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July 16, 2021

Mike Budenholzer

Milwaukee Bucks

Practice Day

Q. For as long as I've of covered this team, when you talk about Khris, it's, Khris is great, but... There's some qualifier where he's not quite good enough. He had 40 points in a Finals game, two quarters with 20 points in a playoffs. What has it meant for you to have him come through at this level to that high of an elite level, to kind of have him have this spotlight for the moment?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: It's special for him. He's just doing whatever it takes to help us win. His care factor every day is high.

Making sure it wasn't me that said "but." The way you started that question (smiling).

I'm excited for him. I think we're more just now getting ready to play a Game 5, keeping him in a good place, knowing every game is different. We need different things from different guys. But he's ready to give us whatever it takes.

Q. You had your backs against the wall against the Heat last year and weren't able to respond this way. So often this season you've had your backs against the wall and responded. What is different about this year's team?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: It's a good group. High character. I think there's a ton of talent. The roster is versatile. There's a physicality. It's just a really good team. Good teams with good character -- credit to them; they've been able to respond and be resilient. It's a big part of who we are.

Q. Obviously going small, shuffling lineups is not new. What have you liked with Jeff coming in these last few games? When you go small, what has he provided, even if it's not a stat sheet filler, if you will?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I think just having another ball handler out there, another guy that can maybe initiate offense, keep us moving, get us organized.

Then defensively I think the ability to disrupt the ball, have a presence on the ball, be able to change the matchups, put different guys on different people.

He is in an important place in this series. We're looking for more from him going forward. The fact that Jrue can play off the ball. Really when you play with Giannis and Khris, it's another guy that can handle it. To play point guard with our group, you got to be able to do a little bit of both: play with it, play without it. Jrue can do that. Jeff can do that. Defensively they can help us guard different guys.

Q. In general, as Brook's minutes have shortened up here the last few games, what have you liked about the smaller lineup you've gone with, regardless of which combination it is?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: It's been a group that we've used some through the playoffs. Again, we talk about the versatility. Guys can match up a little bit differently. Offensively, maybe we can do things a little bit different. It's just a good change of pace. It's a good, different look.

We got to rebound out of it. Giannis' ability to rebound, but when Pat is playing, Khris going and getting 50/50 balls, Jrue coming up with a big rebound, P.J.'s physicality.

Defensively, I think there's a lot of versatility with that smaller, whatever the combination is. Then offensively, similar. We can play a little bit different.

Each game has been different, though. Bobby, I thought was good. In our vernacular, we don't consider that small. I think it's been Brook, Bobby, Giannis, P.J., smalls, all that. Each game has been a little bit different.

Q. How many times have you watched maybe the final two minutes of Game 4? Are you able to watch it in an enjoyable way? Are you watching it as a coach? Can you appreciate a moment later what was happening? Maybe along those lines, you can't be into this 24/7, or maybe you are. What do you like to do? How do you get away from it to free yourself up, get your mind away from the game for a minute?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yeah, at this stage you don't really watch any film or game with that kind of just, like, let me kick back and enjoy it. We've watched many of the clips multiple times, trying to figure out can we do better, can we make sure we're executing, whether it's the last two minutes, last five minutes, really the whole game.

It's just more critical, looking at it from that critical lens. What do we need to be prepared for, what do we need to do. That's kind of the film.

I've actually just been walking a lot, which doesn't sound very fun or anything. Walking with headphones, whatever city. Here, I do the treadmill a little bit more. It's kind of hot outside. In Milwaukee, it's been nice to walk. Getting a nice meal, a nice glass of wine, being with my family, enjoying my kids, everything.

I try and put it away, just be like a normal person. Whatever you guys like to do, I'm probably somewhere close. A good meal is always at the top of my list.

Q. Are you listening to an audiobook? Music on?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: More music. Just trying to check out and listen to some music.

Q. Obviously late in that game there was the missed call on Devin Booker on the fast break. In that moment, is it difficult to keep your composure? Is there a part of you that wants to run out on the court, What's going on? Are you thinking, I can't get a tech? How difficult is it not to react in a moment like that?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: I'd probably throw myself into the referee's position or shoes a little bit. In the heat of the moment, I didn't think it was as gross or as bad as maybe we're all looking at it -- it's been a topic of conversation and questions.

In the moment, I think our team tries to go to the next play. Our team tries to focus on what's next. If you spend too much time worrying about a missed call or something like that, it can have a really negative impact on you going forward.

I don't know that I did that, but I'm going to give myself -- that's my excuse, is in the heat of the moment I didn't see it being as gross as the rest of the world probably did. That's probably maybe why the officials didn't call it. I think they've been good about being honest about it since.

In general, I think as a team, as a coach, there's moments to complain and all that stuff. But you got to get to the next play. These guys, it's a tough game to referee. Players got to keep playing. I got to keep coaching.

Q. You mentioned you can't dwell on it. Did that play come up in a huddle or anything like that? Is it something you have to remind the guys not to think about it, or is it immediately a non-factor?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Again, in the moment I was a little bit in the dark or not quite as locked -- like, we went to the timeout. Jrue was pretty upset. Jrue was having conversations with the referee. I didn't say anything to Jrue, but my mind is like, Jrue, we just need to get ready for the next play. You can't go back. Things aren't going to change. You just kind of got to move on, move to the next play.

For good reason, Jrue is upset. I think the officials are good. There's a professionalism. There's conversations. But you got to just move to the next play.

Q. This has been the COVID season. You guys have had it in front of you all year. It's not that that has necessarily changed. You see what's happening with Team USA, baseball games getting postponed, you see today it was reported that all 50 states have gone up again. With that chance you have to win a championship, does it cross your mind, Let's just do everything we got to do to get it over the finish line here?

MIKE BUDENHOLZER: Yes. We've had some conversations. We've actually had conversations throughout the entire season, like you've referenced. The start of the Playoffs, as you've gone from round to round and just within the last two, three, four days.

I mean, we are aware. We live in this world. Whether it's all 50 states going up or things that are happening closer to us at home. I think all the players, I think they're locked in, being safe, being healthy. Hoping for the best for everybody around us and our country.

But, yeah, there's a real push to stay safe, to stay healthy, to be vigilant. Both teams, we're very, very close to the finish. We're excited about finishing this strong.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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