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July 19, 2021

Monty Williams

Phoenix Suns

Practice Day

Q. You always go back and look at the film and get a better grasp. What did you see that you feel like wasn't working and can be improved upon for Game 6?

MONTY WILLIAMS: There were obvious breakdowns, but that's every game. The second quarter, there were a few vanilla possessions on offense that put us in a bind. But I also saw a lot of resilience and a no-quit attitude even in those moments. For us to be able to cut it to one point, you know that was the thing that stuck out to me and gives our staff and team a lot of confidence as we go into this Game 6.

Q. They have been averaging like 17 fast break points. Is that something that you feel like they're just executing, or how much of that is what you guys maybe aren't doing?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Both. It's certainly a point of focus as we go forward, for sure. Last year we were No. 1 in that. This year with the focus on trying to get more possessions from an offensive rebounding component, that probably lends itself to some of that. But when we watched the film, a lot of it was just communication. We were back, didn't communicate well. They forced the issue. I think in the first half they got like five threes off of that environment. So some of us, but a lot of them.

Q. Going into Game 5, you had that message with the guys that you put yourselves here and you said I mean that in a good way. That whole idea of making sure the spirits didn't dip. And then you drop a game that was incredibly emotional and tight. Now you're on the road, but you also know that if you guys do pull this off, everything flips. Is it a similar speech? The mental part of the game, how do you handle that going into Game 6?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I think our culture allows for that. From day one when we got there, we said we weren't going to allow wins or losses to dictate the culture and the spirit of our gym. Now when you lose in the playoffs, there's a natural tendency to allow it to dip a little bit because we're all human. But I think we have a level of bounce-back on our team and the organization that allows for us to get the spirit back.

I saw yesterday when we got on the plane, the guys had the same look in their eyes. When I came down this morning for meetings, guys were down there talking, having breakfast. It was pretty cool to watch. So those kinds of losses are hard, but if you're going to do anything big, you have to overcome those kinds of hards. I don't know of any team that has won a championship that has just kind of strolled into it. So our guys, we have talked about that, the deep playoff hurts that happen and the ability to bounce back from that.

Q. As a follow-up on that, the Bucks have gone through heartbreaks the past couple of years, and you guys are sort of going through this for the first time. How do you manage sort of learning on the fly for some of your guys, outside of like Chris and Jae, and make sure that the process can be sped up a little bit as opposed to this being the playoff heartbreak?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, we don't have that level of experience, but we have experience nonetheless. We don't have guys who have been in these situations, but we have guys who have played on big stages before and they understand probably more than people think. Because in college, it was one game and you're out. Mikal has been in that situation at Villanova. So I think the combination of that and the grit and the want to win serves us well.

It's not the best situation and we all know that, but we're in the Finals. This is not the beginning of the season where you lose three or four in a row. We're in the Finals. We got here for a reason and our guys can glean confidence from that.

Q. Have you seen the inexperience a little bit at times in this series where maybe an offensive rebound or a stretch like, man, if we were a little more mature ... Have you seen that in a moment?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I wouldn't label it that way. It's just breakdowns that happen in the game. It would be really like cruel of me to look at it like that. You know what I'm saying? Like, something happened, oh, that's inexperience. No, that's just breakdowns that happen over the course of a game, especially when our guys know what we want to do. Breakdowns just happen.

Q. During the second round I remember P.J. explaining to me -- Kevin Durant was going for 40, 45 and he explained to me that he doesn't get mad when KD scores; he gets mad when the Bucks overhelp and they let everyone else get involved. They're doing something similar to Devin in that they're going to let him work one-on-one, they're going to let him try to score but they're going it to try to shut everybody else up. How do you try to bring that kind of concept back together?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Do you think I'm going to tell you right now? (Laughing.)

Q. Right. But I guess, I guess just Devin's mindset?

MONTY WILLIAMS: That would be like --

Q. Like how do you try to -- there's the idea that like I'm getting buckets.

MONTY WILLIAMS: No, your point is well taken. I think the one thing that we have been -- we have had a good balance of the kind of play that Devin brings, but we have also had the ball movement that can break you down. We have talked about that. We saw it in the fourth quarter, where the ball was whipping around the gym. That's basically how we cut (the deficit). And so the balance of that, but at the same time I do not want to get in the way of the gift that our one-on-one players have, because that's why we are here. We wouldn't be in this position if Chris and Devin couldn't create their own shots. That's a fact. We also have to have that balance of them doing that but then creating it for other people. The way you do that, in my opinion, is you get stops. That way the creation is in transition. And then when we need those guys to go get a bucket, they go get it.

Milwaukee is no different. I mean, Giannis can dribble the ball five, six, seven times and go get his own shot. Khris does the same. So we're trying to probably do the same thing to them.

Q. To stay on the topic of Book, you mentioned throughout the course of the playoffs that he's not afraid of the moment. That's been shown over and over again. But what else do you feel like you've learned about him just going through this playoff run and getting to this point?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I think the level of trust he has in me is different than when I first got here. Not that he didn't trust me; he just had no reason to. Now our communication in timeouts, our communication on the floor, the look, when I call him during the game, in his eye, it's different. I think our relationship has grown. You look at the time since I've been in Phoenix, we have been through a lot together -- bubble, COVID, a lot of stuff. I feel like we had four, five seasons already. He and I have been in lock step the whole time. So I think the trust between us is -- I don't want to say better; it's just at a different place.

Q. On a different note to go back to one of your first answers, just that it's easy to forget with how the game ended the other night that you guys did overcome a 10-point deficit to have a chance with the ball to take the lead. Just what do you feel like unlocked during that little spurt to kind of get you back in the game? Are there things that you feel like you can carry over now or things that you saw that you're like, oh this can help us moving forward?

MONTY WILLIAMS: Yeah, I watched it like, I don't know how many times. I would love to tell you. I don't know. I'm just being straight. You can look and say, okay, we played hard, we moved the ball, we got stops, they missed free throws, we contested. Probably all of those things. But for me to sit here and try to come up with an answer to fill it, I have no idea. I just know that that's what happened in that (stretch).

But to say it's like one thing, I don't think you can. There were a lot of things that happened in that, what was it, a little over three minutes. We just stayed the course, pounded the rock and it started to go our way a little bit.

Q. When you guys first came to Milwaukee for Game 3 you said, we got to play like the desperate team. Now you are the desperate team. You're trailing in the series and it's the first time you trailed in a series since the first round. I know we asked you a couple weeks ago about that moment being a turning point for this run. You were down 2-1 to the Lakers and then you reel off nine playoff games in a row. What have you seen from your team when they actually have been desperate?

MONTY WILLIAMS: I don't think it's been anything different; I just think it's been more. You know what I'm saying? The focus, the determination, more questions about, hey, this situation, this environment, this concept, it's just -- there's just been more. Our guys have always wanted it, but I think when you're in these moments like this, this is different. This is different than the first time against the Lakers, where it was just 2-1. This is it. I think we're just going to see more, like we have throughout the playoffs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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