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May 3, 2016

Festus Ezeli

Draymond Green

Oakland, California: Game Two

Warriors - 110, Trail Blazers - 99

Q. Festus, you sat over there for I think 80 minutes to start the series and then came in and had that impact. How did you stay ready in that situation?
FESTUS EZELI: You know, this team, we have a lot of talent and I trust the coaches, we all do. And our job is to stay ready and just be ready when your number is called.

Q. Draymond, what was it like to watch Festus during all this, not just tonight, but to see him come off the bench to greet guys when he's not playing and seeing him stay motivated and stay ready?
DRAYMOND GREEN: You know, it's great, a true professional. He trusts the process. That is the key to this team, we all trust the process. There are times where I don't know, Coach Kerr has a weird way of saying it. He'll call the game athletic, I thought he was going to come in with four minutes to go and start scoring. Coach Kerr does that sometimes.

One thing about Coach Kerr and the coaching staff, they have a great feeling for how the game is going. He came in today and made a huge impact. Earlier today after shootaround I walked through the weight room and he's in there doing cardio. Hey, be ready tonight, big fella. We're going to need you tonight and he showed up. That says a lot to his character, a lot to the player he is, and a lot about the teammate that he is.

Before it was Andy who wasn't playing, and it was Festus and Mo getting the minutes, and now tonight he came up huge for us. Changed the entire game for us. Some people are going to look and say, oh, he had a couple lobs and had a put back, no, it's not that. Did you see him on the ball screen with Damian Lillard when Damian Lillard completely took over the game? Did you see him on the ball screen when C.J. McCollum? Did you see him stop the ball screen when C.J. McCollum got back and blocked Mason Plumlee's shot?

That's the stuff that I look at. Did you see him coming up with the huge rebounds when we needed rebounds? So he was great tonight. One of the biggest reasons we were able to pull this game out.

Q. Festus' impact at the end was obvious, but how much did Andre help you keep you in it to stem the tide there in the middle of the game?
DRAYMOND GREEN: Andre was huge when really no one else could get it going. He got in the lane a couple times and made big finishes. When we made our run there on a couple of crazies, he hit some big shots as well. Not only that, but defensively and being a facilitator. He was huge when everything was going wrong. He is for us. He is that calm for us.

FESTUS EZELI: The ultimate professional.


FESTUS EZELI: One that exemplifies -- the things that I did tonight, he does every night. He comes off the bench somebody that was a starter and former All-Star and he brings that energy for us. He is the guy that is the commander of the bench unit, and he leads our team every night.

So it's just now that Steph is not there, you see it even more and he does a little more for us. But he's a pretty big guy for us.

Q. Festus, how surprising was it not to play the other day? Also, what has this entire season been like for you? You got hurt at times. At one point you're maybe thinking you're even willing to accept that you might have gotten cut by the team.
FESTUS EZELI: It's been a heck of a ride, to be honest. I really can't complain. Yeah, I was kind of a little down. I found out I was injured and I had to have surgery again on another knee. But at the end of the day I have amazing teammates. Guys like Draymond and everybody on the team come over and wrap their hands around me like we've got you. And that's very comforting to me, and it motivates me more than anything.

So when I'm doing my rehab and I'm working, I'm just champing at the bit to get back on the court with these guys to help them win. So those 31 games I missed, I just couldn't wait to get back on the court, and mostly just because I wanted to be out there with my brothers.

And what we've been able to accomplish this year so far, it's beyond imagination. I keep saying that this kid that just started playing basketball ten years ago, all of a sudden I'm in this locker room with all these great guys. I'm just really blessed.

DRAYMOND GREEN: I don't mean to butt in, but when I look at his season, I don't see a bunch of ups and downs. I see him having an amazing year. Improving and everything you said he needed to improve on, whether it was his hands or his rebounds or whether it was his post move, he did it.

Obviously, the one down was a big down. Now you look and say a lot of ups and downs because he didn't play the other nights. There aren't many games he hasn't played. I think he's having a tremendous year. With the exception of the injury, he came back a couple games rusty. That's probably expected after 31 games. He's having an amazing year and he's been key to everything we've been doing this year.

Q. Draymond, you had the one low-energy game against the Rockets with the seven turnovers and stuff. Ever since then it's like you've been on fire. What are you tapping into?
DRAYMOND GREEN: I was 7 for 20. 0 for 5 from three. I mean, I don't look at my shots and try to determine whether I had a good game or not. I felt like I missed a lot of good shots tonight in and out.

Then I also feel like I was a bit thirsty at times tonight. I said I think there came a point where me and Klay were trying to do too much. When we settled down and trusted everybody else, that's when everything started to click for us. So as far as the way I've been playing with the exception of that one game, it's playoff basketball. This is what we live for. You play the whole season to get to this point.

So I'm always excited when it comes this time of year. And I think when you should be trying to play your best basketball at this time of the year. I've been playing pretty well, so it's been working out for me.

But really just trusting my teammates, trusting the system, and not getting too out of character. Like my (Indiscernible).

Q. Festus, your play was obviously the catalyst to get this team going tonight. Did you feel when you came off the bench this was going to be something you had to do? In your own mind did you think maybe it's up to me to give them a spark?
FESTUS EZELI: No, it's never up to one guy on this team. But I know what my job is every night. I know I have to come out, bring energy for the team, block shots, rebound, block shots for my man, and those bring energy. Those are catalysts for our team, and I just want to do them to the best of my ability. So every night that's what my job is, and just I was one-track minded when I got out there.

Q. Safe to say this is (No Microphone).
FESTUS EZELI: Well, we won a championship last year. But this is a great win. Definitely a big team win for us. We've just got to keep figuring it out, one game at a time.

Q. Draymond, you touched on this a little bit. Obviously they looked like they changed their defensive strategy on Klay, and he's done such a great job scoring for you guys with Steph out. Tonight he looked like he was very frustrated for the first three quarters, even got a technical there in the third quarter. What brought him back? Did he do that on his own? Did you guys kind of get him pumped up? Steve Kerr's timeout maybe do it? I don't know.
DRAYMOND GREEN: I told him one thing in the timeout. Keep shooting, you're getting good shots. And they did change their scheme a little, but I think he still got good shots, they just didn't fall. He brought himself back. He's a competitor. He's not going to say oh, it was a bad game and just live with that and be okay with it. He stepped up in a big moment. Obviously guys were able to find him in a couple situations, but he knocked shots down.

The frustration was there, but you've got to give him credit for the first three quarters, but that's why we play a 48-minute game and the last 12 minutes, I think he came in at the 8-minute mark and he was the Klay we needed in order to win these games. So I say give him some credit because he bounced back and that's what we needed.

Q. Festus, you were talking about energy. Actually I saw you were screaming under the basket when (No Microphone) in the fourth quarter. What went through your mind at that point? You were screaming like crazy.
FESTUS EZELI: I think he's rubbing off on me to be honest. I was really quiet when I got to this season, but we started to get the momentum back, especially defensively. We had a couple stops on the role, and it was effort plays. I would help out on the ball screen and Draymond would have my back, so I'd have to crack back on his man. We were getting stops that way.

It's fun to be a part of. It's fun to watch. When we play team ball, there is a lot of energy and emotion that comes into that, so that was my excitement from getting another stop. That's my job. Like I said, defense is key to winning games, to winning championships. So that's what gets me excited.

Q. Draymond, after last game I think Iguodala and others talked about your communication on defense with Bogut. How does that change when Festus is on the floor? And Festus, what is Draymond like as a communicator on defense?
DRAYMOND GREEN: It doesn't change. When he's in the ball screen, I'm the last line of defense, and I'm just behind him telling him, hey, stay up, stay up. I got your back. It's important that one thing I used to -- coaches used to always tell me, if you're that last line of defense, you have to be loud, you have to talk. I think our bigs do a great job of that. Especially against a team like this, I can't have him up there, did you see him in that pick-and-roll? He was incredible. I can't have him up there defending the pick-and-roll worried about what Mason Plumlee's doing behind him. So you've got to be there talking to him because he can't see it. And I think that's very important, that's a key to our defense.

Bogut's great at it. He helps all of us with it. So it's important that we continue to do that.

Q. Draymond, both Damian Lillard and Terry Stotts came in here and talked about how they competed and really outplayed you for three quarters, just didn't finish. This could be a devastating loss in a playoff series. But do you think they're going to take some confidence in how they were able to compete with you going back home?
DRAYMOND GREEN: Oh, of course. They're a tough team at home anyway. So they're definitely going to take confidence. To their credit, they were better than us for three quarters. But we have another game, and I think we came out in that fourth quarter and got it done on the defensive end. When you look at the score, 34 points in the first. 25, 28, 12. I think that's the key to the game.

We talked about that the entire series. Defensive mindset. Offense will happen. We've got to go in with the defensive mindset and hold this team. As hot as they were, they were hitting everything at first, hold them to 99 points, keep them under 100? That's tough to do.

So that fourth quarter for us defensively was huge, and that's how we have to be the entire series if we're going to win the series.

Q. Festus, I know you usually stay in the moment and leave this stuff to Bill. But on a night like this, on this platform, do you think about what that could do for you this summer?
FESTUS EZELI: No. Try to stay in the moment. No, our main goal coming into the season, ever since the summer -- I still remember in the summer we were all texting in a group chat talking about how we can't wait to get back and get back to practice. That's a very special feeling to have with a basketball team.

We're all like a band of brothers. So all that other stuff, the individual selfish stuff, there is really no room for that on this team. We have one goal, and we've had it since we got back in training camp, and it's fun. It's been a fun year so far, so we're trying to finish it out right.

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