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May 13, 2018

Mike D'Antoni

Houston, Texas: Practice Day

Q. Mike, you've been around a lot of really good point guards?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Are you saying I'm old?

Q. Sorry. I won't start with that. When you're working with Chris Paul, what's stood out from him?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Well, he's a future Hall of Famer. Just the intelligence and level that he sees the game, understands the game, thinks the game, watches the game. He gets better at his craft every year.

Understanding what we need. That is off-the-charts good.

Then he's got so many weapons. He's so good at the mid-range game, the low-post game. He plays big in big moments. There's a lot of stuff that goes into a career like he's had.

Q. Clint Capela played Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert quite decisively. Do you think people are still not aware of what Clint Capela is bringing? And why is he so critical to you in this series?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Yeah, I think they may understatement him, which is good for us. The biggest thing, there is always a little caveat. Well, he's good in his role. No, he's good. He's a good center. The guy can play. We don't go to him low post, but that doesn't mean he can't do it. That's not the best options we have, but he has great moves inside. He can do it. If we were to feature him, it would be different. But that's not what we want.

Yeah, they missed the boat. They're trying to justify why they haven't touted him all year. Well, you know, he's getting assists, he's got James Harden, he's got Chris Paul. Yeah, yeah, but but. There are no buts. He's one of the better players in the NBA. I don't care what role he plays. He can play.

Q. In this matchup, how does he figure especially important?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Well, if they go small, he can give us the vertical spacing that we need. If they go big, obviously, then that [indiscernible]. But his ability to be able to switch out on the point guards and guards, his ability to be able to contest three-point shots and guard the post gives us a unique center. Guys that don't have that playing against this, it's almost a must that you have that against Golden State; otherwise, they're going to get you.

This will help. They're still going to get us to a certain degree, but hopefully we can lessen it.

Q. At what point did you know that Gerald [Green] was going to be a good fit here for you?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Probably that first day. I think it was against Boston, he just went crazy. I've known of him, obviously, the league knows of him. But every day you go through an appreciation of his being positive to what he brings to the locker room. After that, he makes shots, he plays hard, he's a great teammate. He grows on you really quick.

Q. How difficult and how important is it to find the balance between sort of rising to the occasion that people have talked about for six months, and then also remembering, it's a basketball game, you do what you've done all year? Sort of balancing those two things?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Well, you can't get overhyped. You can't get too up, too down. We always talked about that. We'll mess up a switch or whatever, and they're going to dunk or [Stephen] Curry is going to get open, hit threes or somebody. You can't worry about it. You have to be able to flip the page, keep going, whether it's a game, whether it's an action, whether it's a quarter. They can come out and string five minutes together. You've got to have a short memory and keep playing every play. We're never out of it, and it's never over, whether it's the series or whether it's a play or one game. We're going to keep that mentality.

Q. Is that something we've seen in the playoffs? Because you've had some of those, the 50-point quarter and things like that. Where these teams have to be able to take a punch?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Yeah, and some teams can take a better punch than others just because sometimes there's not enough talent for a team to take a punch. I think both our teams, we can take punches and keep coming back at you.

Q. Do you think the Warriors have ever seen a team as talented and dangerous in the playoffs as the Rockets?
MIKE D'ANTONI: So far, I hope not. We did win 65 [games]. I don't know if they're the ones always with home-court advantage, so hopefully we've gained a little ground. But these guys are champions for a reason. They've shown on the big stage that they can perform at a very, very high level, as good as anybody ever. We haven't showed that yet. That's the doubt in most people's minds, and rightly so. Until you show us, they don't know. It's like with Clint. Until you show them, they don't know. But if you've beaten every center who comes in here, you think after a while ...

So we've got to beat them and show them that we can do it.

Q. What is it that makes you believe your team will perform at that kind of elite level?
MIKE D'ANTONI: I had the good pleasure of watching them play 82 games. I've been in the locker room, and I know they succeed in what they want to get accomplished.

Q. You talked about Clint facing their small-ball units. The lineup where you have P.J. Tucker at five. Do you see using that more as a counter to what they do or --
MIKE D'ANTONI: No, no, not a counter. That's not a counter. Our numbers show that that's for us, it's not the Hampton Five, but Palm Beach Five -- or I don't know, wherever they hang out. But we have that ability to match up if that's what it calls for. We also have that ability to counteract them going big, so that's something we have as they have.

Q. When you go into preparation, is it hard not to overthink it?
MIKE D'ANTONI: No, we try not to do that. That huge. You don't want to put too many concepts where they get nothing. So we try to float out two to three concepts that we can use that are specific to Golden State. The question is you do you give them one, do you give them two, do you give them three? You don't give them too many because it will all jumble up and won't do anything.

Q. There have been some tense matchups in the past between Chris Paul and Draymond Green. There was a great series against the Clippers and Warriors. How do you expect to manage the chippiness in this series?
MIKE D'ANTONI: Oh, I'm not going to get chippy. They're professionals. They know. I'm sure they're not going to back down. I'm sure we'll be chippy. Everybody should be chippy. But it won't go hopefully over the line. Hey, listen, you're going to compete. And whatever it takes, it takes.

If somebody's chippy, you be chippy back. You know, different permits will do different things. But they all know where it starts hurting the team, and neither one will hurt their own team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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