July 17, 2021
Game 5: Pregame
Q. I know it's been a few months since we've had to ask you about a health and safety situation. How did you learn, and was there a concern about any contract tracing and other players maybe being unavailable?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Troy Flanagan and Jon Horst are always kind of at the front line of the communication. I think the health and safety protocols are on the front of everybody's minds right now. I think we're in a good place and ready to go.
Q. I know Thanasis has to be listed. Will you have a full staff and support staff? Were there any issues contact-wise for tonight?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: No, we won't have a full staff.
Q. No one is closer to Giannis than Thanasis. They are pretty much inseparable. What's going through your mind knowing Giannis is next to him all the time?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Just keeping the whole group safe and healthy. Certainly those two guys' connection and the closeness, everybody knows it. But you know, I think we're all good. We're all ready. Ready to go.
Q. Khris took 33 shots last game, the most he's ever taken in any NBA game. I don't know if "balance" is the right word or if you do want to lean into Khris taking that many shots. How do you keep him making the right shot and making the right plays?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: We always talk about taking what the game gives us and playing good basketball, making good reads. Certainly the ball in his hands is a good thing.
I think credit is to Jrue and Giannis and everybody, really, I think continuing to find him and put him in a good spot. Every night it can be somebody different. That's the great part of a good team. I think the great part is that Khris knows and understands it and trusts it.
Q. When you lose a game in the playoffs, it feels like the focus is always, what are the adjustments going to be and what will you do differently the next game. You've obviously won two in a row. What do you work on in the next two days? Is it more mental preparation? Are you still looking for strategic adjustments? What do you focus on leading into this game?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think sometimes the attention to detail, whether it's an actual adjustment or just continue to get better at what you're doing. There's lots of areas where we can improve that aren't necessarily change, and there's sometimes where you have to talk and work and be prepared for if you are going to change something and everybody being on the same page.
And to some degree, you get to this stage, it's time to go play. So it's kind of a little of all of that. We probably lean heavier on, let's just go play and let's just trust what we've been doing all year and let's trust our habits. But there's attention to detail and there's areas where we feel like we can get better and improve.
Q. Giannis has been one of the league leaders in charges over the last couple of seasons, but it seems like he's cleaned that up a little bit, particularly in the Finals. What is the process or conversations been like to give him, let's say, more finesse when he's driving to the basket?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: It's mostly Giannis growing and evolving. He's a very, very smart player. There's a lot of areas where I think his game is maturing or has matured, and I think that's like a tangible one that you can feel.
I think he's comfortable getting to a lot of different spots. Hopefully the players around him are helping. It's just, I think, a growth. Some conversations with coaches, film, all that, emphasizing spacing for him, for us. It's a little bit of all that. But it's mostly Giannis.
Q. Coming back to square in the Finals, it's a best-of-three series now. What is the plan to get ahead of the Suns in their own house?
MIKE BUDENHOLZER: We've got to play. We've got to go get stops. Find a way to limit, just make everything hard on them defensively. I think when we are good defensively -- a lot of things we talk about: transition defense, keeping them off the free throw line, things like that. And then we can get out and play fast, play with space. Just all the things it takes to win a game, we've just got to do that tonight. On the road, it's not any different. So that's the challenge.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports