Monty Williams Praises 'Pretty Thick' Tension at Suns Practice After Game 3 Loss

Erin WalshMay 8, 2022

DALLAS, TX - MAY 6: Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns high fives Landry Shamet #14 of the Phoenix Suns during Game 3 of the 2022 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Semifinals on May 6, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns aren't taking their 103-94 Game 3 loss to the Dallas Mavericks lightly.

Speaking with reporters after Saturday's practice, Suns head coach Monty Williams noted there was "pretty thick" tension among his players, who were still upset about Friday's loss, and that's just how he likes it.

"We like guys that have a level of chippiness, we love guys that are competitive, we love the tension in our gym after we lose a game," Williams said, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. "And it was pretty thick today, which is what I like."

While many teams try to forget about a tough loss quickly, Williams added that focusing on defeat allows his players to regroup for the game ahead:

"When you're a sore loser, you're a sore loser. That's just the way it is. I don't see anybody in the playoffs that's like, 'Man, I just love the way we lost today.' I just don't see that. ... You hate losing and you bring it to the gym the next day. Your food doesn't taste as good, there's an attitude with it. But it also has to be channeled the right way."

The Suns certainly struggled, by their standards, on Friday night. No one reached the 20-point mark, with Jae Crowder's 19 points coming the closest. Stars Devin Booker and Chris Paul finished with 18 points and 12 points, respectively.

For comparison, Booker entered averaging 24.4 points per game in the playoffs, while Paul was averaging 22.6 points per game.

A Game 4 win would put the Suns one step closer to punching their ticket to the Western Conference Finals for the second straight season when they return home for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Suns veteran Mikal Bridges told reporters the team has tried to avoid losing two straight games all season, and that's not going to change when it takes the floor Sunday:

"We all like to win. Nobody likes to lose. It’s every single person in this gym. We try not to lose two in a row ever whether it’s the regular season or playoffs. Just that feeling after losing, it doesn’t feel right. We all take it personal just in a way where we don’t like that feeling and just go out there and try to get a win the next game."

The Suns have only lost back-to-back games four times this season, the most recent being on April 1 against the Memphis Grizzlies and April 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Considering the team has been good at bouncing back all year, there's no reason to believe it won't do so in Game 4 against the Mavericks.