'm a year older. I'm a year wiser.

I don't think they go hand in hand at all. I honestly feel like those guys, respectfully, are better than they were last year, and I feel like me as a player, I'm better than I was last year.

I don't think they go hand in hand, but I do respect those guys. I do know a couple of their main areas of attacking you hasn't changed, and we have to get better at defending it, and we will be better as a team collectively at defending those guys and stopping those guys and limiting those guys as much as possible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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