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July 17, 2021

Jrue Holiday

Milwaukee Bucks

Game 5 Postgame

Milwaukee Bucks 123, Phoenix Suns 119

Q. Jrue, just for you on that final play, what did you see on it that you thought you might be able to get the rip and get in there and get that steal?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Honestly it was great team defense. I feel like we knew Booker wanted to take that last shot and played great defense on him and made him turn his back and he turned right into me. I guess I was just in the right place at the right time.

Q. Is there anything in this series you've seen, that spin from him, that you knew like if Tuck can turn him, he's going to come back? Was there anything like that? Everyone has talked about how it's an instinctual play only Jrue could make. What led your instincts to that?

JRUE HOLIDAY: No, first I thought he was going to shoot it and I was going to be behind him and try to contest or maybe try to bother him. Once he pump-faked, I felt like I should stay down and he literally turned into me.

Again, right place at the right time.

Q. Giannis said watching that block that's was so big against Deandre Ayton wasn't something he interested in doing because it was living in the past, not looking forward. Wondering what your philosophy is, are you going to go back and watch that steal that you had or are you already kind of looking towards what you need to do in Game 6 or is it both?

JRUE HOLIDAY: I'm going to go back and watch the game. It's not going to be particularly that play. But, I think going back and watching the game, learning things that we can do better, we had a pretty big lead for a while and what we can do to kind of co,ntrol the game a little bit better. Had a rough start, what we can do to not have that anymore.

So yeah, not particularly that play but whatever we can do to get better for this next game.

Q. And for getting better for this next game, a lot of folks say that close-out games, whether it's in a series or the title, are the toughest to win. What do you do to prepare for that? How do you process that?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Just continually lock in. We felt like from -- after that second game, we knew that we would get better and gradually get better, and we feel like we have every single game. We came into Phoenix and got a win, which is really hard. This is a tough place to play. The crowd is insane.

So, we've really just got to lock in, not get too high, not get too low.

Q. Wondering, we always talk about aggressiveness with you and you get all sorts of questions about that, but who is in your ear in between these games and in the series telling you how to manage that and how to manage your shots not falling or it is falling? Who do you get advice from?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Everybody. My brothers, my wife, my parents. I think during the game though, most of the time it's probably Vin Baker. Vin Baker is always in my ear continually telling me to be aggressive, continually telling me to pick up full court and make it hard on Chris and Book and continually telling me I'm the greatest. Yeah, I give a lot of credit to him.

Q. What's your dad say?

JRUE HOLIDAY: My dad thinks I'm the best player in the world. So he wants me to take more shots, which a lot of them that I do pass up, but take more shots. He just feels like I can do everything, play 48 minutes, I don't need to come out, I don't need a break. But really just be aggressive the whole game.

Q. That's a good dad.


Q. After you ripped Booker, you bring the ball up past mid-court, most guys would have pulled it out and waited to get fouled in that situation. What got you to, I'm going to throw this oop to Giannis?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Well, that's what I was going to do and Chris I think kind of played in between, but Giannis took off and he was calling for the ball. So at that point, I just threw it as high as I could and only where Giannis could go get it, and he went up there got it.

Q. Was there any part of you that thought you might have thrown a little too high on that one?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Nah. Nah. He's -- I mean, they don't call him the Freak for nothing. I threw it as high as I could.

Q. You guys were rolling offensively for the second quarter and third quarter. Does your mind ever wonder, we might not have to really lock in today, we might win this game offensively, and all of the sudden when it does get close, is it hard to all of a sudden make that kind of play when you haven't had to rely on it for the last 15, 20 minutes?

JRUE HOLIDAY: No, I think we always have a hand or our mind is always on defense. I feel like that's why we've got to this point now. We know they have great scorers over there, and man, Book, he's hit some tough shots and a lot of times there's nothing you can do about it. I do think that we always have our mindset on defense but when we get rolling on both ends, I feel like that's where we kind of get into our groove. You see Pat making big plays, Giannis in transition, Khris knocking down threes, Bobby flexing on people.

I feel like when we're in a groove like that, we kind of keep our heads on. Yes, offensively, we're going, but defensively, we still need to lock in.

Q. You’ve been consistent all the way through the playoffs, whenever you have an off shooting night you’re going to come back and do the same thing again. Was there anything different about today in terms of how you guys as a group got going and in particular in the second quarter when you took control offensively?

JRUE HOLIDAY: No, I think we're -- I think it all started with stops. That first quarter, they came out hitting and they were hot. Crowd was into it. I feel like we got stops and started playing fast, playing faster.

It's a lot easier to play faster when the ball is not going through the hoop. So, getting stops, getting out in transition, just making plays and that's how we like to play.

Q. Speaking of your offense, obviously you had some ups and downs up until this game and you had your best offensive game. When the shots are falling like they were tonight, did you feel a sense of relief to a degree at the beginning of the game or does that thought not really cross your mind?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Doesn't really cross my mind. I feel like at the end of the day, whatever I can do to help my team is most important. I went 4-for-20 the game before and we still won and I know I can do other things to affect the game. I know when my shot is going and I'm trying to make plays for others, it is definitely an added bonus.

Q. About a minute left, Giannis misses those free throws and a couple of you guys checked on him. Is it to the point where even if he has a tough moment like that, you don't question how locked in he's going to be, beacuse in that oop, he's got to be with you to complete that play?

JRUE HOLIDAY: We definitely don't question how locked in he is. I think Monty did a good job of trying to ice him that first free throw he missed and they called that timeout, and those timeouts are really, really long. I think they just did a good job.

Giannis goes up there with confidence every time. You can see it in his face. We definitely had confidence in him. I thought he was going to make both of them.

Q. Going back to the second quarter, you guys are down 16 to start. Giannis is on the bench. The 11-3 run and they call the timeout, it's not often that Bud decides Giannis can still sit here. What did that say to you guys, as that group of five as you're making that run to get back in the game?

JRUE HOLIDAY: We had it going. We had a groove. Just continue to make things happen. I feel like we're playing for each other, and when you're out there doing that, I don't know, sometimes you have to just stick with the people that are out there.

Yes, Giannis, adding him back into that, I feel like that's where the lead really went up, but when you have guys out there making plays and doing all that, sometimes you've just got to stay with it.

Q. You obviously put in a lot of work in the offseason, both on and off the court, but curious at this level and this stage, are there things that happen during a game or things you find yourself doing that you can kind of trace back to something you added in the offseason or worked on that feels specially rewarding?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Honestly I think it's everything. I think offseason is one of the hardest times. It's where you push yourself. It's honestly where you push yourself to the limit to know how far you can go. And then getting to this point, I feel like it's kind of the reward, being able to be on this stage at this time in front of these crowds and playing against this team. Yeah, it's definitely a blessing just to be healthy and be out there playing.

Q. You mentioned Pat and he's been big the past couple games. How does his skillset blend around you, Giannis and Khris?

JRUE HOLIDAY: Yeah, he doesn't need much. He doesn't need the ball all the time. He knocks down open shots. He's gritty. He gets there into the paint and offensive rebounds, big defensive rebounds, and he's one of those role players that honestly is reliable, one of the most reliable that we have on our team. Pat has been huge for us all year, and he'll continue to do that.

Q. You missed a chunk of time this year with COVID, and I'm curious for you, you mentioned like just the idea of being healthy, being able to do this. What does this feel like, now you're playing 40-plus minutes, Paul, Booker. When you first came back, you were talking about, you felt like your stamina wasn't right and you're not exactly where you need to be. What does this journey feel like that you can go 40 minutes on both those dudes?

JRUE HOLIDAY: I feel like now, you've got to give it your all. We're literally coming down to the last game, game or two. At this point there's no excuses. As long as I don't foul out, I feel like I'm going to be out there on the court and I'm going to give it my all on both ends of the floor.

Q. When Bud took you out early, what did that do to you from a mentality standpoint? When you came out, you were aggressive, and that can be tough when you have foul trouble and get taken out early.

JRUE HOLIDAY: I needed to play smarter. The second foul on Chris, really smart player, he does that coming off the screen where he just stops and falls, that's a foul. Honestly just play smarter, but I know I'm going to be back in there soon. When I go back in there, not pick up my third quick. Just be as smart as I can.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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