Milwaukee Bucks, Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday Game 3 NBA Finals Media Availability | 7.11.21

Take questions around the room. Please raise your hand. We’Ll have a microphone come your way. Malika in the back. I guess drill. I’Ll start with you. Giannis just said you know you’re our point guard. We knew you were going to bounce back. That was his sentiment, but what was what was working for you? Was it just being at home or was there something else schematic um? I think a part of it was being home but just staying aggressive. The guy’s telling me to continue to be aggressive because that’s what’s gon na be best for our team, so i’m, pretty sure. Even somebody like chris can tell you just a shooter who um was going through a slump, continue to shoot and that’s what i did chris for you when giannis comes out aggressively, looking not just aggressively looking to shoot but aggressively looking to create. What does that do? For the rest of the team, it just makes everything else easier. He draws so much uh so much attention whenever he has the ball on the perimeter and the hand on the paint it just makes us makes everything easier for everybody else, um. As far as seeing gaps and being able to get open, looks eric over here, so um kind of going through your mind as, like you said, you know, you’re struggling a little bit, but those are the shots that the defense is presenting and you need to shoot Just kind of how do you have that confidence to step up in those moments? Um, you know it’s just about being consistent, um believing in yourself and and what you work on.

I work on those every day, so i think, to be able to step and step into those and have a rhythm, dribble and shoot them um fairly easy, uh, they’re, leaving me open too. So i got to continue to shoot it. Chris um jonas had said that one of the major ideas for you guys was making sure to get second side. Second, action: third action to go a little bit deeper offensively tonight. Just what did you see as you’re running middle pick and roll with the honest they’re? Taking him away as a roll man, you guys got, you guys are seeing that skip pass. Um yeah, i mean um. You know they’re, jumping up on my pick and rolls a little bit then um bringing the extra body to yana’s roll. So i can’t hit him. So it’s just from there’s, you know we did our job. We, we attracted the crowd. You know just find an open man, um man and allow and trust those other guys to make, plays and make shots on temps on the right. Chris. You guys in games, one and two sons had big runs at the end of the second quarter. To kind of push the game open. You guys are able to flip that around today. What allowed you guys to make that push? I think, from 36 30 would like nine to go in the second to where it got at halftime uh. It started with our defense um, you know we were able to.

You know get stops um that allowed us to get on and break play a lot faster. A lot freer um and a lot of it was was drew and giannis. Those guys had the ball in their hands. A lot um. You know they made great plays of the same thing in the third quarter when they got to within 747. You get those couple threes. I think you guys wanted a huge run there to end it. You were involved a ton. There did anything open up there. In particular, or was that just you guys getting hot all at once, i think uh, just taking what the defense presented to us um they kind of went to that zone and sometimes in the zone. You you get a lot of wide open, threes and, and we took those chances and we took their shots and made them um. But it was definitely a team effort. Just just believing in ourselves, like chris, said making the right plays and the easy early pass and being able to just go out. There have fun and play a game david aldridge uh over here phil, for both of you guys, um. You know you’re in the middle of the finals. I know you’re trying to get this chip, but is there any part of you that kind of is amazed that giannis is putting up these numbers a week after everybody thought he had blown out his acl and was going to miss the playoffs and next season? Who knows what, for me, i mean i’ve been with him.

You know for years now, i’ve seen him do a lot of stuff like this, and i forgot who i said it to earlier, but i mean it. Doesn’T really. Surprise me, like i said, i’ve been doing this for i’ve seen him do this for a while, now it’s just now, it’s on the biggest stage now everybody’s getting a chance to see. You know what he’s go, what he goes through, how he’s hurting he still finds a way to go out there and compete, and you know, be productive and be dominant at the same time uh. I haven’t been here as long as chris, but for the time i’ve been here, it doesn’t surprise me either um the way that he works there’s times where we have to tell him to chill and practice or shoot around um. So now him doing this isn’t a surprise at all, that’s, the middle hey drew um. What is the cat and mouse game that you have to play defending chris paul, whether it’s, you know being physical or playing up trying to speed him up or slow him down? You know just some things to take him out of his rhythm, because it seems like you’ve, been more effective since game. One um really just trying to speed him up uh try to get him as tired as possible, which again he’s, professional and he’ll, be one of the greatest player point guards in this in in the league ever so um, honestly, just trying to make it a game.

Uh kind of more like a chess match and and be able to um when i have, when i have a chance to make it hard on him uh and then try to take advantage of that when he’s on defense, jim second row, hey guys, um, you know You guys talk always about um, especially after losses, the things that you can do better or want to do, but you sort of recognize it almost immediately post game and whether it be like the 50, 50 balls or hustle stuff like that from last game, and then The next one it you guys have done it. This playoff run to win sort of the next game um. I know that’s not easy, because the other team is out there. Why do you think this group has been so good at that of just recognizing? Is it sort of right away and then putting it into practice like that that next game, as opposed to you know, maybe hoping it might happen, um for one, i think, it’s the character of the team uh? We have a group of guys that that want to get better and strive to get better. We all hate to lose and we know uh the ultimate goal, so we know even getting to the finals. You need a little bit of luck and and a lot of hard work, and now that we’re here it’s all about getting better and we’ve done it. Since um the beginning of the season.

We had a group of guys where half of them were here and then the other half were new and we had to adjust to that and then even in the playoffs. We had what three different teams that we also had to adjust to and being in a situation with brooklyn where we were down to. We got better every single game, so i really feel like it’s, just the character of our guys, how we come out and approach. The game, every single, every single day and um, really just trying to bounce things off each other and communicating that way, go jeff, then brian up brian, in the back. You know you mentioned that broken game after it was two nothing. A lot of people kind of counted you guys out. When then giannis went down. A lot of people said: they’re, not gon na come back from this now um. What does rattle you guys or or just what makes you unrattle a bowl uh. I mean that i think was just our toughness um being able to go through a lot of diversity during the season during the playoff runs uh. Knowing that you know as long as we still got five guys, i can go out there and play. We still got a chance, i think that’s, the most important that we all have you know all the confidence in the world and each learning about guys um. Whoever steps in that court that we can get the job done.

Take last two questions on zoom: we’ll go to mark schwartz first, this is for both of you guys um. When you have a great player like giannis, who’s, doing historic things and who’s the total focus of a defense. How critically important is it for both of you to play with force and to move the ball and to take shots and to not stand around and watch his greatness, and how tough is that to do sometimes when he’s rolling um, when he’s rolling, sometimes like he Was these last three games he just got given the ball, give him space and allow him to go to work at the same time. We both know what we can do. He knows what we can do. He trusts us with the ball in our hands. Um. You know we’re always trying to be aggressive, finding ways to get ourselves involved and keep other guys involved. Also, so we know we have a complete team. We have. You know, however, many guys that that can uh have a knight that can score 20 or 30 or sometimes 40. um. But as long as we play together, we know we got the best chance really uh yeah i mean i, i agree with chris um, just being able to trust in ourselves, knowing that giannis is going to be consistent and he’s going to do what he does, but We can also make the game easier for him. I think by us, cutting and taking guys away and trying to give him space to work.

Uh allows him to to make plays for us and be able to knock out knock down those open shots and then um, even by us, cutting in everything i feel like it opens up space for him to go to work so again, it’s, i think it’s, a Rhythm, that we’ve kind of gotten into and being able to figure things out and – and we did a good job of that tonight last question is spencer, with basketball, news, spencer davies, uh, either of you guys there was a point uh at the second quarter. During that run, or before that run, i should say uh where devin booker and campaign had a two on one and pat got back to uh, defend that and it turned into a pj tucker three uh. What does that kind of transition defensive play? Uh do for the momentum of a team uh trying to do what you guys are doing and also just kind of to the point of the the hustle and the the offensive rebounds. What that aspect of the game did for you guys um. I think it’s really big those hustle plays. We missed some of those in the first couple games where we might get a block or a nice box out and it bounces to their hands, or we weren’t there for the for the 50 50 balls. But i think to be able to get those opportunities. Uh is obviously to our advantage, but it’s.

Definitely a team effort. The way that patton and and tuck go for those offensive rebounds and give us another chance at at scoring is um it’s, intangible and even just them fighting they might not get it but to be able to get in there and tap it out.

What do you think?

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