July 14, 2021
Game 4 Postgame
Milwaukee Bucks 109, Phoenix Suns 103
Q. Can you just take me through the block?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Just a hustle play. I thought I was going to get dunked on, to be honest with you. But you know, going down the stretch, just do whatever it takes to win the game. Just put yourself in a position that can win the game.
I saw the play coming. I saw that Chris was going to throw the lob and I was just going to jump vertical toward the rim. Hopefully I can be there in time, and I was there in time and was able to get a good block and go down and get two points.
So it was a great hustle play.
Q. It felt like a strange angle, one of those spots where the toss just came out of nowhere. Did it surprise you at all?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: It didn't surprise me. I saw it coming. Once I saw him put it in his one hand, he was too far for a layup. So I knew he was trying to lob, and I committed so much. You risk it. You kind of feel it. I felt him rolling to the rim behind me, so I knew the only chance to get a stop is just jump toward the rim and try to cover that angle for him to score.
Q. And Ayton is so strong, so you legitimately thought as you went up, he was going to dunk it?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Yeah, I was late. Usually a play like that, if I was on the opposite side, it's a dunk. But as I said, I didn't jump to block the ball. I jumped toward the rim. I feel like that's what kind of helped me put me in position to get the block. The rim was right here (motions with his hands) so I jumped right here (motions with his hands). So he could shoot the ball. If he shot the ball to the backboard, it's probably a goaltending. He tried to dunk it, and I was right there earlier than him.
Q. Khris had some big performances last round but for most of them you were watching and tonight you got to be out there with him. What did you see from him and what was that like?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: It was great. He was being aggressive. I kept communicating to him that there were things that we could do to get him wide open, to get him to the elbow jump shot, to get him turning the corner, because usually they are helping a lot when he's turning the corner. But that's what he does down the stretch. We want him to have the ball. We want him to be the decision maker. We know he's going to take big shots, and tonight he was incredible.
Q. You mentioned a hustle play on your end. Can you speak to Pat's defense on Devin where there's a switch late and Devin tried to -- had a contested jumper, Jrue gets that rebound, gets an offensive rebound on the other end. Mental toughness a big part in the last few minutes?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: For sure, for sure. For everybody who was on the floor. We know what kind of game this is. We knew the last three minutes we've got to get stops, take it a possession at a time and just make it as tough as possible. We knew that Devin is going to have the ball and Chris Paul is going to have the ball and we just wanted to make them make a tough play -- maybe drive to the hoop, have a contested layup or a contested two. I think those two guys did a great job.
Jrue did a great job. Pat did a great job. We need them to keep doing that.
Q. You talked about trust for those guys, especially Pat on offense. Is that an example of trust on defense? I don't know if there's an instinct to help too much, but it seemed like it was okay, Pat, this is your assignment and make it tough?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Pat and Jrue and P.J., they can guard. There's going to be times that as bigs, me, Brook, Bobby, we're going to read when we're going to help. Sometimes we over-help and we don't have to. But they have to guard and sit down and move their feet and contest shots and send the guys to the crowd and send the guys to the bigs. I feel like they have been doing a great job.
But we've got to keep doing this together. They have to keep guarding and we have to keep helping. Moving forward, we have to keep doing this.
Q. In the fourth quarter when they are up seven, and you know if you go down 3-1 back there, that's significant. What was going through your mind?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: How bad do you want it? How bad do you really want it. And just leave-the-game-swinging kind of mentality. Try to be aggressive. Try to get stops. Try to set screens. Do everything physically possible to put yourself in a position to win this game.
I think everybody was feeling that. That's what we did. It wasn't a pretty game. But we were just able to keep composure, keep calm. We had wide-open shots that we missed that we usually make. But going down the stretch we kept believing in ourselves. We kept executing, setting screens. We kept running, we kept rebounding the ball, we kept blocking shots. We wanted this bad, and the team showed it tonight. But we've got to keep getting better. Got to keep getting better. We have to keep taking steps forward and keep playing good basketball.
Q. Didn't seem like you were able to get to your spots as much tonight. What changed?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I think I've just got to be more aggressive. I've got to be more aggressive. I have to keep going downhill more. Keep enjoying the game more. Yeah, that's pretty much it.
Q. You and Khris have talked a lot about over the past eight years you've built this thing into what it is and into the players that you are. How did it feel to close out a game like this with him and the way you played down the stretch?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Feels good. Feels good. We've done this a lot of times. You know, there's times that going down the stretch, I've got to trust and he's got to trust me. As I said, we've closed so many games. We've lost a lot of games, but closing a game like this in the NBA Finals, obviously it means a lot. It felt good, but we cannot be satisfied. We've got to keep enjoying the game. Keep playing good basketball.
But to answer your question, it felt good doing that with him down the stretch.
Q. I also wanted to ask you about Khris. I know it doesn't surprise you that he had 10 clutch points because you know him so well, but how happy are you for him? He doesn't flex. He doesn't put anything on himself. He doesn't even dunk. Did you say anything to him, or how happy are you for him?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: I'm proud. I'm proud. I'm very proud. But as I said, it comes down to trust. I trust him. You know, win or lose, I'm okay with it. Usually when you're going down the stretch in a game like this, whatever game you play, you want to take it upon yourself. Win or lose, you're like, okay, I took a shot, I lost the game, I won the game.
But it comes down to trust. That guy right there (in the room), Jrue. I trust Khris. I know they are going to make the right play and I know they are going to deliver the ball when I'm open. But what he did tonight was incredible. We need him to keep doing it. We are within reach of our goals. Hopefully we keep enjoying the game and keep playing good basketball and keep building winning habits that we've built all year and keep trusting our winning habits and make winning plays and hopefully we can put ourselves in a position to win.
Q. You had about 70 seconds left in the game and you finished the block, you flexed and looked at the crowd. What's the feeling, especially after the entire night of grinding to get to where you guys were?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Tough game. Tough game. It wasn't a pretty game, but we grinded through. They played really good, really good. You have to give them credit. But as I said, three minutes before in the timeout in my head, I'm like, you've got to keep making plays; right now, it's how bad do you want it? If they go up 3-1, it's a whole different ballgame.
I feel like it was just emotions. Sometimes I block shots and I run the other way, but I think there was so much emotions into me and I tried to enjoy that moment. And there's sometimes that you have a block, you have a three, whatever, run to the other end. But for me, the way I play, the way I want to play moving forward, I want to enjoy every single moment. That was a moment that I felt like our team was turning it around and we were getting momentum and Khris was hitting big shots. It felt good.
So yeah, to answer your question, it felt good, and the way we were playing felt good at the time.
Q. This was the second game in a row you went out early in the first quarter. Curious what was going on there?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: How do you guys say politely? I wanted to take a tinkle. A tinkle. I wanted to take a tinkle and came back (laughter). That's polite, right?
Q. Both games?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Both games. I wanted to take a tinkle and came back.
Q. Another Khris question. He's such an easygoing, seemingly quiet, even on the court. When did you learn he had such a competitive nature? How did you learn that, and what were the signs that showed there was fire inside?
GIANNIS ANTETOKOUNMPO: Throughout the years, throughout the whole journey with him, I kind of figured it out. We played so many games together. But there was a specific time, I think it was in the playoffs against Toronto. We played at home. I won't say the whole story what happened, but he wasn't feeling great. But he played the game and he gave everything for the team and for us. You know, that's when I realized, yeah, that's the guy I want to be on the line with and go through the journey with.
As I said, throughout the journey, there were a lot of moments. But that was a specific moment that I was like, yeah, that's the dude, that's the dude I want to build a legacy with and be with him. Just be a part of his own journey and he can be a part of my journey, and do this together.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports