July 19, 2021
Q. Now being in this situation, what are the things that you're leaning on? What are the experiences you're trying to draw from when you're in a win-or-go-home situation?
DEVIN BOOKER: I've never really been here before. So I'm just treating it as a series, treating it as I've seen Game 6s happen in the past. There's been Game 7s that have happened in the past. So just us as a team, I just heard Chris say it, just figuring out a way to win our next game. That's our mindset coming in here. That's been our mindset since we -- obviously frustrated after the loss, but wake up the next day, now that loss is behind us and what can we do next.
Q. Besides just thinking, okay, I've seen Game 6s and a series can turn -- we have all seen that before. Are there people you're talking to or is there advice you're seeking outside of the team, or is it more just keeping it in-house at this point?
DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah, we're keeping it in-house. That's been our motto the whole entire season. Our group knows what's at stake. We know what's on the line. So there's no shortcutting it. We're in it right now and we have to figure it out and we have to get it done.
Q. The outside looking in I think when a team goes up 2-0 in the Finals, drops three games, there's this assumption that that's about as demoralizing as it could be. But then Monty just talked a moment ago about what he's seeing behind the scenes and that in terms of the spirit, whether it's meals together and the time you guys are spending on the plane, he's really liked what he saw. Do you agree and just what does that say about your guys' ability to keep your heads in a good place?
DEVIN BOOKER: It says a lot about this group. Like I said, obviously we are frustrated after the loss, but we're the type of team that realizes that that's over. Whatever we do forward is going to determine whatever our future is going to be. So we're going to go out here today -- we haven't watched film yet together as a team yet on the game. So I think that is step one for us in preparing and coming up with a scheme to go out there tomorrow.
Q. We have talked about you waiting to play in this situation. Now you're in a situation that guys you watched have been in and have found a way to get that kind of win. Do you draw from that at all, like, okay, I've seen guys do this, I can do the same or we can do the same as a group?
DEVIN BOOKER: Not really. I mean, we just have our group. It's kind of hard to compare and contrast what LeBron did in the Finals in whatever year, you know what I'm saying? So we have a group that's us and that's how we keep it. We're trying to figure it out right now, how we're going to go out there and do it. We know it's possible with the group that we have and what we have leaned on for most of the season.
Q. Coach has always had the right thing to say to you guys all year. What's that been like to have a coach that's so dialed into it you that once he starts talking you're like, okay, I know exactly what he's trying to get to us?
DEVIN BOOKER: He keeps the energy right. There's no second-guessing what Coach said. You know he has the best interests and you know he's right. So we listen to him. He's somebody that we have leaned on through this whole season, through our locker room, for how we perform on the court, for what you just mentioned -- how we get together as a group very often. So we have a tight-knit group.
Q. In the first two games of the series, which you won, you were taking almost 40 three-pointers a game. As a team over the last three losses, that number has been a lot lower. What are you seeing from the Bucks' defense that has kind of limited those opportunities, and do you think you need more of them in Game 6?
DEVIN BOOKER: Yeah, I think with the team and the capabilities of the shooters that we have on this team that we need to generate more threes. Obviously, they're switching a lot and staying home on shooters. So there's just a way of figuring it out. Putting pressure, causing gravity to open up opportunities, easier opportunities for everybody on this team, because we have a lot of really good shooters on this team.
Q. When the series shifted here for Game 3, Jae Crowder talked about using his Milwaukee roots to get food catered in, keeping you guys close, not sending it out into the night where you would have to interact too much. What has the road experience been like in this series for you guys? Has it been helpful even in terms of keeping the circle tight or is it just different?
DEVIN BOOKER: I mean, we've pretty much been doing this the whole season, of not leaving the hotels and being close to each other. So it's pretty similar to what we have experienced for most of the season.
Q. The Bucks kind of did the same things against the Nets and Kevin Durant where there was a lot switches, a lot of one-on-one and then him scoring a whole lot of points. You're doing the same thing; you're scoring a whole lot of points. You mentioned in response to his question about trying to get other people involved. How do you try to strike that balance? I know maybe it's difficult when you are having as much success as you are.
DEVIN BOOKER: Just take what the defense gives you. Just read what's going on. Just try to make the right play. I think the last three games that we have dropped, we have been in position or had opportunities to win the game. So just taking advantage of whatever our best available shot is or our best available stop is for that possession and doing that.
Q. I know you mentioned time and time again that your focus is on the Finals here, but what's it been like going up against Khris and Jrue knowing that next week you guys are going to be Team USA teammates?
DEVIN BOOKER: A lot of fun. Only basketball that I've been wanting to play for a really long time. So I'm having a lot of fun with it, competing at the highest level that basketball has known. This is a great experience. I'm having a lot of fun with it.
Q. I would guess that for any great player after something like Game 3 where you lose and you've struggled, it's easy to say, okay I have to be better next game. You've been much better the last two games and you haven't won. What is your mindset for what you're supposed to do going into Game 6 now?
DEVIN BOOKER: Be better, as a whole collective group. We all know what's at stake and what's on the line. Everybody is going to have to give a little bit more because what we have done hasn't been enough.
Q. You just mentioned how much fun this is being at the Finals, especially not having made the playoffs. You're getting buckets. You're scoring big. I'm curious, when you're the only person that has it going, what's that mindset like? Is it let me get Mikal a shot or Chris a shot, or is it I got the matchup, this is what I do? Is it a balance between that or just what is it like in the moment when you're the only one that has it going and the lead is getting bigger or the lead is shrinking?
DEVIN BOOKER: Just trying to get the best available shot down. I'm going to keep saying that. That's what our offense tries to do. Whether it's an open shot for somebody else or a mismatch we feel Deandre has with a smaller opponent or if it's somebody that I feel couldn't guard me that possession or whatever it is, it's just trying to get the best available shot for our team in that possession.
Q. In covering these playoffs, it's clear that winning is what matters to you, not the numbers. But having put up back-to-back 40-point games against this team, against this vaunted defense, what does that do for you in terms of the confidence of knowing that with this challenge ahead of you, you're equipped to complete it?
DEVIN BOOKER: I mean, that's a tough question because we didn't win those games, and that's the only objective there is out there. So back to just going to have to do more. Whether that's a stop, make a play for somebody else, take a charge, get a 50/50 ball, stop an offensive rebound. We know the steps. We know the possessions that have hurt us throughout this playoffs. We understand the details. It's well communicated throughout our team. So just being on it, being ready to go, but still enjoying the moment and having fun with it.
Q. Everybody knows the history you had here before Monty showed up. When he came in here before, he said that when he got here you had no reason to trust him because you just hadn't been around him yet. And I was curious, over the past couple of years, how has that relationship evolved to the point where, like you said before, you just know he's right when you're talking to him?
DEVIN BOOKER: Just going through experiences together. Just spending time together. That's the only way I feel you can develop real trust, is going through experiences and having conversations with people. Monty has made a point to do that since the day he has gotten here. So all of us trust him. We all trust each other. It's a culture and it's an environment that is fun to be around. It's why we have had some of the success that we have had this year.
Q. You talked about how fun it is competing with Jrue and Khris before you all leave for Tokyo. I'm wondering what that dynamic is going to be like, how tough is it to kind of be teammates with a couple of guys immediately after you've competed against them with so much at stake?
DEVIN BOOKER: I would say just understanding competition and that it's never personal between who you're going with, unless lines are crossed. Those guys aren't that type and I would never go that way with them, because there's a high respect level for each other. I think that's why we're in the position that we're in right now. Representing your country is a whole different dynamic than competing against each other in the NBA Finals, but I can always respect somebody that competes at the highest level.
Q. You talked a lot the last few weeks about trying to learn more about the Suns' past to honor those former teams. I know you guys, this team, you want to win for yourselves, of course, and that's a little separate. But when you look back at kind of that history, how has that informed what you're going through right now and how meaningful this all is?
DEVIN BOOKER: I mean, this is something I always say: It's a basketball town. This city loves the Phoenix Suns, and it comes with that rich history. People have generated memories that are going to last them a lifetime. I think that's the beauty of sport in whole. You can get behind something, rally behind it. This city has been wanting a NBA championship for a really long time and has been really close multiple times. Just understanding that and understanding what's at stake, this city means a lot.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports