MILWAUKEE – Before the Phoenix Suns even made it to Milwaukee for the biggest game of their lives, Game 6 of the NBA Finals, their coach, Monty Williams, could sense that his team’s hangover after the tough defeat in the fifth game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
“When we got to the plane, the players had the same look and in the morning meetings, they were talking, having breakfast. It was very nice, ”Williams said Monday, in the media session prior to Game 6 on Tuesday (9 pm ET).
“These kinds of losses are tough, but if you’re going to do something great, you have to overcome those kinds of blows,” he added.
Being the best touring team in the league during the regular season hasn’t been reflected in the NBA Finals for the Suns, who lost the first two games at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.
Either way, in Games 3 and 4, the Suns had the lead in the series, after going up 2-0. Circumstances are very different now, as Phoenix is forced to win to extend its season and have a chance to win the championship in Game 7 at the newly renamed Footprint Center.
“In all these playoffs, this is our first elimination game, so it’s real. I don’t look back, ”said Chris Paul. “We must go out, be ready to play and win or go home.”
Game 5 was a disappointment for the Suns, from blowing a 16-point lead in the first quarter to a costly fumble by Devin Booker with less than 20 seconds left, when Phoenix trailed by one point and had a chance to score. go up on the scoreboard.
However, there is nothing the Suns can do about that loss or the two that preceded it. The challenge is to win a match to stay alive.
“It’s definitely exciting,” Paul said. “It’s something that the coach and everyone has said: if you went to the start of the season and said that we had a chance to be where we are now, would you take it? Absolutely, absolutely, and we have a chance to determine the outcome.
“It’s not that the game is going to be simulated or someone else is going to play. We have a chance to win. We control our own destiny and that’s what’s exciting, ”he added.
In the 2-2-1-1-1 formats of the Finals, teams trailing 3-2 in the series are 4-21 (4-22 including the 2020 bubble season, which did not involve trips between games). Considering history, the Bucks are currently wide favorites.
Still, Booker said what the Suns are trying to accomplish has nothing to do with the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers, the 1978 or 1969 Washington Bullets and the 1962 Boston Celtics, teams that beat the odds at this point.
“It’s hard to compare and contrast what LeBron James did in the Finals in any year. We have a group that is us and we keep it that way, ”exclaimed Booker. “Right now we are trying to resolve our situation, how are we going to go out on the court and play. We know that it is possible with this group and what we have learned most of the season ”.
The Suns were able to generate some rhythm at the end of Game 5 by using a 12-3 rally over a three-minute span to cut the Bucks’ lead to one point in the final minute, something Williams claims his players have maintained. in his attitude for Tuesday’s life and death game.
“I saw a lot of resilience and an attitude of not being beaten. Being able to cut the lead to one point is what stuck in my mind and gives our staff and the team a lot of confidence going into Game 6, ”Williams insisted.
It’s the first time the Suns have been down in the playoffs since trailing 2-1 to the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. Since then they have won nine in a row, a streak that catapulted them to the Western Conference championship.