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July 20, 2021

Pat Connaughton

Brook Lopez

Milwaukee Bucks

Game 6 Postgame

Milwaukee Bucks 105, Phoenix Suns 98

Q. You've been through a few ups and downs in your career, to get to this point, what was going through your mind as the clock ran down?

BROOK LOPEZ: Obviously, I'm just overjoyed right now but I'm happy for my teammates, you know, the staff, everyone who has worked so hard for this past year, past three years, depending who they were. Everyone put in the work, put in the trust for one another and Coach Bud created such a great culture, a family, and everything like that. I just love all my guys. I'm happy for everyone.

Q. Have you become invested in the city since you've been here? What is it like for you guys to win this championship in front of the home crowd, especially since no Milwaukee team has won a championship on city soil?

PAT CONNAUGHTON: It's incredible. The fans have supported us through thick and thin. They have had our backs as we fought adversity and as we were down 2-0 in this series and down 2-0 in other series.

Just the support you felt in the city throughout this entire playoff run was incredible and to be able to do it and win it and be able to call ourselves world champions in front of our home fans, however many, 17,000, 18,000 in the arena, whoever knows how many were outside the arena, I saw people climbing up on poles and everything.

It's incredible and, city of Milwaukee deserves it and so I'm just proud that I could be part of a team with my teammates that gave it to them.

Q. For you to have just like something tangible that you can point to and serve as a reward for everything you've been through, what does it mean to you to have that?

BROOK LOPEZ: It's incredible. It's a testament to the team. I'm a team guy. I've always been a team guy. And so you know, like I was saying earlier, it's something that all our guys deserve, and to see them persevere, we went 0-2 against Brooklyn, 0-1 against Atlanta and 0-2 to open the series against the Suns, and to see our guys fight back and make adjustments and keep that belief in one another, that's special and not something you get with everything team.

I've seen that through my 13 years in the league that this team is absolutely one of a kind and I am just fortunate and pleased to be part of that.

Q. Since you don't want to talk about yourself, I'll ask you to talk about Giannis because you're good at it and you tend to really let it go. Fifty points in a close out game of the NBA Finals, can you put that into words?

BROOK LOPEZ: I don't know how many words you need to use beyond 50 points in a close out game in an NBA Finals. Pretty much sums it all up. It's so indicative of who Giannis is as a player, as a person. He had to -- he has that mindset always to just take care of business and he's been our leader throughout my time.

To have him as a focal point of everything we do and the way he goes about it, it's just contagious with the whole team, and he's so impressive night-in and night-out.

I mean, I told you before, this is stuff you don't want to take for granted. But that's Giannis. That's what he does, and it's just, I mean, completely awe-inspiring. His performance tonight, this whole series, this whole year, there's no words for that. You've just got to look at the numbers.

Q. You all certainly know a lot better than anybody else what Giannis was going through physically since the Hawks game with the injury. How much was he hurting and what was he having to go through to get on the floor and play the way he has these last couple weeks?

PAT CONNAUGHTON: You know, I don't know, but I know that he put himself in a position to get back. He did what he does. He's a freak. He's always been a freak, and the things that he does in the weight room, the things that he does in physical therapy, the things he does to put his body in a position to go through the beating he goes through on a nightly basis, couple that with a hyperextended knee, for him to be back in a game in the Finals in general was freakish.

And then for him to do what he did throughout this Finals was incredible. It's kind of as Brook said, it's awesome to have a front row seat to it and awesome to watch it and it's incredible because he's an even better human being than he is a basketball player. We've all seen what he does on the biggest stage now after winning his first NBA Finals championship and being the Finals MVP, but he's an even better person.

So, to go out there and lay it on the line and have our back both when he was in the games, when he came back from the hyperextended knee, but how vocal he was during the games that he missed that got us to the Finals, just shows growth in leadership and shows that he's one of a kind.

Q. I know if you won 65 games it would be just as satisfying if you were sitting here, but knowing what you started to do this season with COVID and the pandemic and the changes to schemes and systems and what Bud did and what the coaches asked you individually to do, can you process that right now?

BROOK LOPEZ: I honestly think all that stuff that you mentioned, the COVID, the new schemes, things like that, new players, a lot of that uncertainty and those differences, they made all the difference. That's what made us better, going through all that absolutely I think prepared us for this journey.

And again, you know, we had our backs against the wall multiple times and I think we can absolutely look back on those earlier moments in the season and see where we grew as a team as individual players and all that paid off in the long run.

Q. P.J. talked the other day about how it's been everybody up and down the roster, Giannis mentioned the rookies and guys making plays that are on the stats sheet or not. When did you sense the total buy-in? Was it early in camp?

PAT CONNAUGHTON: That's just the character of the team that we have. You know, it's the group of guys that make up the Milwaukee Bucks and not just the players but the coaches, the management, the ownership.

At the end of the day, the guys that have been here for three years, we've had a taste of it, of what it looks like in the regular season, Brook and I's first year where he got a look at what it was like to get to the Eastern Conference Finals and take a lead, but everything Brook just mentioned and some of the adversity from a four or five losing game we had in regular season to losing some games, the character of the team never wavered. We came together stronger and had each other's backs more and that's what makes up a championship-caliber roster and team and that's what wins you a championship.

That is what made us better is just the character of the guys, the characters of guys like Brook, the characters of guys like P.J. and Bobby and guys that they don't really care what it looks like on the stats sheet. They just want to make winning plays. They want to be out playing and putting ourselves in the best position to in.

BROOK LOPEZ: If I can piggyback off PC for a second, you talk about that unselfishness, but Bobby went from not playing in the Brooklyn series, essentially the last three or four games, whatever it was, I'm not exactly sure, but to being such a huge contributor in the Atlanta series, in this series against Phoenix; that's the kind of selflessness and unselfishness that the entire team has.

I'm just using that as an example obviously but guys are not concerned about their minutes. Not concerned whether they are playing out on the perimeter, in the post, whatever it is. You just have to buy into your roles, and we did have that complete buy-in that you mentioned.

Q. With Giannis, how have you seen him change or grow and what's different?

PAT CONNAUGHTON: I would just say I've seen his growth as a vocal leader in the three years. Everyone can see the physical transformation he's made since the beginning and everyone can see the growth he's made in his skill set over the years.

Everyone can see the hard work he puts in physically and he has always been our leader but vocally he's taking great steps forward. He knows when and how to use his voice and he knows that guys respond to his voice and I think over the three years that would probably be the biggest thing I've seen,.

And I think it showed its head most in that Atlanta series when he was he was on the bench and doing stuff like, doesn't always happen in the NBA, they are not always pulling guys aside and coming out to make sure he talks before we go out on the court.

Q. This climb up the mountain, one of the differences in the series, you nearly doubled the number of offensive rebounds that Phoenix had and I know that -- to really move the offensive rebounds, how much of a weapon was that for you all in the series and do you think it had a key role in turning the series at some point?

BROOK LOPEZ: Yeah, because you know, we definitely, obviously have a lot of guys who were super capable and I'm sitting right next to one of them, made an absolute difference on the offensive boards throughout the entire season. That shows for Bud�s willingness to adapt, to change because our whole system, we had that overhaul in the offseason, we went from five-out to having that dunker spot and he was encouraging the guys to go in and crash the offensive glass as much as they possibly could and it made a huge difference. It completely changed the way we play ballgames.

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