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Monty Williams on Suns’ second-quarter collapse in Game 5 of the NBA Finals

Phoenix was outscored 43-24 in the second period, upending a very successful first quarter

NBA: Finals-Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PHOENIX — Here is what Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said after his team’s 123-119 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Saturday night at Footprint Center in Phoenix.

On the Bucks’ 43-23 second quarter:

Well, both second and the third (In which they shot 15-of-21 from the field and outscored the Suns 36-29). You give up 79 (combined) points and the reasoning behind it — I got to look at the film to see it, but we just didn’t have the same energy that we had in the first and fourth. You look at the numbers, in the first and fourth, they have 44 points. So, whether it’s schematics or just outright grit and toughness during those moments, to just get a stop, we couldn’t get any consecutive stops in the second and the third. That ended up being the — not the difference — but it just put us in a hole and I felt like we were playing from behind for a long, long time.”

On the feel that the Bucks were getting any shot they wanted for a long stretch:

“It looked like it. And I don’t think it’s for lack of effort, I just think in those moments understanding what kind of effort we need right now, especially after the start, we expended a lot of energy in the first. We scored 37 points. Well, we’re probably going to need more in the second. Defensively, it just wasn’t there in the second quarter.”

On the Suns having fewer turnovers than the Bucks and holding them to 11 offensive rebounds, though five of them came in the fourth quarter:

“Well, I just think that the turnovers and the offensive rebounding, we corrected that but they shot 50 percent from 3(-point range). That was something that kind of gave them the edge. So, they didn’t get those points off of turnovers and offensive rebounding, but they got it from the 3-point line. We shot [68 percent from 3-point range], we just didn’t generate enough (19 attempts). The ball, when it moved tonight, it looked like Suns basketball. But we just didn’t generate enough threes. So, to your point, like we did what we were supposed to, as far as the offensive rebounding and turnovers, but we gave up too many threes tonight.”

On Bucks starting point guard Jrue Holiday’s steal on Suns shooting guard Devin Booker with fewer than 20 seconds remaining in the game:

“A great play by Jrue. I don’t have any other words for that one, I just watched it and (he) just makes a great play.”

On the Suns resorting to isolation play offensively for Booker in the third quarter:

“Yeah, we got to move it around. We know what Book can do with the ball, but the one thing we talked about was getting to the paint, finding guys on the back side. We feel like that’s a formula. There were some times tonight where it just stuck a little bit and against their defense, they don’t have to work against that. So we can score in iso-ball, but to make that defense work, we got to move it around and in order to beat this team, that’s what you got to do.”

On what he wants to see out of his team in preparation for Game 6 on Tuesday, in which it will be facing elimination for the first time this postseason:

“Well, head space, mental stamina, all that stuff, like it boils down to getting it done. We got to win one game to put them back on the plane. That’s it. And you have to have that determination that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to put them back on the plane. So, we can call it what we want to, mental toughness, all of that stuff. But it’s going to be needed and our guys are capable of doing it. This is our first time in this position and we can do it.”

On Holiday recording 27 points on 12-of-20 shooting with 13 assists, and if he felt like the Suns did not play well defensively or if Holiday got going:

“Probably a bit of both. Getting over the screens or being up on the screens, whatever the case may be, he was knocking down shots, so we have to make those adjustments and that’s on me. We have to understand who the hot guy is and then make the adjustment in game. I just didn’t do a good enough job helping our guys tonight.”

On Suns starting point guard Chris Paul’s efforts offensively:

“Yeah, he was going to the paint and DA early was going with him and so that put a lot of pressure on their rim protection. The pressure against Chris has slowed us up a little bit. In the first quarter, it didn’t and we scored 37 points. So, that’s a formula for us, just get to the paint, shoot it or find guys.”

If a lack of ball movement is a theme he’s seen in the Suns’ last three losses:

“We have had ball movement in games. There have been games where we haven’t made shots. Tonight, we were making shots whenever we wanted to, passes from side to side where the ball moved. There just wasn’t enough of that tonight. So that’s something that we can correct.”

If he regretted holding Booker out of the second quarter for nearly six minutes:

“I don’t think — our team defense was, it wasn’t up to par during that time. I’m not quite sure if that would have helped. We had to get stops in that moment. They scored 43 points, we still only scored 24 to combat that. So, you can “if” all day long, but I don’t think that was it. I think our team defense was just at a low level at that point.”

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