NBA Finals: Bucks vs. Suns

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Milwaukee Bucks

Bobby Portis

Game 3 Postgame

Milwaukee Bucks 120, Phoenix Suns 100

Q. Bobby, we've talked to you all season long about playing at home and sort of that emotional aspect. Did you try to strike a balance? We know you always play that way, but kind of knowing what the game meant but also what the game meant to the arena and all that stuff and yourself. Were you just yourself or how did you factor all that into your game?

BOBBY PORTIS: Just going out there and being who I am every day. It's fun playing this game. Being from Arkansas, man, we can only dream of playing in the NBA Finals. I think it's just vital that I just give it my all and just put forth everything I have out there. With potentially only four games left, there's nothing to hold back. Just give it all I have and just bring some energy to the game.

I'm a guy that is an energy guy. That's one thing I can help a team with. Making shots or not, I still play as hard as I can. So I think that's just gone well tonight.

Q. I know for you it's always stay ready so you don't have to get ready.


Q. You only played a couple minutes the other night. Two days feels like a long time to be thinking about, "Hey, man, I only played a couple minutes the other night." How did you get through that?

BOBBY PORTIS: No, this the NBA. Nobody is going to feel sorry for you in the NBA. Like, you play two minutes, you play 30 minutes, 40 minutes, have a good game, bad game. It's next-day mentality: When 12 o'clock hits of the game day like tonight, it's over with, man. It's time to focus on Game 4. I don't sit and sob or get mad or anything if I'm not playing. I want to win. I came to Milwaukee to try to impact winning and be the best Bobby Portis I can be. Having good coaches and good teammates to just keep me sane, all credit goes to them.

Like I said, nobody is going to feel sorry for you in the NBA, man. That's one thing that my vets taught me as a rookie.

Q. Just the idea that Bud is going to push you to be great defensively all year, and now in one of the biggest games --

BOBBY PORTIS: Not saying I'm great defensively.

Q. I just said he's pushing you.

BOBBY PORTIS: I'll try my best. I try my best. Do everything I can to stay on the floor. Not saying I'm a defensive stopper or anything.

But Coach Bud has done a great job with me all season long in the film room. I feel like I'm the first person in the film every time. He just stays on me. I think we all need coaches like that to push us. He doesn't want to you get comfortable. He wants the best out of his guys, and that's just made me be more committed to that end of the floor.

Just doing everything I can and having active hands, active feet, knowing that I can be active out there on that side of the basketball.

It's just made the game that much funner and that much more competitive for myself and for my teammates. We all sacrifice a lot, especially this year, with a lot of protocols and having to stay in hotels on the road, and all these things just factor into it. When you sacrifice, you get a lot out of life in general.

Q. Following up on the defensive angle of it, for you to put in that work knowing that that wasn't your reputation in the league. Why was that important to you to do that?

BOBBY PORTIS: When you want to win and impact winning, you kind of have to sacrifice and do things out of the ordinary that you're not used to. With me, I played with a lot teams that would never be in this position, a lot of losing basketball teams, a lot of tanking times that want a higher draft pick. The coaches let things slip and slide away when you're on losing teams and don't really mention that.

Out here, every possession matters and Coach Bud stays on us about it: taking care of the basketball, rotating on defense, low man being there, top man X-ing out and all be connected on the floor talking and communicating. All those things just help me be a better basketball player, and I credit him and his staff for that.

They really locked in with me the first couple months of the season, just on me, on me, every day about defense. Some days, I was like, damn, I can't do nothin' right. But just with it and being myself and trusting these guys has helped me get to this point.

Q. You mentioned growing up in Arkansas dreaming of being on this stage. Knowing that, what was that moment like when the crowd is chanting your name tonight in an NBA Finals?

BOBBY PORTIS: It's crazy. They've been doing that throughout the entire playoffs and stuff. It fires me up a lot and it fires my teammates up, too. Having the home-court advantage in the league is big. You want to protect home court. On the road you always want to get one and steal one, but at home you always want to win all your home games. I think we've done a good job of that.

Just having these guys here that really believe in us and trust in us, and having 20,000, 30,000, 40,000 fans outside just going crazy and having 17,000 inside, it's just a great time to be a Buck right now and it's a great time for the city of Milwaukee. It's real diverse out there. See a lot of people just mingling and being together. I think just us winning and impacting the city has brought the city together.

Q. You mentioned the vets that helped you learn that next-day mentality. Who do you want to shout out specifically?

BOBBY PORTIS: All those guys. Taj Gibson, he was a big proponent of that. Joakim (Noah) was, too. Jimmy (Butler), D-Rose, Aaron Brooks, all those guys. They all stayed on me a lot and told me, just stay ready. Knowing you want to have your moment, but just keep working on your game, staying in shape.

I think that's probably the toughest thing as a young player coming in the league. You don't really understand the marathon that you're going to run in this league. Everybody's journey is going to be different. You guys have got to run your own race and I just have to figure that out at an early stage and once I figured that out, I was just content and at peace with myself.

Q. When Giannis has a game like this in which he dominates but he also involves his teammates, how much is important for you guys?

BOBBY PORTIS: It's very important. Obviously Giannis can go out there and score 40 points all the time, but when everyone else is involved, it kind of unlocks him a lot more and kind of create mismatches and one-on-one a lot more and guys can't really dig in and be over the top and X-out back side and do things like that.

When guys make shots, it just makes it tough on the opposing team because now he's really just playing one-on-one, and good luck with that. For real, for real. (Laughter.) Greek Freak.

Q. Giannis's performance puts him in the leagues of Jordan and LeBron and Shaq and stuff like that.


Q. When I think of those three guy, I don't necessarily think of humble. I think of born leaders and supremely confident but when Giannis gets up here and talk, he talks about how what you did allowed him to make a return with his knee and he talks about being in the moment. 30 year from now when you think about this --

BOBBY PORTIS: 30 years? I'm 26 now. I'll be 56. I can't think about 56, I'm not going to lie. I'm 26 now. Trying to put 30 on me already? (Laughter).

Q. What stories will you tell about Giannis the teammate, Giannis the leader, Giannis the comeback guy?

BOBBY PORTIS: Giannis is a great guy. One of the big reasons why I wanted to come here is play with him and play with all the guys. I watch the bubble last year, and I just saw the hole where I can fill a need at and it was a perfect time for me to come here.

Giannis is a relentless, hard worker and gives his all to the team, and he's selfless. When you play like that and when you want to win, I think the basketball God just always rewards you. He never cheats the game. He stays in the gym, he lifts weights hard every day. I don't know how he can do that and go out and play. But he lifts weights hard every day and he gets his reps in and stays down.

When you're humble and hungry like that, it just always just comes back to you. And for a guy to hyperextend his knee less than two weeks ago, and to come back and do the things he's doing, man, I think it just speaks for itself. He's just a great guy overall. Love being his teammate. Love being out there with him and competing.

Q. In Atlanta after Game 4, you guys were pretty somber. Nobody knew the extent of Giannis' injury but everybody was pretty down. Describe the difference in the team's morale.

BOBBY PORTIS: I don't even now how he's even doing it, man. Most of the time when guys do that, they come back and ease into it, or they come back and they're kind of timid and whatnot. He's still just going out there and playing the same way like he never did that. I just think whoever gave him nickname the Greek Freak did a great job of that, for real. It's different how he's playing out there and doing all these different things and just being himself. I'm saying, that's just rare. That's really special of him to put his body on the line for the team and just go out there and do the things he's doing.

It's fun playing with him, but he's an even better person off the court. Always smiling and laughing and playing and I just -- it's a joy being around him every day.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
110104-2-1015 2021-07-12 04:37:00 GMT

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