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May 17, 2016

Russell Westbrook

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. How important is it to continue to do what you did in the second half last night, which is value the basketball, limit their transition, and make them play half court?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: It's important to take care of the basketball. It puts you in position to get more shots at the baskets and more opportunity to stay tight to the basket instead of just giving them the ball. That's what they're good at. They've got to try to hit threes and make it difficult to guard.

Q. As a team in the fourth quarter, you've had some struggles in the regular season in this quarter too?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: We've been fine. We always have confidence in ourselves. We never thought once as a unit that we had struggles in the fourth quarter. That's stories that kind of you guys made up and we just stuck to what we've been doing all season long and constantly executing.

Q. Has Steven taken his game to a different level in these playoffs?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Steven's been great all season long. Just his growth and his maturity especially at the center position. His ability to be able to switch out and guard his position, his athleticism. I think now he's grown with his mind and doing a spectacular job, especially this postseason. He's constantly getting better and better and learning different things from different series.

Q. To what do you attribute the much-improved defense?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: I feel like all season we've been doing a better job of just constantly learning each other, running new systems, coaches, finding a way to get better throughout the year.

Q. You've stuck together against Warriors' runs, Spurs' runs. Is that a product of you and Kevin's leadership and experience or are there some different factors why you've been able to withstand it?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: We've been there before. Teams are going to make runs. It's that time of the year where you have to stay together as a unit and we've just got to make sure our guys are together and that we can withstand any run and just stick together and stay with it.

Q. Is there a natural tendency to relax and you guys have to fight that off?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Hell no. We don't relax. We didn't win nothing. It's the first team to four, so no matter how you get it done, it's the first team to four. You can't relax, man. Happy teams get beat. You get happy, you get beat. Maintain team confidence. Our job is to constantly keep doing what we've been doing until we get to our building.

Q. Sometimes when the Warriors go small other teams adjust to them and go small. When they went small last night in the fourth quarter, you guys stayed with your lineup. What was the whole thinking about playing against their small lineup?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: We don't think about it. We just play our game. Our job is to play our game to the best of our ability. We feel like when we play our game, we're a tough team to stop.

Q. Coach Donovan talked about a mentality in a tough venue like that and hostile environment. What is it about the way you guys play in these tough road environments?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: Just being able to kind of go in and lock in, I think. You've got to give credit to our guys. Just coming in and focus on the task at hand. Couldn't have done a better job with that especially during the playoffs.

Q. How important was Ibaka defensively?
RUSSELL WESTBROOK: He was great. He did a good job protecting the basket and able to get back and switch out and do different things to change the impact of the game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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