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July 17, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Game 5: Pregame

Q. Just what are the keys you feel like tonight now that you've had a couple days to get ready for Game 5?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I mean, it's certainly the things that we talked about the other day but that's the same for both teams: Rebound, take care of the ball, play with a great deal of force and will and grit for 48 minutes. We had segments the other night where the level of play wasn't as hard as we were used to in this building and on the road, for that matter. So, we have to play with a great deal of force, poise and smarts for 48 or as close to that as possible.

Q. When you look at the way Devin played and then with the foul trouble, do you even have that foul trouble conversation with him or do you just say, hey, that's one game, just be alert of this or that when you're out there?

MONTY WILLIAMS: No, we talked about a couple of situations where he could have -- you just have to be careful. The one time when he blocked out Tucker and all of a sudden Tucker falls down, you know, that was, that's just savvy on Tucker's part. So, you just have to be aware of those situations. Both teams are using everything to get a win and that's what this time of the year is.

So, we always talk about those situations but not in a, "you better do this" type. It's like, look, think about this and Book's always open to those kind of reminders because he knows I never come to any of our guys without something that I haven't given a lot of thought to.

Q. You want that number for threes up from 23 from Game 4, when you watch back the film on the games where you guys do generate a lot of them, what are the main things you see the team doing well to generate a number in the 30s and 40s?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Getting to the paint. It's no different than any other team. Transition, obviously, but when we're able to get to the paint and play in paint to great that's typically a way for us to generate threes. DA's dives generate threes. Torrey did a really good job diving the other day, and that can generate threes for us as well.

Q. This series is going six and possibly seven, it's a tense environment, you're looking at film and adjustments every day but I'm curious what have you been doing personally when you've had time off to unplug a little bit?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Who do you write for, Boring.com? (Laughter). You don't want to know what I do in my spare time, it's not that --

Q. I'm curious, I don't know.

MONTY WILLIAMS: Well, just, I'm at the house, you know? My kids make fun of me and I read and then I get back to work. I'll go outside with my dogs. Reading is something that I do more reading now than I did in college, I can't believe I'm admitting that. I didn't know what a syllabus was until I got to college. But I just enjoy time with my family goofing around and at night we have devo’s, devotionals at night where we talk, where we read a bible verse and we talk about the Lord and his impact on our lives and what he's done for us and it's been really cool to talk to my children about the stresses and fears and all the stuff that I've gone through the last two months, because they look at me as big as I am, you know, in a certain way and I think it's cool, especially with my boys, to teach them it's okay to be fearful, but not let those fears stop you.

So, the conversations with my kids the last few weeks have been really, really cool. So, that's probably the most enjoyable thing I do. It allows me to get away from this a little bit.

Q. I know there's been a lot of restrictions all season but outside of work at the facility have you guys been able to do any team-building type of stuff during the postseason?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Nothing. Outside of what the guys are doing at the hotel, they have eating areas for us and guys will go down there, but at this point you're trying to be as safe as you can. You look around the country and the virus is still having an effect on people, having an effect on our country, so it's really hard to do that. So not much.

Q. What are you reading right now?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I just do a John MacArthur bible study. It's a bible in a year, and I tend to have a number of books that I start but rarely finish. Reading a guy, Voddie Baucham, called Fault Lines. It just talks about how we may interpret social justice correctly or incorrectly based on our history, based on what you've been through, that kind of thing. So, it's something that I've really had to question, am I right, am I looking at it the right way and my own shameful prejudices that I have to admit that I have, and it's helped me to internally look at myself and try to be more loving in areas where I wasn't. So, I really enjoy his insight.

Q. On a different topic, just you mentioned this these two months have been stressful a grind all of that, and people talk about the season being that way, that it's a grind and it's a long road, but when you know that there's at least two games left but at most three when you really are kind of reaching the end, is that just weird to think about, is that just create an extra sense of urgency? Like how do you kind of mentally wrap your brain around that yourself, and what do you sort of tell the team about that, that you really are getting to the finish line, one way or the other?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Well, I think Doc sent me a text, Rivers, a week or so ago and he kind of hit it on the head: Pressure is a privilege, and that's what we have always said to our guys. Like we want to be in this position, as hard as it is, this is what you want. You're not going to find greatness on a beach. You're going to find it in the struggle. That's what we have told our guys from day one getting past hard. I think that's helped all of us get ourselves conditioned for these kinds of moments.

Q. Wanted to get your thoughts on African American coaches getting hired. Over the last couple months and all but one of the positions going to not only black coaches but certainly qualified black coaches.

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I think the last few weeks have been really cool in that regard. The way I look at it is I just wanted everybody to have the same opportunities to get a job and I just think it's important that African Americans, White, Brown, it doesn't matter, I just wish that every team would have a lengthy process so that guys would get the experience, that's how I view it. I think when teams just pick a guy and not allow for younger coaches and African American coaches to at least go through the process, it's hard, because we all need that experience so you can learn like what I need to do, where my strengths are, where my weaknesses are.

So I think the process is important for all coaches and as I've been pretty open about, I'm not looking for a leg up, I'm just looking for equal ground for everybody. So it has been pretty cool to see Chauncey [Billups] and Ime [Udoka] and guys that I've known for a while get an opportunity to be a head coach. At the same time I just want everybody to be on the same equal playing field as it relates to opportunities.

Q. Why was it important for you during this strenuous time to celebrate Willie [Green] after practice?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I mean, we celebrate everything. That's our deal. But it was really cool to do that for Willie because he's meant so much to the program and he and Tara are going to be sorely missed and he's like family to me. I don't know if it's well documented, but I played with him and I was his vet, and then I coached him and then we worked together. To see him be in that position and go back to a place where I used to be the head coach is like, holy toes, like that's pretty cool. So, I just thought we would take some time to celebrate something that we felt like was important.

Q. Just to follow that up I'm sure that you got advice from Nate [McMillan] when you were getting ready to go for your first head coaching job. What things did you talk to Willie about, just going through the process of him getting the opportunity?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, just don't do some of the stuff I did. You don’t want to have a -- don't be as brash and direct and black and white all the time. Sometimes you got to finesse your answers a little bit so you can keep their attention. And I haven't always -- I've learned to tone it down a little bit. But Pop and Nate have always told me to just be myself and that's good enough. And that's what I told Willie, just be you. And then I gave him a few pointers and things that I thought could help him. But Willie is his own man and who he is is good enough.

Q. You said a lot of really interesting things about the pressure that this stage goes along with. I'm curious, over the years how has your approach to pressure kind of changed and matured just through everything you've been through?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I guess as you get older you just learn to embrace it. Early on you don't really know what it is, because you're so young and you're not in the position where the pressure is directly on you and so you don't even know how to deal with it, because you're not dealing with it, you're watching Patrick Ewing deal with it, you're watching Tim Duncan deal with it and Pop deal with it. And then you get into your own situations and you have a bigger leadership role you just learn like, this is just normal and that's where the good stuff is. So you just kind of look for it, to be honest with you, because that's where you find out a lot about yourself, but you also have a chance to get the big prize, it's somewhere around that pressure.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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