Shootaround Notes – 5/20/17

The Western Conference Finals have shifted to San Antonio for the next two games of the series. Several Warriors players and Coach Brown met with the media following Friday’s practice and Saturday’s shootaround ahead of Game 3 to discuss a variety of topics, including the challenges of playing in San Antonio, lineup possibilities, the effect of the arena on shooting and more:

On who will start in place of injured Zaza Pachulia:

Mike Brown: “We’ll probably start JaVale [McGee], but we’re still talking about it.”

On if the Warriors could go small to start:

Mike Brown: “We could. It’s something that if he can’t go, we’ll definitely talk about it. Obviously with the roster that we have, we have a lot of flexibility. We feel like we can start big if we want to. We’ve still got D. West there. We’ve still got JaVale there. We can go small with Matt Barnes. Depending on what the matches look like, we’ve started Patty [McCaw] before. So we feel good about the different combination we can go to if need be.”

On the challenges presented by playing in San Antonio:

Kevin Durant: “It’s a playoff atmosphere, man. Been here before in the Western Conference Finals three times now. I think they’re just as loud in the regular season as they are around this time. They’re a consistent fan base, loyal. They cheer for their team…I went to college down here, so I know how deep that Spurs love is. It’s going to be exciting. It’s exciting. It’s a great time of year for basketball players and fans around the country, around the world.”

Draymond Green: “Obviously they’re a good team. They have a great home crowd. When you’re playing against a team like this that doesn’t make many mistakes, especially on their home floor, every mistake you make is amplified. It’s multiplied by 10 when you make a mistake because they already don’t make many. And then their crowd, they feed off that. They feed off the mistakes you make. They get loud, and then their team ends up feeding off them…They have a great thing here. It makes it tough to win, but at the end of the day, it’s not impossible.”

Shaun Livingston: “You just have to expect the whole book to be thrown at you. Popovich, one of the greatest coaches ever, coming out and having his guys ready to play. One of the best teams at home during the season, and this is where they get behind their crowd and really make plays. So we have to be dialed in tonight and come ready to play.”

Mike Brown: “The fans here are tremendous. It’s a loud building. They’re into it, they’ve been into it the whole time, and you can just feel the energy from them make this thing go.”

On what to expect out of the Spurs, down 2-0:

Shaun Livingston: “I think being down 2-0, you come out and you play with that desperation anyway. But not having him out there will give them a chip on their shoulder, per se, and so we have to be ready for anything.”

Mike Brown: “San Antonio is more than capable. Obviously Pop challenged the group after the last game, and so we know that they’re dangerous. Pau [Gasol] came out and said they’re a wounded animal…They’re playing at home – they won by 40 against Houston when they played this way last time prior to us. So there’s definitely cause for concern, making sure that we’re going into tonight’s game the right way.”

On the strategy behind preparing for an injured opponent:

Mike Brown: “For us, it’s easier to plan as if everybody is there. And then if somebody is a no-show, or if they’re scratched from the lineup, it’s easy to just kind of disregard your preparation for the individual.”

On how Kawhi Leonard’s absence changes things:

Shaun Livingston: “Anytime the best player is out, it’s always a trap game. Human nature is to just let your guard down. It’s like, they don’t have an MVP candidate, so it makes it an automatic win. It doesn’t work like that in the NBA. It’s actually backwards. It’s harder to win when the best players are out, because then you have guys come off the end of the bench who you haven’t game planned for, you know, they can put up big games if you’re not ready.”

On the roll the Warriors are on:

Draymond Green: “Yeah, I feel like we’re moving in the right direction, but I still feel like we’ve got a lot of room to grow. That growth is happening every night. It’s not like we’re just so far off and we think we’re the best thing since sliced bread and we’re nowhere near where we could possibly go. When I say get better, I think it’s cleaning up on a lot of the mistakes that we do make. They’re just most of the time simple mistakes, where it’s being a little bit more focused, or making that one extra pass, or making that one extra rotation. I think if we can clean up all those things, that can make us even better.”

Kevin Durant: “Oh, we’re just trying to go out there and play. We’re not coming out of the locker room saying let’s win by 17, you know. Of course you want to win. That’s the goal and you have to talk about it, but we just try to go out there each possession at a time and play good basketball each possession.”

On what effect – if any – the surrounding physical environment has on shooting:

Stephen Curry: “I was asked that question yesterday. It doesn’t matter what gym I’m in, I love to shoot the ball. I heard Klay say he’d shoot anywhere, he mentioned like the beach or somewhere crazy. But honestly, shooters love to shoot. It doesn’t really matter where it is, home or road. The only difference really is it’s either applause or dead silence after you make a shot. But the art of shooting, the rhythm that you need to get and all that kind of stuff, it doesn’t matter where you are.”

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