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Video/quotes: Suns coach Monty Williams after win over Spurs

Here’s what the Suns’ coach said postgame

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

Here is what Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams said after his team’s 115-94 win over the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night.

On the Suns’ end to the game after they saw a 31-point deficit in the first half fall to as few as nine in the third quarter:

“It’s just something we’ve done when we had leads early. It’s all stuff that we can control. It wasn’t anything that was out of the ordinary. It’s all stuff that we’ve seen before. Whether it’s stealing out to threes – we scored 28 points (in the third quarter), but it didn’t feel like it. It felt like we scored like, 15. And then it trickled over into the fourth quarter, where we didn’t score much at all. So the guys are aware of it. I told the coaches, ‘Are you going to go to the huddle and say, ‘Play hard?’’ Like, they know what we need to do. So it’s just something that we have to be aware of. It was just like the Denver (Nuggets) game last week (when the Suns saw a 27-point third quarter lead fall to as few as four), and that’s the one thing I did tell them is, ‘This is just like the Denver game.’ But I thought (Suns backup forward) Torrey (Craig), his energy and effort tonight bailed us out of it, to have a double-double. And the way he played, the defense that he played, I thought it gave us a lot of juice. And I thought (Suns backup forward) Ish (Wainwright) was also in that. He didn’t score but the defense and the attitude and intensity that those two brought helped us when we were kind of reeling for some juice tonight.”

On Suns starting point guard Chris Paul’s game:

“I mean, everybody’s been telling Chris to shoot. I mean, you can see his 3-point numbers tonight, and his catch-shot numbers are really good. So he understands that for us to be effective, when Kevin gets doubled or he’s on the back side when (Suns shooting guard) [Devin Booker] is in pick-and-roll, like, he’s going to get that shot. And I thought (Suns starting guard/wing) [Josh Okogie] did a really good job of slashing tonight. That created some shots for us on the backside, but as far as Chris is concerned, I never thought I’d have to tell a Hall-of-Fame player to shoot the ball. He’s driving Kevin crazy. Book and Kevin Durant are going nuts because they all want him to shoot. And I think one thing that happens when you don’t shoot that shot in rhythm, it throws (Suns starting center) [Deandre Ayton’s] offensive rebounding off, because he’s getting ready to rebound. And when the guy doesn’t shoot, he’s got to get back out of the lane and that can take away from our ability to get extra possessions. When you have a shot, we’ve been a, ‘Let it fly,’ team from the jump and we don’t want guys thinking about it, but especially Chris Paul.”

On Cam Payne not playing in Tuesday’s game:

“Nah, he’s fine. It’s just a decision that I made to try to do something else with that second group. Defensively, having bigger guys out there and the other part is putting the ball in Book’s hands a little bit and letting him play point and orchestrate. So it’s just something that we’re looking at.”

On how Suns players have received changes in the rotation:

“I think if guys weren’t upset about that or competitively upset about it, I’d be surprised. Everybody’s accepted it. When I have conversations with guys about their roles and what I’m planning to do, I go directly to those guys so they know what to expect. And guys, I wouldn’t like it. But they understand what we’re trying to do. It takes a great deal of sacrifice, and sometimes you have to give something up to get what you want. And I’m asking guys to do that. At the same time, we’re learning a lot about our team. And this is our way of trying to find a rhythm, because we don’t have 30 or 40 games to do it. Once we got Kevin back, we got seven games. So just trying to figure out the combinations, what looks good from the eye test and what looks good when we watch film when we go home, and then the numbers based on those combinations.”

On Suns backup guard Landry Shamet’s role with Booker on the floor:

“I think it’s something that, we’ve done it before with those two guys. Landry always gets this bad rap if he doesn’t knock down three or four threes. But I think he’s more than that. I think his ability to defend, and we can switch a lot more with him because he’s [6-foot-5] and he’s pretty strong. And then he spaces the floor. He hasn’t shot it as well as he would like to – not tonight – but I think having him on the floor, teams have to honor that. And he plays with great force, he understands what we do. He plays in point five (the Suns’ offensive scheme in which they look to shoot, dribble or pass within one-half of a second) really well. So it’s something that we hope to grow, because we think having those like-sized guys that are like [6-foot-5, 6-foot-8 to 6-foot-9], being able to switch, it may help us keep teams out of the paint and hopefully, we don’t give up as many threes. I thought we gave up threes tonight on offensive rebounding. That was the deal in the first half and in the second half, we just didn’t have really good steal-out defense in particular, in the third quarter.”

If he feels like Torrey has adjusted well to his role at this point:

“Just about every guy coming off the bench has had to make adjustments, but I don’t know if anybody’s made more than Torrey. He came into this season not knowing he was going to start, he started most of the year and then he ends up coming off the bench and nothing’s changed for him except the minutes. But he’s made an adjustment, he was an offensive rebound guy, spot-up shooter. And then on the defensive end, he guarded the toughest guy. Now, he’s coming off the bench and he’s still bringing the same effort, but his role is different. So I think he deserves a lot of credit for his mental stability, to be able to have the capacity to take on new roles. And he’s done a good job with it.”

On handling minutes now that the team has clinched a playoff berth:

“I think we’re trying to build their capacity to handle those minutes right now, allowing Kevin to have longer stretches. Book is pretty much where he’s going to be, probably bump up maybe two, three, four more minutes to get him to 40. We typically get him at about 36, and Chris, we got to get him to 32 to 36. So this game was good, because they had longer stretches. And I think that’s what builds the endurance and capacity to handle it without getting to that exhaustion limit. So we’re hoping to win these games that we’re playing, but we also want to build cardio so that those guys are ready, because we’re grateful to be able to play in the playoffs again.”

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