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Video/Quotes: Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams on Game 1 loss to Clippers

The Suns gave up 14 offensive rebounds and had to overcome a slow start in the first half

Minnesota Timberwolves v Phoenix Suns Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

PHOENIX — Here is what Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said after his team’s 115-110 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of their first-round series in the NBA playoffs Sunday night at Footprint Center.

Unknown question (Bright Side of the Sun entered the press conference a few minutes late)

“We gave up 14 offensive rebounds tonight, but timely ones. And then we had a couple of mishaps down the stretch and gave (the Clippers’ starting forward) Kawhi (Leonard) one three and then (Clippers starting guard Eric) Gordon got a three. So those things just kind of piled up.”

On what the Clippers did defensively that challenged the Suns to get the ball to forward Kevin Durant in their possession in which they could have taken the lead.”

“They just switched. They went small and switched, and that’s why sometimes we don’t even want to call a timeout… (Suns guard) [Devin Booker] got the ball and (Clippers guard) [Russell] Westbrook just made a good play.”

On his message to the team after the game:

“Nothing. It’s one game. We’ll look at the film and regroup and get ready for the big game here when we show up on Tuesday.”

On what clicked for the Suns at the end of the second quarter and start of the third:

“We just played point-five basketball and we got stops. The last part, I thought we gave a lot back. We were up eight, and then just like that, it was a tie game. I got to look at the film and see why. I thought we took a couple of shots we didn’t need to take. We could have got it to the second side. They were forcing us to take mid-range shots in the pocket high instead of swinging it to the second side, which is how we got the lead in the first place.”

On how the Suns’ offense looked down the stretch:

“It was all over the place. I mean, we missed shots in the paint that we typically make. But it didn’t look like there was a great flow tonight. And we got to get more organized and run our stuff. I thought when they put smaller guys on (Suns center) [Deandre Ayton] and bigger guys on (Suns forward) Torrey (Craig), we had Torrey setting screens in the pocket, and typically we don’t do that. We put [Ayton] in that screening action and if they switch it, then we throw it to him and he has to convert or find somebody on the second side. So we got to get more organized on offense.”

On how the Suns adjusted to using Craig as a screener offensively:

“It was OK. I mean, when he was diving and getting to the basket, he scored tonight, which is great. But I still think we have to take advantage of [Ayton’s] size in those situations and have him screen. He’s got a smaller guy on him, and then he’s screening a smaller guy. So if they put that guy on [Ayton], we can throw it to him. We’ll see if they help on the second side. But Torrey wasn’t bad tonight.”

On how the Suns competed defensively after a slow start:

“I thought we just gave up stuff out of timeouts. There were a few times where we just didn’t get back in transition, not a ton. And then there were times where we didn’t even see the guy behind us. Those are plays that at halftime, when you look at our defense, it wasn’t bad. There was just miscommunications or we didn’t see a guy behind us. And that’s something that we, can’t have that in the playoffs.”

On what he attributed the slow start to:

“You can make all kinds of excuses, it doesn’t matter. We had the same time off as they did. You could say we didn’t have a lot of time to play, but we played two days this week. So we just have to come out with that NBA term, ‘urgency,’ right out the gate. I didn’t feel like we had that defensively to start, and then we got it a bit in the second quarter and then we played really good defense and offense to begin the third. And then it just kind of went a little bit. Offensively, I thought our offense hurt us at the end of the third and gave them possessions in transition.”

On what he was looking for in lineups he used:

“The minutes are going to go up for the guys who play a ton. We’re trying to match up and keep size on Kawhi as best we can, but we also have attention on (Clippers guard Norm) Powell and Gordon. So a lot of it was getting some defensive guys on Powell and Gordon along with Kawhi. But I think I could have given (Suns backup wing) Terrence (Ross) a longer run tonight just to get us somebody who can knock down a shot and space the floor.”

On putting Craig over Okogie in the starting lineup:

“Torrey and (Suns backup forward) Ish (Wainwright) have done well against guys like that, and nobody can stop Kawhi. But at the same time, we feel like putting size on him gives you a chance. They screened the size off of him a lot. So if you go back and hit him or blitz him, then you’re in rotation.”

On the Suns’ bench possibly not shooting enough:

“I didn’t think we were organized enough to get those guys shots. I thought the way they matched us, that messed with us a little bit. We have to just run our stuff, and that’s what we’re going to talk about tomorrow: Just run our stuff, no matter how they match up and make them play against our offense. Our offense is pretty good.”

On Suns guard Chris Paul’s double-double with assists and rebounds:

“It’s what we needed. [Westbrook] had five offensive boards. We have to have more attention as far as keeping their guards off the glass. I mean, we needed Chris to rebound. They had 14 offensive boards, 10 more possessions. I thought that was, along with the stuff that happened down the stretch with the two threes we gave up, I thought the extra possessions really hurt us tonight.”

On Booker’s defense:

“I think he’s just competitive and aggressive, no matter what the situation is. But I thought he took the challenge tonight against Kawhi. Kawhi hit some tough shots, but Book is — I’ve said it since I’ve been here — he’s a better defender than people give him credit for.”

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