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May 30, 2016

Steve Kerr

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Game six

Golden State 96, Oklahoma City 88

STEVE KERR: Before we get to the questions, I want to first say congratulations to OKC and their organization. Phenomenal basketball team that we just played, and we survived by the skin of our teeth. But they're incredibly talented, incredibly well-coached. I thought Billy [Donovan] and his staff did a phenomenal job. They had us on our heels constantly in this series. I want to say congrats also to Sam Presti, who is a good friend of mine.

With the joy of winning, the flip side is the disappointment in losing. And I genuinely feel for that team because they were very close and they deserved to be there just as much as we do, really. But we were able to pull it out and we're moving on. Thank you.

Q. As someone who has been in many different situations through the years, can you describe the accomplishment of coming back from a 3-1 deficit, especially where you guys were after Game 4, what it took to get here?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, we were not just down 3-1, we had gotten blown out two straight games. So obviously everything started with Game 5, kind of rediscovering ourselves and our style. Then Game 6 was kind of magical. What Klay [Thompson] did that night, basically putting us on his shoulders and allowing us to have this opportunity tonight at home. It's a pretty remarkable comeback, and it shows, I think, a lot about our guys and their will and their grit.

Q. Given that your two big stars did a lot for you tonight, can you talk about the bench, what they did late in the third quarter? They scored 12 straight points for you. Took it from a one-point lead to a 13-point lead. Talk about what they did tonight and generally what your bench has given you all year.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, that was the key stretch of the game, obviously. Shaun Livingston had that fast break dunk, which brought the house down, and I thought our two Brazilians were fantastic. Anderson [Varejao] had an incredible one minute and 51 second run. Sounds crazy to say, but a couple of assists and a big bucket, and the energy that he brought and he took a charge from [Russell] Westbrook. [Leandro] Barbosa, who I've gone away from the last few games, comes in, stays ready, hits a big shot for us. And Harrison [Barnes], who we moved to the bench obviously tonight, hit that corner three from Varejao, which was just a huge shot.

So I'm really pleased with the bench. This series was tough for us because we couldn't find a consistent rotation off of our bench because of how good OKC is and how well-coached they were. Both sides were kind of trying to create matchups and counter different matchups. So we never really settled into a regular pattern off the bench, which is rare for us, but that's what they forced us into.

With everything on the line, our guys all came through.

Q. When you see Stephen [Curry] get a big switch on a pick-and-roll, what goes through your mind?
STEVE KERR: Well, a lot. The first thing is we want him to kind of mix up what he's doing when he's faced with that situation. Against this team, you're not just facing an ordinary big, you're facing, whether it's [Kevin] Durant or [Serge] Ibaka or [Steven] Adams, even [Andre] Roberson, long limbs, athletic. So they're able to challenge his shot better than any team we've played. So he got himself going. I could tell in Game 6 that he was starting to feel like himself. He looked better. He looked like he was moving better.

I told our coaching staff yesterday, I have no doubt Steph's going to have a huge game. That's just who he is. And he looked right again.

Q. Couple more questions on Steph. Did he tweak something the last play of the first half? It looked like he limped a little bit.
STEVE KERR: Not that I know of.

Q. Secondly, he had a big celebration, maybe the biggest one he's ever had after one of those threes. Do you sense at all that he felt some responsibility, personal responsibility for this series and for this team, and maybe that was a little bit of a release for him?
STEVE KERR: Well, the one thing with Steph is he understands that with all these accolades, MVPs, commercials, with all that comes great responsibility to his team, to the organization, the fans. He gets that. He understands that if you play poorly, you're going to get blamed if you're the star. He's had a rough playoff go because of the injuries, and as I said, I think he finally felt right physically the last couple games. And this is who he is. Having a clutch performance in a Game 7. That's Steph Curry.

Q. Steve, obviously after what the Thunder did to the Spurs, it was clear they were going to be a test for you. Prior to that through kind of a so-so regular season, did you think that they were going to pose this type of challenge as you saw them during the season?
STEVE KERR: I think they got dramatically better during the playoffs. I really do. They've always been very, very talented. They've always been formidable. Our three regular-season games that we played against them we won, but every one was down to the wire. So we knew no matter what that they were going to be a challenge. But I think they got better as the playoffs went on and the series went against San Antonio they really, I thought, blossomed. I thought they played a great series against us, and we were fortunate to kind of eke it out.

Q. It looked like the Thunder played really good defense on you in the first half. You had just 42 points. What was the difference in the second half in your mind?
STEVE KERR: I just thought we were timid in the [first] half. The nerves of a Game 7. You have to be reminded how difficult it is to win this deep in the playoffs against a great team in a Game 7 with all the pressure. To me, they were the aggressors early, and we were on our heels. But I thought our competitive level of intensity came up in the second half, and obviously Klay and Steph hit some big shots. Steph had a huge second half.

But our defensive intensity and the rebounding allowed us to get going. To only lose the rebounding battle by one to this team, that's about as good as we could hope for. So that was critical.

Q. Steph has fought through a lot of health issues, but there still seems to be that undercurrent of question marks about his toughness. But when you see a play like the end of the first half where he takes it in, throws up that layup, I mean why do these questions keep being raised about Steph's toughness?
STEVE KERR: Because he looks like he's 12.

Q. They got 50% of their misses back in the first half. How were you able to clean that up in the second half, and what went wrong in the first half?
STEVE KERR: That's obviously one of the keys when you play this team. You know they're going to come after you on the glass. So we picked up our intensity. I thought Festus [Ezeli] came in and gave us really important minutes and kind of changed the tone of the battle in the paint, and Draymond [Green] really picked it up as well. But you look at our rebound totals, and everybody had four, five, six, eight, so it was really a team effort. We finally just were able to do it. I can't tell you why other than we tried really hard and the intensity was there, and people were putting bodies on other bodies. It was finally successful for us.

Q. They played three quarters of pretty good offense, but their third quarter was disastrous, even the second-chance points went away. But your first-chance defense was really good. They didn't get many looks. What happened in that third quarter when you guys took control of the game when they had the ball?
STEVE KERR: I think that's where our crowd really came into play. The first half you could just hear the groans, you could hear the disappointment with the fans, and we weren't giving them anything to cheer for. I thought Shaun Livingston's dunk in transition kind of changed the tune. Our fans got into it. It was an emotional play. Our bench was into it, and it just seemed to pick up our intensity that much more. It was just kind of the natural momentum of the game. They controlled the first half, and we were able to control the second. But sometimes when you have two great teams, it's just the way it goes. They're going to compete the whole game goes back and forth a little bit.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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