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May 16, 2016

Billy Donovan

Oakland, California: Game One

Q. Mo Speights now, he's a player that you had in college. In what ways has he grown?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think he's really grown a lot. Obviously, I only had him for two years, and I think one of the things that helped Mo when he was at Florida was our front line was pretty extraordinary. We had Horford and Noah and Chris Richard and all those guys that had gotten drafted and Mo was a freshman. I think playing against those guys that helped him. And obviously as a sophomore moving into more of a primary role, he continued to get better.

The one thing that always amazed me with him was his ability and his touch for a big guy. He's got great hands and he can shoot. He's got a really good feel for the game. He's a great teammate and a great guy. He's a good guy to have around. He's got a good heart, and I think for him leaving early like he did, I'm sure there was a tremendous transition that he had to go through in terms of getting himself in great shape and working and understanding the NBA game and those kind of things.

But I've always loved Mo as a guy, and it's great to see him stay in the league as long as he has and have the success that he's had.

Q. Steve was in here and he was talking about the relationship that you all forged throughout the years when he was working NCAA Tournament TV, he said you all even used to talk coaching positions and openings and things like that. What was that relationship like and the development of that relationship?
BILLY DONOVAN: Well, Steve's been a great friend. Someone that I've been able to build a relationship with for a long period of time because I think of what happened in the NCAA Tournament with a lot of other networks getting involved. Steve was in a lot of situations was kind of in our bracket and kind of saw us through the tournament in some situations and we've just been able to develop a relationship.

I've always liked Steve. We've talked about different things. Talked about the NBA, and even talked about himself maybe going into coaching and himself being in the front office. Talked about his family who at the time he was writing those kind of things for himself. But he's just a great, down-to-earth guy, and just through being in college coaching and him covering and doing games we've just kind of been able to build a relationship over the years.

Q. Was there anything specifically that you remember when you guys talked about coaching that you took to heart that you're still using today? Also, one other question if possible, on Klay Thompson and on watching him on film what he's been able to do on both ends of the floor these first two rounds, how impressive has that been?
BILLY DONOVAN: I don't know what the exact conversations are, but we talked on different things. There were some times when different NBA situations had popped up and I had talked to Steve because he obviously was in the front office and knew the league so well. Again, I think very, very gracious with his time.

I think obviously he even talked about getting into it that he wanted to coach, but I know his commitment at that point in time was to his family and his kids and he was waiting for them to be grown and a little bit older.

As it relates to Klay, I think one of the things with him that's very underrated is his defense. Certainly with the way he shoots the basketball and his offensive ability, a lot of that gets talked about. But he's a terrific defender. He works really hard at the end of the floor. He's got good size, he's got good range, he's got good feet, so he's a guy that really plays both ends of the floor.

Q. Coach, how has your experience been through this first round let alone the regular season? What is your comfort level right now?
BILLY DONOVAN: It's been a great experience. We've said this before, the hard part in the NCAA Tournament is you have a game like we had in Game 1 against San Antonio, your season's ended and you're going home and you're sitting with that. The one thing that's great about the playoffs is you get a chance to kind of come back and work to get better and improve and try to get ready for the next game.

So I've enjoyed the process. It's been great. I think a lot of it has to do with the people I've been with every day. The players have been great to work with. The staff that I work with every day have been very helpful. So for me, I really enjoyed it.

Q. In their first two games of series they've not trailed. Their average lead has been 19 after the first quarter. Given your experience on the road against San Antonio in Game 1, how important is it that you guys are there competing from the outset of this game to establish a tone in this series?
BILLY DONOVAN: Again, I don't think it's any different from any game. You certainly want to get off and you want to play well. That always helps. But at the same time, we've got to play for 48 minutes.

Even if we get off to a good start and the game's close early, we're going to have to maintain a level of consistency over 48 minutes. I think that's the challenge. They certainly have got the explosiveness and capability offensively to go on great runs. We're going to have to weather those and work through those emotionally.

But, you know, once you get through the first part of the game, whatever's going on, you've still got to continue to play. So I think for us not only wanting to get off to a good start, but to play a whole 48 minutes would be important.

Q. Andre [Roberson] hadn't really made many shots in the playoffs until Game 6 against San Antonio. When he started making shots, did you see any change in the Spurs defense? Did they have to start guarding him some? If so, what did that do for your offense? If not, what can you do to make people guard him?
BILLY DONOVAN: I don't know exactly what their game plan exactly was on Andre, but couple late-clock situations. I think him shooting corner threes is good for us. Especially late clock and we find he's wide open. He's got to take those. It was good to see him knock down.

I thought he had a couple opportunities there in the second half where the ball went out and could have made a few more. I think it's important that myself and the rest of the guys show him confidence when he's open because he's certainly not taking a lot of them.

But when he does make a few, it really opens the floor for other people. It generates points for us. But to say that I felt like San Antonio was coming out, guarding him a little bit more, I don't know if they were or not. But the ball movement led to him getting some open looks, which him knocking them down helped us.

Q. Coming into the first game, what do you think the biggest difficulty was for you this year?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think probably the biggest adjustment is the number of games and how quickly the games come. If you're fortunate, you're dealing with a 38, 40-game schedule with significant time in between games to practice and prepare. Certainly the NBA there is a limited amount of time to practice and preparation is somewhat different.

But on the flip side of that you're dealing with guys that are older. They absorb things a lot better. They've been through a lot more experiences playing. They're a lot more seasoned. So I'd say the total number of games is totally different.

Q. Are you at all concerned about any of your younger players being overwhelmed by a record setting team or did playing the Spurs in the second round mitigate that?
BILLY DONOVAN: You know, I think that's a great question because I think for all of our guys, to your point of some of the guy's youthfulness, this is the only way to get experience. At some point everybody starts off somewhere, and you've got to go through certain experiences. So I really feel playing Dallas, playing San Antonio has helped our team get better.

We played against two really, really quality teams, really well-coached teams. We're playing against the same thing here with Golden State. These games are only helping these guys get better and gain more experience. I think you have to go through these things in order to gain some experience, and I think our guys will be able to do that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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