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July 16, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. You said you wanted to watch back the self-inflicted errors to assess them. In your locker room speech you said, All of this is correctable. Did you feel that way after watching some of those?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah. When you turn the ball over that many times with our group, it's not something you typically see. They got hands on ball a few times, but a lot of it was things that, like I said at the end, we can correct.

Q. Just looking at you going small with Giannis still out there, how would that look for you when you've gone back and looked?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It hasn't been bad. It's actually been pretty good. The turnovers probably hurt both groups more than anything. There is trepidation from a rebounding perspective. We got to hit bodies before they get to the paint.

It's a little bit different not having an anchor out there like DA, not having Dario out there. But I think Torrey, Jae, Cam Johnson, they've done a pretty good job of battling for boards. Torrey flies in there to get rebounds. It's really helped us.

There is some give-and-take with that lineup, but it also allows us to spread the floor on the other end. If we can, which we will take care of the ball, I think that lineup will look even better.

Q. With Ayton, I thought he had some moments with Giannis where he held his ground. What do you think of his defensive effort?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's a tough task. But holding your ground without fouling is paramount with anybody going against Giannis. I thought DA did a good job. The times where you get in trouble is where you want to reach at the end. That's just a human, natural thing to do.

But I thought he did a decent job last game. And our team defense around it is improving.

Q. Book gave David Crewe a shout-out about a week ago, helping him create stuff he can do in his home. How valuable is that when you know your best player has that trust in the staff not just to come in here and do the work but I want to talk to you, give me some pointers and stuff I can do at home during the offseason?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the trust comes from his success. When he does have aches and pains or a tweak, their ability to help him get back faster. Nowadays, guys are making so much money, they have groups of people for a lot of stuff. So I'm good with either one. But I do value the guys that trust what we do in our building. I think that's where that came from.

He's gotten stronger, more explosive, and he's more durable. So I think that's where those compliments came from, just to show that appreciation.

At the same time, you have guys who have people outside the building that do the same thing. I think any time you invest in your career that way, whether it's inside the building or outside, you see the passion to get better.

Q. Kellen mentioned the video of you talking to your group. In terms of the psychology of a series like this, you prioritizing right away that idea of don't start drifting on me, don't let your heads get down. You've learned that as a player, as a coach. Is that everything right now going into Game 5?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I think it's just life. You're going to face stuff. You know what I'm saying? The human tendency, the natural tendency, is to drift, not count your blessings. That was what I was trying to do, remind our guys how hard they've worked to get to this point.

That was a tough loss. But any loss in the Finals is a tough loss. So I didn't really put much thought into it, which is usually what I struggle with (laughter). But our guys have accomplished so much, and we have something right in front of us that I didn't want them to lose sight of even in that moment. I hope it served them and us well.

But when you've been kicked around as much as I have, in basketball and life, you learn that you have to keep your head up, look for the positives in everything and count your blessings. It's typically not as bad as you think.

Q. Speaking of positives, it seemed like on the court after today you had a neat moment with Willie (Green). Assuming that's related to his next challenge, for you, Willie was going to be in the running for jobs regardless, but when you have this success, it kind of breeds success. What does it mean to see somebody like that get this opportunity?

MONTY WILLIAMS: It's hard to talk on it because I'm not quite sure it's official yet. Is it okay to? They haven't announced it.

But I think any time you have guys on your staff or guys on your team get promoted and make the All-Star team, it's important to celebrate that stuff. Willie is somebody that is one of my best friends. I've coached him. I've played with him. He was a rookie, I was his vet. I coached him in New Orleans, which was like weird. Now working with him. Not just him but Tara, Aliyah, Mason, Ross, their family is near and dear to my family and our hearts.

If all of this is official and he moves forward, I'm happy and I'm unbelievably sad about it because he's just a huge part of my life. He's been a big, big part of our program.

Q. How have you seen Chris be with you and the guys in the last 48 hours, knowing how he's wired? How do you anticipate he'll try to course correct next game?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I just see Chris being Chris. He's always intentional about everything. He's focused. I find myself struggling when I can't help him. That's what we've talked about the last couple of days. But Chris is fine. He's focused. He's always about winning.

The conversations are all about basketball right now. We know what's in front of us. You know Chris Paul, I mean, everybody in here has seen him. There's not a person in our locker room that's not expecting him to not come out and play really well the next game.

But his focus is at a high, high level right now.

Q. Is he all good health-wise?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, he's fine. Other than having to deal with me, he's good (smiling).

Q. With Chris, having the benefit of reviewing the film, 10 points, the turnovers, what did you make of his performance in Game 4?

MONTY WILLIAMS: A blip on the screen. That's how I would term it. You're not going to see Chris have those kinds of games frequently. I've been around him long enough, I've coached against him enough (smiling). That's how I would term it: a blip on the screen or the radar. I think I used that incorrectly. You guys get it. I'm malapropping here (laughter).

Q. Along those lines, after the last game, Jrue Holiday said he hoped the Bucks' efforts with Jeff Teague and Jrue specifically, making Chris have to work, 94 feet, would have some effects. Like, I'm tired. How have you seen the Bucks try to affect Chris in that way?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I guess I've seen it the same way you've seen it. They're just trying to guard him full court. I thought we did a much better job of getting ahead and getting off the ball and letting other guys initiate.

But, I mean, you said it: They get tired doing that. It works both ways. At this point, it's all will and grit. You can't talk about being tired. Our guys aren't. So I've seen the same thing you've seen. They're just trying to pressure Chris and slow him down.

I thought Book did a good job of pushing the pace on hit-ahead passes. Even Jae and Mikal and Cam. Cam Payne can do it well, too. That's just been their way of trying to slow him down.

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