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NBA Finals Practice Report: I’m not tired, you’re tired

The Phoenix Suns play the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday

2021 NBA Finals - Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks

The 2021 NBA Finals are all tied at two games apiece, with both teams winning their home games, and no new injuries to report.

You know what that means? It’s a brand new best-of-three series. Certainly, the players don’t think the series has been decided one or another yet.

“There’s never a day that’s the same in the playoffs,” Devin Booker said at practice yesterday. “There’s always new adjustments, new plays, understanding home versus away. There’s a lot of factors that go into it.”

You could even consider those first four games as ‘pre-Finals’ if you want. It all starts fresh now. First team with two more wins is the NBA Champ. The Suns worked hard all year to earn two of those three as home games.

For their part, the Suns are not treating these last two days any differently just because they lost those two in Milwaukee.

“Win, lose or draw, we try to keep the mindset and the energy the same,” Booker said. “Keep it consistent. I think whichever team is most level throughout all the commotion of the playoffs typically succeeds the most.”

The Suns began the playoffs two months now, but if you think about it you might believe more than two months have actually passed. Can you even clearly remember the Suns last regular season game, where E’Twaun Moore hit the game-winner in San Antonio?

“Every day is a new adventure,” Booker said. “I think that’s why it feels like it’s going on longer than it’s really been, because there’s a lot of emotions to each day. There’s a lot of focus every day. Even our off-days are all getting ready for the next game. They take up all 24 hours. But it’s fun time.”

Forget any talk of the Suns being tired, though.

“When it does happen, you’re excited for it,” 15-year veteran Chris Paul said of his first trip to the Finals. “I think ‘tired’ is the last thing, mentally or physically, because what else do you play for?”

Chris Paul is saying he’s not tired and that he’s feeling good, but he’s got 15 turnovers in the last three games and wraps all over his body.

Jrue Holiday has been his primary defender since Game 2, when Paul’s turnovers began to mount. Holiday is an excellent, and physical defender who tries to disrupt Paul’s rhythm by meeting him nearly full-court the entire game before he’s into the offense.

Holiday was asked after Game 4 if he thought his defensive pressure and the pressure of his teammates was wearing Paul down.

“I hope so,” Holiday answered. “I’m tired. I really do hope so. That’s kind of the point of us doing it, right?... I think being able to have his back turned most of the game, always thinking that me or Teague are going to be there, I think it could be frustrating. And then doing it 94 feet for 48 minutes, it can be a bit tiring. So, yeah, I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job of it.”

Chris Paul and the Suns play Jrue Holiday and the Bucks Game 5 of the Finals on Saturday night.

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