July 16, 2021
Q. In light of everything that's gone on in Vegas with Team USA, I wanted to see where your mind is at with that commitment?
DEVIN BOOKER: Still there. Commitment's there. Every time I've spoke about Team USA, I've said it's an honor to be a part of it. But especially at the point of season that we're in, my main focus is to our team in-house right here.
Q. Obviously the home team has won all four of these Finals games. You have two of the last three at home. Do you still feel in control of this series, or does this feel different than it did a few days ago?
DEVIN BOOKER: I said it in one of my previous interviews: The playoffs is an emotional roller coaster as it is. Every series that we've been a part of, even the sweep in Denver, playing each different game takes on its own personality and its own home game.
There's never a game that's the same. There's never a day that's the same in the playoffs. There's always new adjustments, new plays, understanding home versus away. There's a lot of factors that go into it.
But each game feels pretty much different.
Q. How have you seen Chris respond these last 48 hours? Kind of a tough game in Game 4.
DEVIN BOOKER: Just getting ready for the next one. That's all you can do. That's what we're focused on as a team. Obviously that's a tough, emotional loss for us, but we move on to the next one. Next-game mentality for us.
Q. Has anyone been especially vocal on your guys' group chat over the last 48 hours? What is being said amongst you guys now?
DEVIN BOOKER: We're always vocal as a team with each another. Win, lose or draw, we try to keep the mindset and the energy the same. Keep it consistent.
I think whichever team is most level throughout all the commotion of the playoffs typically succeeds the most.
I'm going to keep our conversations as a team in-house, as we do. But we're motivated. We're embracing this moment. I don't think at the beginning of the season anybody in this room or anybody in this league expected us to be in the situation that we're in.
We're excited for it.
Q. I can remember you and Willie (Green) playing one-on-one last year in the old practice facility, him really giving you a push. What is it like now seeing this journey that he's on, about to embark on a new one?
DEVIN BOOKER: Man, it's hard to put words to it. Just excited for him first, his family. We've been through a lot in these two years or year and a half of spending a lot of time together. We've developed a relationship. I respect him to the fullest.
New Orleans is going to have a really good guy on their hands that is taking control in leading that group. So obviously it's always tough to lose somebody like that out of the organization, but you look at the bigger picture. You know how he's going to be able to take care of his family. I'm sure it's been something he's been working for, wanting to get to for a very long time.
Q. I know you reiterated the Team USA commitment. More broad than that, you see what's happening in the world, country, all 50 states are going up again for the first time. As a guy who knows how special this opportunity is, is it on your mind that you've been impacted when Chris had his COVID issue, and now y'all are trying to finish this job and the landscape is changing a little bit? Is there anxiety that comes with that?
DEVIN BOOKER: You just have to control what you can control. Obviously, there's a (flare-up) through the United States, like you said. Taking the precautions we need to, staying out of the way. Treating it as when it first flared up for the first time. Staying safe. Especially with a week or two left in the season, this isn't the time that we need that.
Q. Does it change the way you guys move at all, even on the road, being in public occasionally?
DEVIN BOOKER: I haven't occasionally been in public, to be honest.
Q. You didn't hit the Public Market out in Milwaukee?
DEVIN BOOKER: No. Didn't leave the hotel there (smiling). That's how it is, man. We're getting tested every day. We're amongst each other every day. There's nothing more than that.
Q. It's been about two months since the first playoff game when you guys faced the Lakers. This is your first playoff experience. Does this feel like an eternity, all four rounds, or does it feel like it's flown by?
DEVIN BOOKER: It feels like we've been in it for a minute. But it's fun. Like I said, every day is different, so it makes it feel even longer. Every day is a new task. Every day is a new adventure.
I think that's why it feels like it's going on longer than it's really been, because there's a lot of emotions to each day. There's a lot of focus every day. Even our off-days are all getting ready for the next game. They take up all 24 hours. But it's fun time.
Q. Do you think it's been even longer because, like you said, you don't leave your hotel in Milwaukee, staring at the clock waiting to practice or play?
DEVIN BOOKER: Yes, practice or play. Yeah, that's what most of it is. That's good. That makes it well worth it when the ball gets tipped up, the anticipation for the last 48, 72 hours of either getting a chance to win another game or bounce back from losing a game.
Q. You bounced back very well from Game 3 to Game 4. As a professional athlete, how difficult is it to adjust everything in 24 hours or 48 hours mentally?
DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah, everything is going to be difficult. We understand that as a group. That's the first thing we always say, that this isn't going to be easy. We said that at the beginning of the playoffs. Now we're in the NBA Finals. We know if we want -- I mean, you guys heard what Coach said: Everything you want is on the other side of hard. We know if we want to do as a team, it's not going to be easy at all.
Just get that out of your head. Embrace the moment. Understand that this is it. It's going to be tough, but you have to overcome obstacles.
Q. Do you guys treat tomorrow's game as a must-win game?
DEVIN BOOKER: Every game we have. Every game is a must-win for us.
Q. You said so much during the playoffs that these are obviously the games you've been waiting to play in, show yourself on this stage. When did it click in your mind, Okay, yeah, this is coming? I'm going to have that opportunity now this season?
DEVIN BOOKER: Really at the end of last season when we developed what we developed in the bubble, then made the additions to the roster that we did. I knew that we were going to be in some big games at some point. We're here now.
Q. You also talked about visualizing being in these types of moments. Has the Finals been what you visualized it would be? What are you visualizing now as you think about trying to finish the job?
DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah, I talked about visualization, imagination a lot. I think that prepares you for these moments. But experience is the best teacher. Getting the chance to be out there in the fire is what you're going to learn from most. I wouldn't say it's exactly the same, but the approach is there. Like I said, every game comes with its new personalities.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports