Q&A: Billy Donovan

Courtesy of The Oklahoman

On playing Morrow over Roberson:

“It’s hard. It’s hard because I thought Andre in the first quarter was exceptional on defense. I thought he really played well and he did a great job moving his feet, not fouling. But (with) the turnovers (we were) just having a hard time manufacturing points, and I just thought if we could maybe get a little bit more spacing for Russell out there – and wanted to see what Victor (Oladipo) could do on Leonard. I thought he did a really good job. He battled. We talked in timeouts about fronting him, getting around and making passes get thrown over the top. He stole a couple. We had a couple possessions where we had really, really good backside help. But it opened things up a little bit for us offensively. We had Steven (Adams) rolling to the basket. We had Anthony and Victor behind pick-and-rolls. So, some good things happened from that, which was positive.”

On resisting the urge to play Westbrook more minutes:

“Obviously, with a guy like Russell Westbrook on any team, the best thing for him and for our team would be for him to play 48 minutes. That’d be great. But that’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to his career. It’s not fair to our team if we’re trying to evolve into being a really good team. …”

On if there’s ever temptation to play Westbrook 40-plus minutes:

“Overtime games, I think he’s probably gonna get up over 40, just calling it like it is. But listen, I’ve said this before, for us to be the best team that we can possibly be, he cannot be Superman and rescue us from everything. There’s got to be some development and growth and improvement with a lot of these young guys, and I think if you’re constantly using him as a backstop all the time – our guys that came off the bench there in the fourth quarter, this is a great opportunity for them to grow and learn and see themselves there. And listen, A-Mo made a couple shots, Victor made a coupe shots, but Russell found them. And it’s a great lesson for Cam (Payne), what he can do. And I actually thought Cam did a good job tonight. But it’s got to be about our team evolving and growing and sometimes, unfortunately, we’ve got to go through these difficult times to learn how to grow and get better.”

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