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NBA FINALS: CAVALIERS v WARRIORS


June 11, 2015


Steve Kerr


CLEVELAND, OHIO: Game Four

Golden State ¬Ė 103
Cavaliers ¬Ė 82


Q.  When did you make the decision on starting Andre, and when did you let him know and what went into that thinking?
COACH KERR:  We made the decision this morning, and so when I was asked today, I think Tim asked me if Bogut was starting, I lied.  No, I did.  I mean, I lied.  I figure I have two press conferences on the day of the game, so I'm asked a lot of strategic questions.
So my options were tell the truth ‑‑ and I was asked both at shootaround and before the game ‑‑ so if I tell the truth, it's the equivalent of me knocking on David Blatt's door and saying, hey, this is what we're going to do.¬† I could evade the question, which would start this Twitter phenomenon:¬† Who is going to start for the Warriors?¬† Or I could lie.¬† So I lied.
Sorry, but I don't think they hand you the trophy based on morality.  They give it to you if you win.  So sorry about that.

Q.¬† Can you talk about why you made the move, one, and also after that little tough start, did you second‑guess yourself?
COACH KERR:¬† Yeah, it was 7‑0 I guess it was, and we called a timeout.¬† The big thing we were trying to get across to the players, not just when it was 7‑0, but even today, it's 48 minutes.¬† We have to have pace for 48 minutes, so there's going to be some lulls.¬† We knew that the rebounding was going to be an issue at times.¬† The third quarter they pounded us.¬† But the pace was good.
Obviously we got off to a good start.  We got the lead.  It was our tempo, and we were able to withstand the rebounding barrage that was, at some point, inevitable.

Q.  And why?
COACH KERR:  Why were we able to?

Q.  Why did you do it?  Make the change?
COACH KERR:  Oh, for pace.  We did it for pace and floor spacing and just to get the tempo going.

Q.  What do you think made the big difference in this game comparing the other games?
COACH KERR:  Well, I don't think the biggest difference was the starting lineup or the adjustment that we made.  I think the biggest difference was we played a lot harder.

Q.  Was it to try to control the rhythm of the game?
COACH KERR:  Yeah, we controlled the tempo and the rhythm of the game.  But that I think had more to do with us competing and getting to long rebounds and loose balls.  I thought the first three games they were the more competitive team.
Maybe it's our first trip to The Finals, we thought we can play hard.  It's not just about playing hard.  It's about playing every single possession like it's your last.  And I thought tonight our effort took a step up and that's why we were able to win.

Q.  The small lineup, almost is it more mental even to get your players thinking fast or just to get them in a different mindset almost more than even the physical nature of it?
COACH KERR:  Maybe that's a part of it.  But, no, I mean, the actual move changes the chess board.  So I think it was important to get better spacing.  We had five guys out there who can run pretty fast, so we got up and down the floor pretty quickly and that helped us get off to a better start.

Q.  You limited Andre Iguodala's minutes all season long, bringing him off the bench.  He looked like the most energized guy out there tonight and for the series.  Is that a deliberate move by you just knowing that you're going to need him to be at his best here in The Finals?
COACH KERR:¬† That's a big part of it.¬† Part of it was ‑‑ the bringing off the bench part was to help Harrison and put Harrison in a better role and also to solidify our second unit, which Andre did.¬† We tried all season long to give Andre rest.¬† We kept him at, I don't know, 29 minutes a game, 28 maybe.
But I think we gave him‑‑ I don't know the exact number.¬† We gave him four or five games off at key times, and we just wanted to keep him as fresh as possible.¬† I mean, he looks great out there.¬† He's been our best player through four games.¬† He guards LeBron pretty much every possession that he's out there, and his offense has been terrific.

Q.  Obviously LeBron has hurt you all series.  Besides the efforts of Andre, can you talk about how you shaded, it looked like you shaded a second guy toward him a lot, and didn't necessarily double team him, but you had extra help there for him?
COACH KERR:  I think we were just more active.  It wasn't a strategic change.  It was just more active.  It's what I was talking about before, the competitive level was higher, and that led to more activity.

Q.  I know you haven't looked at the tape yet.
COACH KERR:  No, I just watched it.

Q.  Did you watch it all?
COACH KERR:  Yeah.

Q.  That will give you a better answer to this question then.  When you think about what Andre was able to do defensively against LeBron, what was particularly making it difficult for LeBron to be effective tonight?
COACH KERR:  I didn't think Andre guarded him any differently than he did the first three games.  It's a different game.  LeBron's shots didn't go in.  The same shots may go in next game.  You never know how it's going to play out.  But Andre, he battles him.  He's played him a lot in his career.  I mean, Andre, whatever team he's been on, he's the guy who has to guard LeBron when LeBron comes to town.
So his experience helped him.  But I didn't think his defense was any different tonight than it was the first three games.

Q.  Losing this game for you guys was definitely not an option.  When you have to win a game like this, why do you put your faith in a guy like Andre?
COACH KERR:  I mean, he's one of our two captains.  He's our most experienced player and he's one of the smartest players I've ever been around.  The guy is brilliant at both ends.  He sees the game.  If he wants to coach someday, he'd be a great coach.  Although he says he would be too impatient, so I don't know if he's got the patience.  But he's got a great basketball mind.

Q.  You've described Andre as the resident cynic on the team.  I was curious how he reacted when you told him about the assignment and the rest of the team as well?
COACH KERR:  No cynicism.  He just nodded his head and said, All right, let's go.  His role didn't really change much.  I mean, he was still playing big minutes against LeBron anyway the first three games.  It was the positions around him that changed.  But he was on board and he competed like everybody else did.

Q.¬† After the Cavaliers started off with a 7‑0 lead, you took a timeout and then told your players, Don't worry, they are playing seven players in their rotation for 48 minutes; that will wear them down.¬† Now looking at the stat sheet, it seems like you played a seven‑player rotation, except for Leandro Barbosa.¬† The question is are you going to shorten your rotation throughout the season?¬† If so, maybe you lied to yourself during that timeout?
COACH KERR:  Every game is different.  I had no idea how many guys I would play tonight.  I thought there were going to be opportunities to play Bogut more, Festus Ezeli.  I thought I may put Mo Speights out there.  I had a lot of options and a lot of thoughts.
At that point I honestly did think I was going to play ten people.  But the way the game unfolded, I just stuck with kind of seven plus Barbosa a little bit.  He played some key minutes in the first half.
But every game is a little different.  You just have to roll with it.

Q.  In terms of the decisions that you had to make when you took the job and the conversations that you had, where did the one with Andre rank in terms of the challenges of that or the difficulties?
COACH KERR:  It was a series of conversations with Andre through training camp.  I didn't make up my mind to bring him off the bench until late in camp.
But we had several discussions about it.  I don't think he was thrilled, but he understood my reasoning.  I explained what I was thinking, and, to his credit, he accepted it immediately.  I thought it set a tone for our team from the beginning, a sacrifice.
The other guy I want to mention is David Lee who has sacrificed more than anybody.  He lost his role completely.  Andre just lost his starting job.  David lost his entire spot in the rotation.
David's been fantastic.  Just keeping his spirits up and supporting the team, and we kept talking all year about your time's going to come.  Stay with it.  He believed it and he stayed with it, and he's making a big impact.
I'm really pleased for those two guys and just the impact that it's made on our team, the unselfishness.  It's been very important.

Q.¬† Coach, the decision to go small, controlling the tempo, having better pace, as you've mentioned, the issue of points in the paint and second‑chance points where the Cavs when they've played well and scored well, obviously that's created problems for the Warriors.¬† Did that factor into your consideration tonight at all with respect to going small?
COACH KERR:  Of course.  They're a big, strong team.  You've got LeBron barrelling into the lane.  You've got to be able to deal with the rim defense, with the paint defense, and that's the tradeoff.
But we just felt like after three games, being down 2‑1, we needed a change.¬† We needed to shift the tempo, and that's why we did it.¬† And who knew if it was going to work or not, but it went our way tonight.¬† Next game could be different.¬† We may make some different adjustments and we'll just play it by ear.

Q.¬† You played Stephen Curry for the entire second half.¬† I was curious about that decision, and I was also curious about‑‑ or almost the entire second half.¬† And also curious about LeBron got to the rim a lot in the last game, and it seemed like you guys did something to stop that, and I was curious if you had something to say about that?
COACH KERR:  Well, we're playing Steph more minutes in the playoffs.  We have to.  He's the MVP of the league.  I checked with him a couple times during the game.  He said he was fine, so I stayed with him.
Honestly, we didn't do much differently against LeBron.  It was just more active, more competitive.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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