PHOENIX SUNS

Monty Williams’ pep talk leads to strong Game 2 finish from Suns’ Ayton

Jul 8, 2021, 9:56 PM | Updated: Jul 9, 2021, 1:19 am

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, left, reacts with head coach Monty Williams during the first hal...

Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, left, reacts with head coach Monty Williams during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

There’s a reason why coaches from around the league voted the Phoenix Suns’ Monty Williams as the 2020-21 NBCA Coach of the Year.

It’s because of moments like Thursday night during the 118-108 win in Game 2 of the NBA Finals over the Milwaukee Bucks to take a 2-0 series lead.

With just under eight minutes remaining in the contest and Phoenix up 98-88, Williams was seen and mic’d up for a pep talk with Suns center Deandre Ayton during a timeout.

“This is the deal: One, when getting back in transition, if you don’t have Giannis (Antetokounmpo), find a man and be a guard,” Williams told Ayton.

“Two, look at me — you’ve set a high level for yourself. That’s why you’re down. That’s great. So now go reach that level. You can reach it with force. It doesn’t have to be stats all the time. Go dominate the game with force. Because you’ve set a high level for yourself. Go dominate the game with force.”

Following the pep talk from Williams, Ayton did exactly what his head coach asked of him.

In the final 7:41 of Game 2, the Suns center compiled two points, three rebounds, one assist, one block and two steals.

With 4:13 left and Phoenix up six, Ayton grabbed an offensive board which led to a Chris Paul three to extend the lead to 106-97.

“It was huge. It was like the play of the game,” the Point God said. “DA, he’s so hard on himself.

“He’s so mad at how he played and whatnot, but I tell him if he doesn’t get that offensive rebound and find me there in the corner, that’s probably the biggest play of the game. So, it just shows you how we all have to stay the course.”

Ayton finished the night with a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards to go along with four assists, three steals and two blocks.

“I try to be an encourager in huddles, especially when I see a guy down or the team is not at the level where they should be mentally,” Williams said postgame. “I don’t want to make up stuff. I know what it’s like to be in those huddles and you want to know the truth, but you also need sometimes a pep talk, sometimes encouragement.

“I just try to be authentic and speak from the heart. Sometimes it requires me to shut up and not say anything. I think our players understand where I’m coming from when I come to the huddle I want to have something substantial to say or I’m just not going to say anything. So that’s just the way I approach it.”

Game 3 of the Finals is set to tip off on Sunday at 5 p.m. Catch all the action on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Suns Station.

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker warms up before Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo warms up before Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Fans watch players warm up before Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) passes the ball while defended by Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) dunks against the Phoenix Suns during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, left, is defended by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, left, shoots against Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder (99) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) The Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns start Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, dribbles against Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, left, jumps for the ball next to Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton, middle, and forward P.J. Tucker during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, right, shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer gestures during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, second from left, watches Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis (9) defends a shot by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, is defended by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jeff Teague during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams gestures during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) passes the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jeff Teague (5) and center Bobby Portis (9) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, passes the ball against Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis (9) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder, bottom, reacts after being called for a foul on Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) dunks against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives against Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson (23) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts after contact during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker reacts after contact during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker (17) reacts toward referee Zach Zarba during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, middle, shoots between Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, left, and center Deandre Ayton (22) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Jimmy Eat World performs during halftime of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) reacts during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Jimmy Eat World performs during halftime of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots against Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, left, reacts with head coach Monty Williams during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, reacts with guard Chris Paul (3) during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Fans cheer during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, left, reaches for the ball against Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) dribbles against the Milwaukee Bucks during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, middle, is defended by Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez, top, and forward Khris Middleton during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) handles the ball against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, jogs past head coach Monty Williams after shooting a three point basket during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots against Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25), forward Jae Crowder (99) and center Deandre Ayton during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker (17) pulls down a rebound as Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul looks on during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo shoots as Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, right, defends during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool) Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) is defended by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer, left, greets forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo grabs his leg during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Fans cheer during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, center, greets fans during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, left, shoots against Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton (24) during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, dunks over Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, passes the ball against Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) shoots against Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) shoots against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo sits on the sidelines during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis, left, scores as Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne, bottom, looks on during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool) Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, left, shoots against Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) 
              Milwaukee Bucks forward P.J. Tucker, center, shoots as Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, right looks on during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool)
            
              Phoenix Suns forward Torrey Craig grabs his leg during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, left, celebrates with Jae Crowder after the Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, right, is defended by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Fans help Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton get up during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) jumps for the ball as Phoenix Suns forward Cameron Johnson defends during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool) Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges, left, celebrates with forward Cameron Johnson (23) during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) walks past Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton (22) is defended by Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, middle, cheers during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Suns and the Milwaukee Bucks, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, dunks over Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton during the first half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, pool) Fans cheer during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York) Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges (25) celebrates with guard Chris Paul (3) after the Suns defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne, right, passes the ball against Milwaukee Bucks guard Jeff Teague (5) during the second half of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals, Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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