NBA Finals: Bucks vs. Suns

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Phoenix Suns

Chris Paul

Game 2: Postgame

Phoenix Suns - 118, Milwaukee Bucks - 108

Q. The Bucks fought back to make this a couple possession game in the fourth a few times. Once, Booker hit a three to make it six to nine, and another time they had cut it to seven, Book hits two threes in a row to push the lead to 13. Why is he built for those types of moments?

CHRIS PAUL: Big time. Big time. He could tell you better than I can, but he has trained and worked his whole life for these moments and our team all season long has been, you put the work in, you live with the results. So, if Book shoots it, I expect it to go in. I get mad at him when he don't shoot. So, big shots.

Q. In that one sequence you had to end the first half nine or 10 passes, Ayton ends up with the and-one. Has your passing rubbed off on these guys?

CHRIS PAUL: We have a saying with our team, it's called good to great. We pass up good shots to get great shots and it's the unselfishness of our team. Any coach in America, I'm sure they would love to show their team that clip, and DA finishes at the end.

Q. Your thoughts on the performance of Mikal Bridges tonight.

CHRIS PAUL: I be on ‘Kal so crazy, you know what I mean, because ‘Kal is just a winner. He's a winner. When we won the Western Conference Finals I looked at him and I had a flashback of him being at Villanova. I remember him winning a championship there. He's just a winner. He's going to do whatever you need him to do, offensively or defensively, and it's good to see him playing like this.

Q. Dave was talking about that one possession at the end of the first half, that possession in the fourth where a shot is missed, Mikal runs it down, then another shot is missed, Ayton gets the rebound and kicks it to you in the corner for a three that you hit. How big was that sequence? You guys were up six at that point.

CHRIS PAUL: It was huge. It was like the play of the game. DA, he was -- he's so hard on himself. He's so mad at how he played and whatnot, but I tell him if he doesn't get that offensive rebound and find me there in the corner, that's probably the biggest play of the game. So, it just shows you how we all have to stay the course.

Q. Athletes have been doing it for a long time, toward the end of their careers like Derek Jeter or Pete Sampras, when they were vets they said that it was sometimes harder to stay in the moment of those championship series because you knew too much, like you knew how hard and how long it had been to get there. Jeter used to say the World Series at the beginning of his career were easy. It was the ones in the last few years that he had a harder time staying in the moment. Have you experienced that at all?

CHRIS PAUL: No, I have a pretty good -- I do a pretty good job of staying in the moment. Maybe a lot of the guys on our team, it's their first playoff series, they don't know the heartache or the heartbreak. They’re just out there playing. So, for me I know how quick things can change. I know how a possession or a play can change the dynamics of an entire series. So, for me I don't get too high, I don't get too low, I just stay even keel.

I wasn't always like that, but I know that these situations are -- don't happen every day.

Q. I know Devin's still got his young legs, but what do you notice he does to be able to play with a high motor throughout the game?

CHRIS PAUL: He just stays in attack mode all game long. And that's what I love about him. I think me and him together, we’ve just built so much trust. He's like, here C go, or I go to him. And whatever happens during the game, you just know that there's never any malicious intent. He just wants to win. He's going to do whatever he has to do to help our team win and it's nice.

Q. Looking back to when you were traded here, what were your initial thoughts when you got the news and could you have foreseen it at this time in this stage?

CHRIS PAUL: I know me. I know how hard I work during the summer. I know how I play. I knew the pieces that was here. I knew Book was here. Like I said, I knew the pieces. I knew Monty. I knew that we would have a system, I knew that we would build trust. So, I'm not surprised.

Q. And what did you think about James Jones having confidence in you?

CHRIS PAUL: JJ is our GM but he is like my counterpart, he's like my brother. So, like we have been through so many different things with the CBA negotiations, so it was easy to talk to him about me wanting to be here. It's nice when you have a relationship like that because you can be honest no matter what, good or bad, you know you're going to shoot it to each other straight, and that's how it's always been.

Q. Devin always says that he doesn't run from moments like these. Very few players are really built like that. What is it about him that allows him to embrace and fearlessly go after moments this big?

CHRIS PAUL: I mean, Book had 70 in the game before, you know what I mean? So, you don't do that being shy. You don't do that being shy. Like I said, he puts the work in. That's what a lot of people don't see. You see the games, you don't see all the shots after practice and all this different type stuff. So, he’s built for it. He’s built for it. Like I said, that was something that I saw before I came here and it's nice to be on his team.

Q. When you talk about those things that we don't see, like what do you wish that we could see if we were flies on the wall at the practice facility afterwards as far as just the work that Book does put in?

CHRIS PAUL: Just him. Him or our team?

Q. Sure, just to stay on that topic.

CHRIS PAUL: Book, I don't know, it's the treatment, it's the shots, it's the everything. We have a day in between games or something, I might shoot a little and then sit out. Book like really wants to shoot some shots, wants to go in there and shoot some shots. And everything is game speed. But we got a work team. So, it's not just Book, it's Cam Payne, it's Jae, it's everybody. We got a work team. It's nice to be a part of it.

Q. The two of you building that trust, what do you feel like the key was to doing that and how long, I know you guys gelled right from the jump but was there a point where you feel like it kind of reached a different level?

CHRIS PAUL: I don't know. I don't know. I just know that I remember being on that one road trip and Coach telling us we had the worst plus/minus starting five, that hurt. That hurt. I ain't never been on a minus side or any of that stuff. But we knew that we had to figure it out. Like if we wanted to get where we are now, we knew we had to figure it out. So, we did it and we are going to keep it going.

Q. How did you figure it out?

CHRIS PAUL: I don't know. I think our defense got better. We started working on screening angles. We started running our sets. I missed most of training camp. I missed a lot of that time, so I didn't really know the offense like that. So, once we started playing and getting the continuity and once you get some wins, you really start getting confidence.

Q. You guys hit 20 threes tonight which actually tied for the most in Finals history. Have you gotten used to how non-abnormal it seems for a team to hit 20 threes in a game in the modern era?

CHRIS PAUL: Yeah, I played in Houston. Yeah. Yeah. We shot a lot of threes.

With our team, we got shooters. Like real shooters. And I say this all the time, it's nice when you kick it to the guy and you expect him to make it. You expect him to make it. Like, I get mad at some of these guys when they miss it. They miss it and I'm like, come on man, you don't miss that in practice.

And it's different, too, when you know the work that they put in. So when shootaround is over, practice is over, everybody don't leave the gym. Everybody's still in there shooting. So, that's the trust that you build because you know the guys put in the work.

Q. How much can that save you? Like first quarter tonight you guys only made one two and were kind of outplayed but you hit I think eight threes and stayed in the game. How much can a hot shooting quarter kind of save a team?

CHRIS PAUL: It can help anybody. It can help anybody. What they always say, it's a make or miss league, you know, and the fact that our guys had the confidence to continue shooting it, even if it's not going in, we're like, you're going to make the next one, you're going to make the next one. We got a team full of guys, if a guy pass up a shot, [he’s] probably going to get cussed out because you know what everybody's capable of.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
109902-2-1043 2021-07-09 04:50:00 GMT

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