Chris Paul recorded 32 points and nine rebounds, Deandre Ayton (Bahamas/Nigeria) added 22 points and 19 rebounds, Devin Booker finished with 27 points, and the Phoenix Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 118-105 in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Ayton is now the sixth player in NBA (www.NBA.com) history to record 15+ points and 15+ rebounds in a Finals game at age 22 or younger, joining Magic Johnson, Alvan Adams, Kawhi Leonard, Johnny Kerr and Tom Heinsohn. The Suns went 25 from 26 from the free throw line to seal their historic first win.
Download document (1): Adam Silver NBA Finals 7-6-21 (https://bit.ly/3ADaVpO)
Download document (2): Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton Post game 1 (https://bit.ly/3qOcPj2)
Download document (3): Chris Paul Post game 1 (https://bit.ly/3hJVSlK)
Download document (4): Deandre Ayton Post game 1 (https://bit.ly/3ywRZam)
Download document (5): Giannis Antetokounmpo Post game 1 (https://bit.ly/2SQhEvy)
Download document (6): Mike Budenholzer – Postgame 1 (https://bit.ly/3hD653g)
Download document (7): Monty Williams – Postgame 1 (https://bit.ly/3hD653g)
Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 29 points and seven rebounds while two-time MVP Giannis Antetokonumpo (Greece/Nigeria) was back in the starting lineup to add 20 points and 17 rebounds.
More than 16,000 fans attended the Finals opener at the Phoenix Suns Arena. The Finals will return this Friday morning with Game 2 at 3:00 a.m. CAT.
Mike Budenholzer (Bucks Head Coach): “We can get better. It’s something we live by. It’s one of our mantras, just keep getting better. I’m sure both teams are going to look at the film and be talking about that. But I think this group’s embraced that on a day-to-day basis. So, when you lose a Game 1 or you lose a game, I think it’s a good place to go mentally is just look, just evaluate and see where we can get better.”
Monty Williams (Suns Head Coach) on Chris Paul: “He’s just a really good basketball player. He’s one of those rare guys that can see the floor and he knows where all five guys should be. He took advantage of his opportunities tonight versus their switching defense and thankfully he made shots.” (on Chris Paul)
Monty Williams on Deandre Ayton: “I’m just happy that he’s playing well and I’m happy that he has an effect on the game in different ways. It’s not just offense. There are games where defensively he impacts the game and covers up a lot of mistakes that we make. It usually takes younger bigs a lot longer, but again, I think playing with Chris, playing with Devin and the work that DA puts in with Coach Mark Bryant has really helped him. He is a talented player. His ability to rebound and finish around the basket, and then to have a big that can step up and make free throws is something that we don’t take for granted. He would be the first one to tell you, if he gets a chance to sit here, that it’s one game and we have a lot more work to do. That’s where his focus is probably at right now, just winning the next game.”
Deandre Ayton (Suns): “I’m just happy because I woke up saying this is just one game closer. I get goose bumps, sometimes I overwhelm myself on the way to the game. I’m having a lot of fun because my guys in there they keep me level and they keep me intent with it.”
Chris Paul (Suns): “I’m just like everybody else. I got those memories that come up on my phone, that show you where you were like a year ago. Abdel Nader came up to me in the locker room before the game, he was like, C, a year ago today we left to go to the bubble. So it’s amazing to think all the things that have taken place since then. But I’m grateful for where I am now and happy to have this opportunity.”
Chris Paul on Deandre Ayton: “I sat in the background during DA’s press conference right now, just seeing him talk, just seeing the maturity in him not only as basketball player but as a person. Everybody doesn’t get a chance to know him off the court, but he has the biggest heart. One of the best guys you’ll ever meet. So the success and the recognition that he’s getting right now is well deserved, and I couldn’t be happier for another guy on our team.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks): “It felt good. It felt good. Just wearing the jacket and seeing the Finals logo on the jacket and the jersey; obviously, we didn’t get the win, but it’s good to be here. It’s good to enjoy the moment, enjoy the games. You can never take things like this for granted and just try to make the best out of it. But I’m happy that we’re able to be here. We worked hard all year to have an opportunity to win a championship, and we’re going to keep working hard day-by-day and put ourselves in a position to win.”
Khris Middleton (Bucks): “I think it’s just all of them, not just the Toronto series, last year in the bubble; this year in the playoffs against Brooklyn. We were down 3-2 and was able to force Game 7 and win a game on their home court. So I think, you know, we’ve been through a lot. We’ve been through it all. We know it’s not going to be easy. We know it’s going to be tough and there’s times where we’re going to be down in the series. But the series is not over yet if we’re down. We still have to keep competing and just playing.”
Please find select images (please credit NBAE/Getty Images) with players and coaches’ transcripts attached.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver hosted his annual NBA Finals media availability prior to Game 1, please find the transcript attached as well.
To view the teams’ postgame media availabilities, click on the links below:
Bucks postgame media availability (https://bit.ly/3xAzRwx)
Suns postgame media availability (https://bit.ly/3qPocax)