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Crowder, Ayton on ‘disappointment’ of Suns’ loss, season takeaways

Phoenix reached its first NBA Finals after a 10-year playoff drought

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

Here is what Phoenix Suns starting forward Jae Crowder and starting center Deandre Ayton said after their team’s 105-98 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday night at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

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

Jae Crowder

On his emotions following the loss:

“Disappointment. Season’s over. Just a lot of emotions right now, obviously. I don’t even know how to get my words together. But I’m just disappointed, obviously, I’m hurt. That’s all I got to say.”

On what this type of playoff run can do for a young team moving forward:

“Well I think for our younger players we can definitely just — they’re tasting that feeling of this stage and playing for, what you say in training camp, is, ‘For it all.’ You can build off of it. Obviously, you can use this as a stepping stone, especially for our organization to get back on the right path, our players to experience this early in their careers, it’s great for them, obviously, and I’m happy for them. That motivation will continue to be with them as they train, just to chase this moment again. If you channel it the right way, it can be beneficial.”

On the biggest differences that separated the Suns from a win down the stretch:

“I mean, a couple possessions I felt like — I ain’t even going to say that. I ain’t even going to say it. They played well tonight. Obviously both teams struggled to shoot the ball from three. It came down to like a couple 50/50 balls, a couple offensive rebounds, couple of possessions that we felt like we were defending without fouling but we got called for it, and they made free throws tonight. So, all credit to those guys, they played well all series. They hung in there when they was down 2-0. They came back hit us in the mouth, and then hit us again in Game 5. Respect to those guys. I respect them. Yeah, it just came down to just making a few plays there late on the defensive end, I think we came up short.”

On what allowed the Suns to go as far as they did in the postseason:

“I think guys wanted to be better. Guys wanted to be a respected team. Guys wanted to win. I think that we bought into what (Suns) coach (Monty Williams) was preaching to us all year. I think it started at training camp, obviously some bumps in the road, but that’s obviously what you get coming into a new team with new guys. But I think we bought into each other, I think we bought into the coaching style, we bought into our coach, our leader. Guys just wanted to do better, wanted to win by any means necessary and I think that’s what got us to this point.”

Deandre Ayton

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

On his emotions after the loss:

“The team emotion? Everybody’s down. But individually, this is just the beginning. As a young player like me and some of the guys on my team, we know what it takes now and that’s all I’m going off of, to be honest. I mean, nobody really expected us to even, you know, be here. I know people talk about injuries of other teams and stuff like that, but at the end of the day, we playing ball and I’m just really happy how the guys had a wonderful season playing together to get us where we are today. But at the same time we feel it, it leaves a little bad taste in your mouth. But at the end of the day this is just the beginning, man. This is my third year and I’m already feeling it, you know?”

On the impact that Suns starting point guard Chris Paul had on the team:

“He brought us all the way up here, you know? We know the type of detail we have to really emphasize to have consistency, to play at the level like this and the type of competitor he is, it was contagious. Knowing your opponent, knowing what the team likes, knowing what teams throw at you, things like that, CP added to everybody’s arsenal.”

On what he learned from Paul and if he has started recruiting him back for more seasons with the Suns:

“I mean, hopefully. At the same time, you know, C, man, he taught everybody a lot. But mainly just coming to play, coming to compete and just approaching the game the right way with consistency, approaching it in a way where there ain’t no mishaps. Almost try to be perfect.”

On the Suns’ expectation of playing championship basketball and how that will help them moving forward:

“I think that was the first thing I told (Suns starting shooting guard Devin) [Booker], once we got in the locker room after we got off the floor. You know, I walked over to him and said, ‘You know, this is just the beginning. Now, we know what we need to do and no less.’ We’re going to keep each other accountable for the rest of our careers together and so does (Suns starting forward) Mikal (Bridges) and Jae Crowder, all the other guys on the team as well.”

On what it will take for the Suns to take the next step and perhaps win a championship:

“Basically, everybody laying it all on the line. I tip my hat off to Milwaukee, because everybody that checked in, even if they didn’t check in, they wanted to die on that court. And that’s what I felt. That’s what it takes. Everybody got to give it their all when it comes to this, especially when it’s last game.”

On where he felt he improved most this season and how he will build off that:

“My consistency on defense. I think this series I got caught up in some foul trouble, but throughout the whole playoffs and Finals, I think I stepped up on my defense where whatever the teams throwing at us with their offense, I can adjust. Whether it’s smalls or bigs or bigs that can pop or put it on the ground as well, just making sure I’m on the floor long periods of time, especially when teams go small.”

On what it was like to face and defend Bucks superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo:

“I mean, it was fun. Just like any other matchup that I faced. I think I seen — this is the most time I’ve ever seen Giannis, but, yeah, man, it was fun. I love competing, I love the challenges, man, but I just wish I could win. But at the same time it was fun, I learned a lot. Just with consistency when it comes to this thing called competing, you can’t really have any mishaps at this high level.”

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