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May 25, 2016

Billy Donovan

Oakland, California: Practice Day

You've mentioned that you have length in your small lineup and how length can bother people. How positive is it to have two guards, [Dion] Waiters and [Russell] Westbrook, who can't really be moved on the post by the big guys?

BILLY DONOVAN: There is certainly versatility with those two guys. I think Russell and Dion are both physical guards. They're big-bodied guards. But listen, the job that they're asked to do sometimes in the post is not an easy one because sometimes they're caught on a lot of different sized players. It takes a lot of focus and discipline and concentration on their part. But physically, they've got the ability to do it.

Q. Was it decided between Games 2 and 3 how to utilize Dre [Andre Roberson] as a screener, roller, that kind of stuff?
BILLY DONOVAN: I say this before every game: You're always looking and evaluating different things that maybe you could do differently. Just trying to look at things we're doing offensively and how to make some changes or do some things not only to help Dre but help everybody.

Golden State is a terrific defensive team. They're really, really good defensively. They've been good the last several years. Sometimes good defensive teams force you to do maybe some different things. We just tried, as best we could, tried not only Dre, but Russell, Kevin [Durant], Serge [Ibaka] and Steven [Adams], how can we best utilize our group collectively out on the floor together?

Q. This might be a cliché, but do you feel like your guys are playing instinctually right now? It seems there's not so much thinking and more just confidence and executing.
BILLY DONOVAN: I think one of the things that playoff series breed -- and again, this is my first time going through a series -- but going through Dallas and going through San Antonio and now Golden State, I think there is a familiarity that you get used to playing the same team. You can go from playing a team like Golden State during the regular season and going to play Portland, and the styles are different. But I think when you're playing against a team and the personnel on that team, you get more familiar playing them night after night after night. And that works both ways. They get more familiar with playing us as well.

Q. Do you see a lot of confidence brimming out of your guys? It seems like just the force that they're playing with --
BILLY DONOVAN: I think we've been balanced. Again, we have great respect for Golden State. We know how good of a team they are. You've got to get to a place after each game -- what happened in the game, what do we need to get better, what do we do well, what are some changes or adjustments we need to make, and then you've got to move into the next one.

I just don't believe that Game 5 is a continuation from Game 4. This is its own separate game and we're going to have to go now on the road to play in a very difficult environment against a great team. We've got to prepare today and tomorrow to go out and play tomorrow night.

Q. How would you describe the overall state of your half-court defense, looking at the way you played the last two games? The phrase "on a string" comes to mind.
BILLY DONOVAN: We've gotten better. I think, again, familiarity breeds a little more comfort, and I think the same thing could be said for them. Anytime you're seeing something over a period of time you get more comfortable understanding speed, quickness, length, those kind of things. But we've got to continue to get better. Again, there are things that happened in the game last night that we need to improve and clean up. There were some things we did very, very well. But I think we continue to hopefully throughout the course of the series defensively get better.

Q. How hard is it to maintain that combination of physicality and speed and quickness with your rotations? That seems to be a tall order, but once again, you've done that at a pretty high level in the last couple games.
BILLY DONOVAN: I've got a lot of trust and confidence in a lot of different guys on our team. Sometimes different series bring out different matchups. For example, we got a lot of great contributions from Enes [Kanter] in San Antonio. There have been certain times where he's been able to help, and there have been certain times that some other guys have been able to help.

Every series brings out something a little bit different. I think as the group goes collectively as a whole, I think all of them have stayed really engaged and really ready to play and really ready to try to contribute anyway they can.

Q. The small-ball lineup, a lot of what we're seeing out of that has been attributed to Andre's play on both ends. But the defense of Russ, Kevin and Dion, how much of an impact has that had on that lineup's success?
BILLY DONOVAN: You have to be able to guard. They're a very, very explosive offensive team, as you saw that in the third quarter with Klay Thompson running off 19 straight points. They're going to score a ton. They're going to make tough shots. The ability to be able to concentrate and focus on trying to play defense is really, really important.

To your point, I think Dion, Kevin, Russell, Andre, some of our perimeter defenders, they have done a really good job of trying to stay engaged and focused and communicate. When you're playing against a team that's as explosive offensively as Golden State is, communication is a huge, huge premium. You have to communicate because there are going to be broken-floor situations, there are going to be transition situations, there are going to be all these kind of things where you can be caught where there is some level of confusion, and you've got to fix and solve the problem as quickly as you can.

Q. That small-ball lineup played I think like 46 minutes together in the regular season, didn't play at all together in the first two rounds. Now it's just shredding Golden State. Is it communication or something else that's led to that kind of evolution?
BILLY DONOVAN: Yeah, I mean Serge has done some of that stuff before in the past. And we did it, to your point, a little bit, not much. Steven was out there a little bit when we were a little bit smaller when Serge was off the floor. Again, as a coach you try to just create some clarity for them in terms of how we need to play and the things we need to do. But, really, they're the ones going out there. I think our guys are playing with really good energy and so is Golden State. Both teams are playing with a lot of energy.

If you think about this, a lot goes into the preparation, but if there are 90 shots in a game by both teams and both teams shoot 50%, that's 90 loose balls that are up in the air. So there is a lot more than just the preparation and scouting. There are plays that happen in these series and in these games that scouting is not involved, preparation is not involved. We've got to be able to react and play. That requires communication, being in the right spot, remembering your assignment, blocking out, trying to react and be quick to basketballs, those kind of things.

Q. You have six guys averaging double figures in this series. What's that say about the trust level that's been developed among these guys?
BILLY DONOVAN: Russell and Kevin, they're very, very willing passers. They both have done a terrific job of moving the basketball and trying to generate and create shots not only for themselves but for their teammates. They're playing very, very unselfishly.

It's allowed Serge, it's allowed Dion, it's allowed Steven at times and it's allowed Andre to kind of inject themselves into offensive possessions. Those two guys deserve a lot of credit because I think they understand that to try to play the game at a sustainable level, you have to play with five people. You've got to play together on both ends of the floor.

Q. The last game against San Antonio, they came out right from the jump and tried to throw a couple of haymakers, and you guys were able to withstand that and go on and win the game. Do you expect the Warriors to come out in Game 5 throwing a couple of roundhouses?
BILLY DONOVAN: Yeah, they've played hard every game that we've played against them. I hope we've tried to do the same. They're a team that understands how to win. They're a team that's had unprecedented success with what they've done. They've got guys that have been there before. So, yeah, they're going to come out and play really well, and hopefully we can come out and play really well too.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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