July 19, 2021
Q. I know Devin was asked about this the other day, I know where your focus is right now, but will you give yourself a few minutes to think or reconsider Team USA considering what they’re going through, the world is going through, or are you kind of all-in on that and when you get to it, you will?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I mean, I watch the games.
Q. With the Bradley [Beal] situation, obviously the COVID --
JRUE HOLIDAY: I heard about all that, yeah. Fortunately for me, I'm in probably one of the biggest games of my career, this coming-up game.
Q. Speaking of it, you've had the three close-outs on the road, is there any different mental situation? I know you're trying to treat it like it's any other game, however you just said, it's not. So is there -- what's your balance of trying to keep it normal but also I guess as you guys have said, stay in the moment and know where you're at?
JRUE HOLIDAY: Honestly, I think it's about playing desperate. Playing like it's the last game of the season. Like our back’s against the wall. Like we said, we got a good win that fifth game, but the job is not done.
Yes, there would be no better place to do it than at home but we also have a team over there that doesn't give up and plays well together. I guess we have an opportunity, and we've just got to really focus on it and play for ourselves.
Q. You're averaging 17 transition points and had 21 in Game 5. What have been the keys to that?
JRUE HOLIDAY: I think it's just being aggressive defensively without fouling. I think those first couple of games, we put a lot of people on the free throw line but I think getting stops really helps us in transition, and again, we have great floor spacing, a lot of weapons, people who can get to the basket and people who can shoot threes, and when we move the ball in transition, it's pretty tough to guard.
Q. Obviously, much is made of the last lob to Giannis, but you slowed it down to give him that space to get to that spot. Just maybe take me through that for you. Was that going in slow motion for you because that's obviously a pivotal point in the game. Maybe take me through that?
JRUE HOLIDAY: Honestly after the steal, I think I looked behind me to see if anybody was coming. I think I looked up at the clock to see how much time was left and I was going to back it out, and I just saw Giannis running and he was calling for it. At that point it was me, him and Khris, maybe Tuck was back there, too, but me, him and Khris and I threw it up as high as I could just so that he can get it.
Q. How did you weigh the different variables of ultimately playing for Team USA, just knowing the compressed schedule but also wanting to take advantage of the opportunity?
JRUE HOLIDAY: Honestly I felt like I just wasn't going to stop playing. Just continue playing basketball, which is what I love to do.
Yes, there is a component of playing for your country, playing for your family, my wife being a two-time Olympian, who is also a factor. But I think not having a break and just feeling like, well, we're in the Finals, why not just continue playing basketball.
Q. What's your approach with being able to navigate this through a tight schedule?
JRUE HOLIDAY: Win the Championship. And just go from there. I feel like the goal for us and one of the dreams for me since I was a little kid was winning an NBA Championship. That's the main focus and that's what I'm focused on right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports