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May 24, 2016

Billy Donovan

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Game Four

Game 4

Q. Billy, the other night Kevin was asked about when you won over players' trust and respect. And he said something along the lines, that's not the way it works. He's the coach, we have to win over his trust and his respect. How did you feel like the relationship was in the beginning in terms of who was winning over the trust and respect? How did that all play out?
BILLY DONOVAN: Well, the first thing I say is every guy on the team has been terrific from day one. But like anything else it takes time to generate and establish relationships. I feel like as a coach, that's my responsibility. So I kind of initiate those things.

So really going back to maybe a year ago and trying to (inaudible), while Kevin was obviously going through rehab for his foot. So we had spent a lot of time together, and went out and go to see Dion [Waiters], go see Enes [Kanter], and try to create a relationship. I think one of the things, and I understand this from college is when you're going through the recruiting process and recruiting a player, the player wants to get to know the coach. And I don't think it's any different wherever you're at. They need to get to know me, and I felt it was my responsibility to put myself out there and develop those relationships and be able to and (inaudible) those kind of things.

But I would say in all my interactions with all of those guys, they couldn't have been any more warmer, any more welcoming, or any more helpful. I remember my first conversation with Steven Adams in New Zealand. And I said to him, "Steven, is there anything I can do to help you or the team? Give me your thoughts." He said, "Coach, let me tell you what I'm going to do." So these guys have been great.

But I think when you come in and it's a different voice and things are different, it does take time. But I wanted it to be a partnership, and I think I said that from day one.

Q. When did you go to New Zealand to see Steven?
BILLY DONOVAN: I didn't go to New Zealand. We spoke over the phone.

Q. You talked about Andre [Roberson] shooting the three and the shot clock and where you go from there. But what does it do with the conversation with him in terms of when you want him to drive, and catch the ball and drive to the basket? It seems he was doing more of that particularly in Game 3.
BILLY DONOVAN: I think more times you get in different situations like that the more comfortable you get. I thought his shot selection, I thought his awareness of when to drive was really good in the game. You know, we need Andre to be aggressive. We need him to make good decisions. We need him to do a lot of things offensively in the next game for us. But you know, you talked about like early threes for us on the clock, you know, probably Kevin, if he's got one, most of the time he'll try to attack. But the clock gets late and the balls flies out of there, I want him to shoot the basketball with confidence, especially if we're generating corner threes.

Q. Are you disappointed that Draymond Green wasn't suspended?
BILLY DONOVAN: You know, I said this after the game, it's not my decision. I said it was up to the League, and the League decides those things. For us and for myself, I need to focus on the things that we've got to focus on and that's getting prepared to play Golden State in Game 4.

Q. The Warriors all along since the beginning of the season, training camp and everything, people expected them to be here where they are now. Maybe you guys not so much. Was there a time during the season where it started to occur to you that this team is special, this team could do something special?
BILLY DONOVAN: I think as a coach you always hold out optimism when you have a group of guys that are great guys, that are working really hard to do the things we're trying to improve on and get better. So I was always optimistic. I know at times we did not play well during the course of the season. In particular coming out of the All-Star Break we played against some really good teams, and I think that also forced us to grow and get better.

But I think you can see as a coach, when you come to work every single day, you know guys are invested. And these guys have been invested in terms of trying to get better.

Q. You've been playing with a large lineup and had success with that. Last game first substitution was to go small and you had a lot of success with that lineup. What did you see that made you comfortable in making that adjustment?
BILLY DONOVAN: Well, some of it had to do with matchups that are on the floor, when we can substitute and you have to look at that. I've said this before, I look at all the numbers, I look at all those things. But I think it's very easy a lot of times to point to numbers and throw things out and make an argument why something is good and/or bad. But a lot of times you have to go back and watch film to really understand it.

For example, when we played against San Antonio, (inaudible) Enes and Steven on the floor together was not great for us. The numbers would prove out, okay, that's a bad lineup. But sometimes as a coach you have to dig a little deeper into, what was going on that did not make it good? And that can happen from game to game.

So some of it has to do with Golden State, their personnel, their guys. Some of it has to do with putting guys out on the floor that we feel cohesively work together. And you're looking at Games 1, 2, 3, you're looking at lineup substitutions and those kind of things. You're looking at what's good, what's not, and what are the reasons why. A lot of times you just can't always be just a (inaudible) if the numbers are there saying it's always bad. I don't agree with that. I understand the number says it's bad, but like why? There are times you say, this is just really a tough match-up, and we can't stop this and we probably don't need to play with this lineup. We need to do something different.

Q. I know you're a numbers guy, but that Game 1 loss to the Spurs, since then your team has really accelerated in a way that's been impressive. Do you feel that was because of the changes you guys made? Did the guys mentally make some adjustments from that game on in a pivotal way that changed you guys defensively?
BILLY DONOVAN: I don't know. San Antonio played very, very well in that game. Us, I felt like we could have done a lot of things better. In particular in that game, a lot had to do with, in my opinion, was what [LaMarcus] Aldridge did in the game. He was phenomenal. They made a lot of long, two-point jump shots. They were really, really efficient. I just felt like what we were doing, we needed to do it at a better level, a higher level, and more intensely. I think that once we started to do that, we got better doing what we were doing because we had the reps from playing a team four, five, six times to see the effort that it requires to follow through on game plan at the level we need to, to give ourselves a chance to win.

Q. Obviously this team hasn't lost back to back, Golden State hasn't lost. So what do you do to keep up the momentum that you have right now, and for the team to have the intensity to beat this team tonight?
BILLY DONOVAN: I never think one game to the next there is any carryover. Each game has its own identity in terms of the competitive challenge for 48 minutes. You know, we've got to play better than we did last game. There are things that we can correct and get better at. But, you know, all the other things that you can talk about, one thing we've got to talk about as a team and a group is we're playing against a really, really good basketball team that really understands how to win.

And to your point, they haven't lost back-to-back games. But we're going to need to play better and focus on the challenges that are in front of us that we have to deal with, instead of like pointing out what happened over the season, what happened last season. No, whatever happened in the last game, it's over and done with. Very similar to it was over and done with in Game 2. This is over and done with, and now we have to be prepared to play tonight.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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