Monday night brings us one of the more anticipated playoff series in a long time, as the Thunder take on the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals at 8 p.m. The Thunder departed for the Bay area on Sunday afternoon, but before it did, OKC held a practice session that ended with Enes Kanter, Dion Waiters and Billy Donovan talking with reporters.
All three guys had a lot to say about the upcoming series that can be seen in the video above, but here are a few highlights from what they said.
On matching up with the Warriors… “We’ve got athletic bigs, especially when it comes to our guard play, we have a lot of guards. It makes it easier when you’re out there playing against a team like that, who runs a lot of random offenses at times. Just comes down to a lot of different things and I feel like we match up well.”
On his physical defense… “I like being physical down there, especially with a guy who thinks he has a mismatch. I kind of look forward to those kinds of matchups when he thinks he has an easy one but I just try to make it tough. I love playing guys like that.”
Dion on his post defense: "I like being physical down there, especially against a guy who thinks he has a mismatch" pic.twitter.com/5LSKAq777X— News 9 Sports (@News9Sport) May 15, 2016
Dion on his post defense: "I like being physical down there, especially against a guy who thinks he has a mismatch" pic.twitter.com/5LSKAq777X
On the Thunder’s offensive rebounding… “I think we’ve got some of the best offensive rebounding bigs in the league as far as E (Kanter) and Steve (Adams). They just do a tremendous job of banging all night and it kind of puts pressure on the offensive team to try to get a rebound. Because the more possessions we get the better for us. And I think they do a tremendous job of keeping the ball alive and getting us extra possessions.”
On how fun the playoffs have been... “For me, it’s a hell of a ride, to be honest with you man, I’m enjoying every moment of it. The best part to me is just preparing for it. Coming in here every day, watching film, just the little things. I’m just soaking everything up.”
On getting good possessions… “I think we’re doing a really good job of taking care of the ball, I think that’s the most important thing. And we’re doing a really good job of finding the open man. We’re sharing the ball, and on both ends we’re communicating really well. I think it’s going to work out really well for us in the game.”
On rebounding… “It’s going to be definitely important, especially offensive rebounds because they give us extra possessions. So every time we’re out there, the bigs— Serge, Nick Collison, me, Mitch—whoever’s out there will be trying to get offensive boards.”
On Andrew Bogut’s questionable status… “I think the only thing we can do is stick with our gameplan, don’t worry about who they’re going to start and who they’re not going to start. Just go out there and do our job and not worry about what they’re going to do.”
Kanter on Warriors: "Don't worry about them, just worry about ourselves" pic.twitter.com/AJjYcY0d5h— News 9 Sports (@News9Sport) May 15, 2016
Kanter on Warriors: "Don't worry about them, just worry about ourselves" pic.twitter.com/AJjYcY0d5h
On playing in Oracle… “It’s a loud crowd, but like I said, this team has something really special and this team can beat any team on any floor so we don’t really about what building its in or who we’re playing against we’re just going to have to go out there and play our basketball.
On guarding the Warriors’ small-ball attack… “They can go small, but we can go big. I believe this team we have is athletic enough to guard them. Even if they go small and we go big I think we’re athletic enough to guard them.”
On defending the Warriors’ spacing… “Spacing is always created by how well your team shoots the basketball, and they shoot it at an extremely high level. Obviously Thompson and Curry are terrific, but Barnes shoots it very well, Iguodala can shoot it from out there, Barbosa can shoot it out there. They have different guys who can go out there and shoot the basketball. Draymond Green from the four spot is going to shoot it. So they have the ability to put four 3-point shooters or five, so that’s what generally creates spacing.
On SA & GSW: "The style of play and systems are different. There's a lot of ways to skin a cat and be successful" pic.twitter.com/IehAg9tj48— News 9 Sports (@News9Sport) May 15, 2016
On SA & GSW: "The style of play and systems are different. There's a lot of ways to skin a cat and be successful" pic.twitter.com/IehAg9tj48
On if defending San Antonio’s style of play will help them against the Warriors… “I think the style of play and the systems are different. I’m not comparing which one’s better or worse, it’s just different. I think there’s a lot of ways to skin a cat and be really, really successful. I’ve always admired San Antonio’s ability, with their big men, to really pass the basketball. Golden State has big men that pass it in Bogut and Draymond Green but they go about doing it a different way. So there’s going to be some carry overs to take over from San Antonio going into this series but at the same point it’s a different style of play.