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NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: ROCKETS v WARRIORS


May 19, 2015


Steve Kerr


OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA: Game One

Warriors ¬Ė 110
Rockets - 106


Q.  Obviously when you went to the small lineup both times, it definitely seemed to take off.  What did you see from the small lineup and did you foresee it was going to be like this?
STEVE KERR:  Well, you know, with our small lineup, we can spread the floor pretty well, put Draymond in the middle as the screener for Steph and then find shooters on the perimeter.  It really stretches people out.  Houston does the same thing.  They like to play small.  So it was an interesting chess match because they like to go small, we like to go small.  We like to have Boges on the floor for defense, they like to have Dwight on the floor for defense, and it kind of went back and forth.  But in the end neither Dwight nor Boges played a lot of minutes, so it became a small game.
As I said, both teams excel with that floor spacing.  It becomes very difficult to guard at either end because they've got to deal with Steph and Draymond on the high screen, we've got to deal with James Harden without a big guy at the rim, and we both put a lot of shooters around the floor.
It's a similar style, and we were able to hang on.¬† But we got a good push there from the mid‑to‑late fourth and had an 11‑point lead with like two‑and‑a‑half minutes to go, and a couple turnovers really hurt us.¬† But we were able to finish it out.

Q.  Steph started hot and really stayed hot the whole game and Harden really got it going in the third and fourth quarter.  What's it like watching those two guys go up against each other, keeping the team involved but scoring and scoring and scoring?
STEVE KERR:¬† It's a lot more fun to watch Steph do that than James.¬† Yeah, James really got it rolling.¬† We did a good job on him first half.¬† I think he was 2 for 7 and we tried to mix and match on him.¬† Klay is the primary defender on him, but Barbosa and Andre and Shaun Livingston all took turns on him and then we did some switching, and we debated on the bench whether to switch our coverage, but he's hitting tough, contested fall‑away twos.¬† There's not a whole lot you can do.¬† We have a few different things in mind that we can do.¬† We went to some switching, but it's the same thing with Steph; great players are going to find a way at some point, and they both got going.

Q.¬† Who drew up or called that play where Harrison, out‑of‑bounds play after the time‑out where Harrison got the dunk?
STEVE KERR:¬† That's a play we've run during the year.¬† You know, the thing with great shooters is oftentimes they make the best screeners, and so it's just something we've done‑‑ we have a lot of plays where both Steph and Klay set back screens and then come off down screens.¬† It's nothing complicated.¬† But we were able to free him up.
Defenders are afraid to leave Steph, as they should be, because he's coming off screens constantly, and if we can get an angle, then every once in a while we can pop somebody loose when he sets a screen.  Steph set the screen.

Q.  Shaun Livingston said he signed with the Warriors for this opportunity.  Talk about him tonight.
STEVE KERR:¬† He was terrific.¬† Kept us in the game second quarter when we were really struggling, getting to the foul line, hitting his little mid‑range pull‑up.¬† His defense was good, and that's what I like about our team is we tend to find somebody‑‑ I thought Barbosa was great.¬† He only played seven or eight minutes but he hit a big three for us and defended well.¬† That's what it takes in the Playoffs.¬† You've got to get a few guys just to step in and make a big play here or there, and you get enough of those guys to do it, and you've got a shot to win.

Q.  I was just wondering what your assessment was of what changed defensively from the first quarter to the three quarters after it?
STEVE KERR:¬† I think we finally realized it was the Western Conference Finals.¬† Honestly, sometimes with Game 1 in a series, there's kind of a feeling‑out process.¬† Houston was not in that process, and we were.¬† They were coming off Game 7 on a high.¬† They came out really as the aggressor, and I thought we took a quarter‑and‑a‑half to really dig in defensively.¬† From that point on, we were much better, but that first quarter they were scoring at will in the paint.¬† We just weren't aggressive enough.

Q.  Coach, do you see both teams sticking with the small lineups, or what's the natural counter to that from your end?
STEVE KERR:¬† Well, it always depends on the circumstances of the game.¬† You have to feel what's happening, if certain guys are going well and you want to stay with them, then you do it.¬† And if a certain combination is going well, you stay with it.¬† But each game is different.¬† It's hard to predict what's going to happen, but you know, the one thing I can tell you is that both teams like to play small because of the three‑point shooting, because of the floor spacing, and both teams have a lot of versatile defenders and do a lot of switching, so you'll probably see a lot more of that this series.

Q.  I think at least to start when you went small in the first half Dwight was still in the game.  How comfortable were you putting Draymond on him?
STEVE KERR:  Draymond was great on him.  Yeah, you never know how that's going to go, but Draymond is one of the best defensive players in the league because he can guard low post guys and perimeter guys.  He can switch onto James Harden, he can guard Dwight Howard.  Doesn't mean he's always going to get a stop, but he's always going to put up a fight, and he's got a chance, and the way he competes, it's kind of nice to have him out on the floor.  That's why he played 42 minutes and 47 seconds.

Q.  Will you go small whether or not Dwight is on the floor?
STEVE KERR:  We've gone small against him before.  It doesn't mean that it's always going to happen, but I think the way the game was going, we were not faring very well.  Generally speaking, that lineup gives us a lot of energy and good offensive punch because, as I mentioned, just the floor spacing and we can get the ball moving.

Q.¬† Does their resiliency stand out to you?¬† Coming off down 3‑1 and in this game third quarter you guys couldn't shake them and they had Dwight on the bench and they just stuck with you the whole game.
STEVE KERR:  Yeah, and we stayed with them.  There's a reason these two teams are here in the Conference Finals.  A lot of talent, but a lot of competitive desire.  I thought tonight the level of competition may have exceeded the level of execution, but that's playoff basketball.  It's physical, it's hard to get open shots at times and you have to play through all that, and I thought both teams really competed hard.

Q.  Have you developed a sense when Curry is about to take over a game?  Can you kind of feel it coming?
STEVE KERR:  Yeah, like always.  (Laughing).
You know, one of the reasons that we're reluctant to take timeouts is because we feel like we want the pace going and we feel like Steph at any moment can come down and hit three threes in a row, so we'd rather let the game go.  This is the kind of season he's had.  It's the kind of career he's putting together.  He's an incredibly skilled player.  He's fearless.  At any moment he can let loose.

Q.¬† How does it change your‑‑ affect how much you want to attack the basket when Dwight is in there as opposed to when he's out?
STEVE KERR:¬† Well, I think the players just have to be aware, like Shaun Livingston, for example, had that great first half going.¬† He got into the paint, he had an opportunity for a little pull‑up jumper, and instead he attacked the rim, and Dwight was waiting for him, and I think he threw the ball away.¬† It was maybe the only mistake Shaun made in that first half.¬† He was brilliant.
But it's all recognition.¬† If Dwight is waiting at the rim, a little one‑dribble pull‑up is probably a better option than trying to score over the top of him.

Q.  How about when he's out?
STEVE KERR:  And when he's out obviously the floor is going to be more spaced, and that's when you have to attack.  Maybe not for a shot but get into the paint and move the ball on, that kind of thing.  But it's definitely a different game, just as it is at our end when Bogut is in or Bogut is out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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