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June 16, 2015

Steve Kerr


Q.  You've mentioned previously drawing inspiration from other great achievements by athletes, and of course Game 6, the Stanley Cup Finals last night, the Blackhawks clinched, third title in six years, first on home ice.  Did you watch the game, and does it matter at all into your thinking tonight?  It's Game 6 as well, first opportunity for the Cavs.  You won three with the Bulls in the United Center.  So is there anything in the back of your mind going on with respect to that?
COACH KERR:¬† Nothing that I will use with our players, but I did watch it.¬† It was fun.¬† I'm a Blackhawks fan from back in my Chicago days.¬† Used to take my son to all the‑‑ not all the games, but a lot of the games.
So I was cheering for the Blackhawks last night.  Great game, great competition.  And other than that, I will not be using any of that as an analogy for our guys tonight.  But it was fun to watch.

Q.  You've won closeout games to get to The Finals, Steve, but why is it so tough in The Finals to win a closeout game?  What is it about that, and what have you told your players?
COACH KERR:  Well, what makes it tough is when you're in The Finals you're playing against one of the very best teams in the league, obviously.  You get this far, and both teams are really, really good.
So both teams are also extremely competitive and they want to win just as badly as you do.  So it's just the ultimate level of intense competition.  So it's hard.  It's harder than in the earlier rounds because the team is better that you're facing.
But as far as what I shared with my players, pretty simple.  It's just about tonight.  It's not about anything beyond tonight.  It's just let's come out and do what we do and play as hard as we can, take it possession by possession.
I know those are clichés and not very exciting answers, but it's the truth, and that's what we're locked in on.

Q.  Coach, when you were playing Memphis you were saying you guys were playing a regular season defense, and then you stepped it up.  Is there another level of defense for this stage and in this setting?
COACH KERR:¬† Well, I think we're doing better now.¬† The last couple of games we've done better defensively than we did the first couple.¬† Some of that is just the series goes on, you adapt, players get more comfortable with their individual match‑ups, and you get more comfortable as a team, just like they are.
But I don't know that there's another level to get to.  It's more, again, just being able to lock in and be alert and active every single possession.  It's a lot of work.

Q.  You've been in this situation before.  I mean, being one win away from winning the championship.  Could you compare your feelings as a player and as a coach being in that situation, and how does it help in coaching and preparing your team?
COACH KERR:  Yeah, I mean, I've got a lot of memories of playing in The Finals.  The thing that doesn't change as a player or as a coach is it just feels like you're waiting.  You're waiting and waiting and waiting.  The whole playoff run is such a long grind.  I mean, it's been two months for these two teams that are still standing, and it's a great test of your patience and your will and your perseverance, because it really is a roller coaster ride as you go.
But we're here and we've persevered and we have a chance to do something special, and we're going to compete and do everything we can.

Q.  With that whole patience thing and the waiting, is today a lot tougher with the late start time for you than it was Sunday when you get to the arena, probably, I guess, early afternoon and you've got all day to kind of think about it now?
COACH KERR:  Yes.  Yes.  If anyone's listening, can we start these games a little earlier?  I know I used to work in TV, so I understand.  But just like 8:00 o'clock would be okay.  8:15 even.

Q.¬† When you started this series, were you thinking Andre would be the main defensive match‑up for LeBron, or did this get to that a little faster than you might have thought where it's basically him on LeBron for the whole game?
COACH KERR:  I think it sort of evolved to this.  We knew he would be the primary guy once he was in, but his minutes are way up.
But we figured we'd send a lot of different people at him, which we have.  But because Andre has played so well in the series, he gets most of the minutes on him.

Q.  Steve, David Blatt said everything's on the table.  Tonight obviously their back is against the wall.  They have to win to force Game 7.  In practice, in your talks with your players, have you prepared for anything different or thought about things that they might try and do to get you ready for tonight?
COACH KERR:  Yes (laughing).  And I know you'd like me to elaborate, but I will not.

Q.  You can lie to me.
COACH KERR:  I can lie.  I've established that, haven't I?  Yeah.  Thank you very much.

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