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Monty Williams breaks down Suns’ heartbreaking loss to Bucks in Game 4

Phoenix lost a nine-point fourth quarter lead and missed an opportunity to close on the road

NBA: Finals-Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Here is what Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said after his team’s 109-103 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee on Wednesday night.

First, to his team:

“Ever since I’ve been here we talked about ‘Everything you want is on the other side of hard’. This is hard. This is freaking hard. You got to stick together. That’s the deal, all right? Let’s bring it in, come on guys… “

Now on to his quotes to the media.

On the Suns holding a 9-point lead in the fourth quarter and why they couldn’t push it further:

“Well, the turnovers just crushed us tonight. We shot 50 percent from the field but they got 19 more possessions. Over the course of the game when you just give it up that many times, the turnovers and offensive rebounding was a bit of a hill for us to climb. But you’re right, when have you that kind of a lead in the fourth, if we can just hold on to the ball and get good possessions, you feel like you can at least hold it there. So I got to look at the film and see, was it schematics or was it just their defense? I’m not quite sure yet. But we certainly had a lot of self-inflicted stuff tonight.”

On maximizing the possessions of Suns starting shooting guard Devin Booker when he was in foul trouble:

“It’s hard, because he’s — he could have gone for 50-plus tonight. I wanted to get him in maybe a minute earlier than I did. You’re just holding on trying to get as many stops and solid possessions as you can, but it’s not an ideal situation. But I thought we managed it well tonight. We were able to get him back in when the game was still tight and we actually had the lead, I think. So the thing that’s on my mind more than anything is how many possessions we gave them tonight, especially with us shooting the ball as well as we did. Certainly didn’t generate enough threes, only 23. But to your point, it’s not an ideal situation, but I thought we handled it better than I thought.”

On Phoenix starting point guard Chris Paul’s five turnovers and if he is OK physically:

“He’s fine. Great players have games like that. We expect him to bounce back. He had five [turnovers], but we had 17 and they scored 24 points, you know what I mean? That was pretty much the game right there. Then you double that up with the offensive rebounding, so it wasn’t just Chris. As a team tonight, we got to take better care of the ball.”

His perspective on the play in which Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo blocked Suns starting center Deandre Ayton with 1:14 left:

“Yeah, they do a really good job of dropping back, like you said, he just made a great play. We have run that play a lot this year and gotten a lob or the jump shot or the three on the back side. He just made a great play.”

On Booker’s mindset through playing with foul trouble:

“Yeah, he was locked in. We talk about that a ton. He had a really good workout yesterday, a somewhat of a decent workout and then this morning he looked really good in our warmups, shootarounds. But his focus to play in all three levels tonight on offense was really good for us. That’s just his mindset. We knew he was going to bounce back from the other night. He was drawing fouls himself and that helps us when he gets to the line. But if we take care of the ball and cut out five of those turnovers, he probably ends up with 50 tonight. That’s the way I look at it. But they’re putting a lot of pressure on us and we’re doing the same thing with them. It’s two good teams, we’re 2-2. Like, that’s the deal. That’s what I told our guys, we put ourselves in this position, we got home-court advantage. I foresee him playing like that for the rest of the series.”

On how surprising it is to see his team struggle with turnovers in the last three games:

“In my eyes, it’s like a blip on the screen because we haven’t been like, we haven’t played that way from a turnover perspective this year. Usually when we do, we bounce back and we’re a bit more efficient. Give them credit, they do a really good job of getting hands on balls, they were switching a lot tonight, there were times where we took advantage of it and there were times where we tried to make passes that may not have been there because they’re not helping off as much because of the switching. But this is not our normal-normal, 17 turnovers and live ball turnovers that turn into points. Like, we typically don’t do that.”

On seeing Booker locked in:

“It’s the pop in his step when he’s going through his shooting and our strength coach Cory [Schlesinger] was putting him through some stuff, I watched that today, and he was moving really well. So when he’s moving like that and has his pop, you expect him to get by people and pull up on the dime for a shot. He was curling, getting to the basket. When he can stop on a dime and get guys up in the air, he has his legs underneath him. It’s just something I see in the shootaround when he’s working out, I can tell he’s got his legs.”

If he attributed the Suns’ 17 turnovers to rhythm after not playing for two days:

“No, I don’t think so. They have the same amount of time off. They only had five. And we played really good half-court defense. Like I said, this is not our normal. We’re not going to have that many turnovers from our starting group, and I wouldn’t attribute it to anything from a rhythm perspective. You give them credit, they played good defense and there were times where we just gave it up. But I wouldn’t say it’s a rhythm thing.”

On what has allowed the Bucks to have great success on the offensive glass in the last two games:

“They’re coming to the glass with a great deal of force. We got to meet them outside the paint. It just boils down to that. You can’t wait for those guys to get to the paint to try to box them out. When you look at the film of games against them earlier this year, they didn’t go to the offensive boards like this. The free throw box-out environment, when the shot goes up, they’re coming and you got to meet them outside the paint. And we’ll do a better job of that in the next game.”

On how he felt like his team defended Antetokounmpo:

“I think we’re trying to give him some different looks, especially in the half-court, I thought our guys did an unreal job in the half-court. We were doubling him at times and firing out to their shooters, just trying to take him off of his rhythm. In transition, the wall was a lot better tonight. It’s something that we can get better at.”

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