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July 16, 2021

Mikal Bridges

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. You've had Khris Middleton for a lot of the series. Obviously, he's had good games, bad games. Just kind of what goes into the challenge of defending Khris?

MIKAL BRIDGES: He's just very talented, an All-Star, Olympian now. He's really good. He just has a lot to his game. He's smart, so just kind of can't foul him. He's going to get the foul, too. He's crafty with that. You've just got to make it tough for him.

Like I said in another interview, he's an unbelievable player. You've just got to make it tough for him and try to get stops.

Q. I know no one is going to say he's the most athletic dude, but he's crafty and he knows how to use his body. Can that be more frustrating than having a dude that's insanely athletic that you have to try to keep up with?

MIKAL BRIDGES: I don't know. I think just -- they're good. It's going to be tough to guard him anyway no matter what they do, but if they're good at the game and skillful, it's going to be tough, tough coverage, and just try to make it tough for him.

Q. You guys were able to keep Giannis a little farther away from the rim in Game 4. Was there anything different you did as opposed to the prior four games to try to change coverages or anything you were doing?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Just guard him as a team. Just not leaving no one on an island, helping our brothers out, and that's what we did and we're going to continue to do.

Q. I know Chris Paul is one of the best guys in the league with the ball. Obviously five turnovers is uncharacteristic for him. Did they do anything defensively to try to cause any trouble, or was that kind of a weird one-off game do you think?

MIKAL BRIDGES: As they've been doing the whole series, just picking up. That's what I've seen them do. They've been consistent with it. They're just picking up full court.

But yeah, they're a good team. They're a really good team. That's why they're here. They play both ends and they play defense and they've got the guys for it. So yeah, they've been doing a great job.

Q. When you think about where you were this time last year, I don't even know if you guys knew you were going to the Bubble or preparing to go to the Bubble; now you have a best of three for the NBA Finals. What's it like to be in this position?

MIKAL BRIDGES: A blessing. Not everybody gets here. It's just a blessing to be here, and just have the opportunity to do something special. We've just got to keep playing our way, but it's great to be here.

Q. How excited are you to be back home with the Suns fans behind you and how big of a difference maker does having those fans behind you -- how big has that been throughout this playoff run?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Been great. They've been unbelievable. They've just been -- they've been here. They've been wild and being real loud. Makes it tough for the other team. Gets us going. They've really been our sixth man, and we're happy that we've got home-court advantage. That's what we worked all regular season for, and we've got to go out there and take advantage of it.

Q. “Everything you want is on the other side of hard” has been a mantra for this team since Monty took over. How much importance does that quote have now knowing the situation at hand and knowing how close you guys are to an NBA title?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Yeah, it's not going to be easy. You're just not going to sweep a team or win five or anything like that. It's going to be a tough series, and it's just -- we're prepared for it, and we've just got to go out there and play our way.

Q. Ever since the game you scored 27, it seems like they've paid obviously more attention to you on the offensive end. Is there anything specific they're doing or anything you would need to do to shake loose to free yourself up more so on that end?

MIKAL BRIDGES: I think just done a great job just pick-and-roll coverages and kind of playing more two v. two, not helping as much. I think they've done a good job with that, not really packing the paint as much.

But just yeah, for me, just trying to find little things, and if it's offensive rebounding or something, just get going.

Q. What will be the mindset for Game 5, and how important will it be to take care of the ball in order to win Game 5?

MIKAL BRIDGES: It's a must-win game. It's our most important game because it's our next game, so we've just got to go out there, play Suns basketball for 48 minutes, and go out there and win the game.

Q. How important is it for you guys to have Cam Johnson's scoring coming off the bench and the role he has on the team?

MIKAL BRIDGES: He's been great coming in, doing it on both ends. That's the biggest thing, just defending and him just making shots. He's just there making plays, and even if he's not shooting, he's driving, maybe kicking.

But he's doing a great job, and I know he's going to continue to keep doing that. But it's definitely -- we need him.

Q. Two times in Games 2 and 4, the Suns have held Milwaukee to below 30 percent in three-point shooting. I think you guys are pretty good at that all year-round, top five. I know that's not necessarily your position to defend, but of all you have to worry about defending Milwaukee in the paint and in transition, how much do you think three-point defense is still a priority for you guys in general?

MIKAL BRIDGES: Yep, for sure. You see they dominate the paint, and just trying to help a brother out and leave him on an island and just try to help our teammates and kick it out and try to get out there, contest, make him run it off the line, and our next guy, just stepping up for each other.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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