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May 24, 2015

Steve Kerr

HOUSTON, TEXAS: Practice Day

Q.  What do you think is the key to making sure your team stays on the gas and doesn't let up now that you have such a big lead?
STEVE KERR:  I don't think it'll be a problem because we've been through it, not only this year, but this team has been in the Playoffs the last couple years.  They've felt it.  They know that the most important thing is just the next play.  Keying in on competing and paying attention to all the little details, focusing on the mission and not the result, that's always been our mantra, and it's especially true in moments like these.  Just keep going, keep pushing.

Q.¬† What's been your experience with close‑out games?¬† We all know the math of the number of times‑‑ 3‑0, we know what that means, but that last one is always kind of hard to get, as well.
STEVE KERR:¬† Yeah, especially on the road, close‑out games are hard.¬† But it's all part of the Playoffs.¬† You're playing great teams.¬† You're playing in difficult circumstances.¬† Things are not going to go your way, and you just fight through all that, and the main way to do that is just by locking in on the detail, on what the game plan is, moving from one play to the next, don't get too far ahead, don't live in the past.¬† All those clich√©s are actually true, and that's what our job is.

Q.  You've been saying all year you were waiting for your team to play close to its best game.  Was last night close to that?
STEVE KERR:  I thought the first half was for sure one of our best halves of the year, and as I said after the game, the beautiful part of that for me was that we didn't even shoot the ball well, and yet it was a great half because we defended and we took care of the ball.  Those are the two most important things for us on a nightly basis.  If we defend and we take care of the ball, which obviously go hand in hand, we take care of the ball, we're going to defend better.  We're not going to be playing in transition.
When we do those two things, we tend to be really good.
Second half was not our best effort, but Steph bailed us out a few times with some brilliant shot‑making, but of course we had the big lead and we were able to just move forward without having to play a perfect half or anything.

Q.  When you arrived, what did you know about Festus, and can you comment on his improvement, especially the second half of the season?
STEVE KERR:  Well, I knew Festus was very athletic.  I knew he had had a very successful playoff run a couple years ago.  The biggest thing for him was just getting healthy.  We really wanted him to play Summer League, and he couldn't go in Vegas with his shin, and then missed training camp, so it was very frustrating because we knew we needed him.  But he's stayed with it all year and continued to work, and last night was a great performance, and we needed it from him with Boges in foul trouble.  But he gives us that second rim protector, very athletic presence in the paint.

Q.¬† You're 7‑0 against this team this year.¬† Obviously I would think it's an easy motivator to tell these guys don't let them get one off us for the year, right?
STEVE KERR:  Is that a question?

Q.  Well, the domination you've had over this team, it's got to be in their heads.  They know they haven't beat you guys in seven times.
STEVE KERR:  Is that a question?

Q.  It's leading to one.
STEVE KERR:  Okay, I'm going to answer your question as soon as you ask it.

Q.¬† Do the Rockets, knowing that they're 0‑7, they haven't beat you one time, for you guys, the overwhelming feeling of they can't beat us, you don't need to instill that in these guys anymore except that this is a close‑out game and you'll be in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history?
STEVE KERR:  The only thing that I will really talk to our team about today is just to continue to do what we're doing, focus on the details of the game plan, understand that for each player, it's about helping us win, whatever that means, and what happens in a playoff series is you start to learn more and more about your opponent, about the dynamics, about what you need to do to win, and last night was a big step for us in that regard.  We tightened up our defense.  They missed some shots that they hit the first couple games, too.  But I thought we were much better with the details, and that's what I'm going to pound home.
All the other stuff means nothing to us or our team.

Q.  What do you think has allowed you to be (inaudible) in this series?
STEVE KERR:  Well, obviously it's a major focus for us, trying to run them off the line.  It's a natural strength of our defense, because of our length with our wings.  Andre, Draymond when he gets switched out there, Harrison, we have guys who are quick who can cover and challenge shooters, and then the fact that we can guard inside with Boges, with Festus, even with Draymond, you know, we're not doubling a lot.  We have occasionally, but we're kind of built to cover a lot of ground, and I think that's what we're trying to focus on, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, but we're really trying to get out on shooters.  I don't know if that's any....

Q.  (Inaudible.)
STEVE KERR:  I think just gaining momentum during the series and the awareness of why that momentum has come our way.  I keep going back to it, but it really is just a play by play by play, possession by possession by possession, just taking care of what we need to take care of, and then we play with flow offensively, so when we can take care of the defense and the turnovers, then I hardly call any plays.  We just come down and we're in a good flow and we move it, and that's who we are.
We have to allow ourselves to get into that flow by defending, by handling the ball, and that's what happened last night.  That's why we were on top of our game.

Q.¬† You've been at this point so many times in your career.¬† What are some of the common ingredients that you see between championship‑caliber teams?
STEVE KERR:  Defense.  I'm just going to boil it down to one.  I mean, you have to have talent, obviously.

Q.  What about stuff like character, like some of those intangible type of things?
STEVE KERR:  Sure, sure.  I think it all ties together.  If you can really count on your defense, it probably means you have guys with character and who are high character.  One thing I really believe in with this team is just the in fact that these guys care about winning and they care about each other, and so they're going to make the sacrifice.  Maybe it's their points, maybe it's their shot attempts, maybe it's their minutes, but I can point to a lot of different guys on our roster who embody all that.  Barbosa jumps out at me.  Sometimes I don't play him, sometimes he sparks us, sometimes like last night I play him two minutes and take him out, and nothing ever fazes him.  He just wants to win.  He just wants to help lead our team.  High character, he cares, and we have a lot of guys like that.  That all factors in when you're trying to win at this level.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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