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June 1, 2016

Kevin Love

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. This is a rematch that a lot of fans wanted to see. Would it be sweeter if you not only win a championship but dethrone them in the process?
KEVIN LOVE: I think when it comes down to matchups, naturally anybody that's in your way, you want to defeat. They're a very battle-tested team. They were down 3-1 [in the Western Conference Finals] and showed a lot of perseverance. They're together as a unit. So we're going to have a very tough challenge on our hands.

We're hoping that we can prove to be a worthy opponent. Tomorrow's going to be -- I mean, you can already feel it in here. It's going to be a very crazy environment, wild environment. So we have to lock in.

Q. I remember you saying last year's Game 1 was a game you wished you could play in more than anything. Is this what the feeling feels like leading up to it?
KEVIN LOVE: It's nice. It's nice not having to sit there and watch. I mentioned last year that it was very bittersweet. Bitter having to sit there and watch not being able to help, but sweet seeing so many guys that are the main reason we are where we are today stepping up and making big plays.

That was the sweet part of now being here and being able to play.

Q. This is basically your first NBA Finals. What about your emotions?
KEVIN LOVE: A lot will change over the course of the next 24 hours. I think naturally a lot of anticipation. But as far as right now, at least myself, I feel pretty calm and pretty focused on the task at hand.

We just have to do whatever we need to do to get ready. Watch a lot of film. We'll practice here today, get a good sweat and then get off our feet.

Q. Klay Thompson admits that you're a far better Little Leaguer than he was. What do you remember about him? Did he already have that stoic demeanor about him?

Q. Very competitive?
KEVIN LOVE: Oh, he definitely did. All three of the kids, between Mychie, Klay and Trayce, they're all different personalities, but all have their gifts as well. Klay was always very gifted, really at anything he did athletically. Obviously, basketball, you watch him now and you just shake your head. But in baseball we had a great team. Our All-Star team was full of all 12-year-olds, and at that age bracket, that group, a year makes a big difference. He was the only 11-year-old. He was very stoic, knew he belonged and kind of had a quiet confidence about him.

Q. Is there anybody at the power forward position in the league similar to a Draymond [Green]? What is the challenge playing against a power forward who does so much playmaking?
KEVIN LOVE: Yeah, he does a little bit of everything, Draymond. That is the type of player that every single play, he brings it. He's relentless in his pursuit of the ball and in his pursuit of winning.

I think having to match that is something that needs to be brought to the table for all of us. He's undersized, but doesn't play like it. As I mentioned, he has a relentless mentality. He kind of speaks things into existence out there because he's a talker. I think that really helps them. It keeps the whole team engaged and locks them in.

Q. Do you take it personally when you hear you might be a defensive liability?
KEVIN LOVE: I mean, they called Steph [Curry] a defensive liability last series, and you saw what he did. It's something where I think we've been able to trust each other and become better team on the defensive end. I don't know if I'll ever be the guy that's going to be a lockdown defender, but I think as far as team concepts go and being a team defender, I've gotten a lot better. I think I've showed that throughout these Playoffs.

But this is a team that will make you pay in a lot of different ways, so you need to be ready for anything. I think as a team, we've made the next step in trusting each other on both ends.

Q. Other than you and Kyrie being healthy this series, how are the Cavs different heading into these Finals?
KEVIN LOVE: I think just experience-wise. I mentioned me being out last year, different guys having to fight through injuries and step up and play in different scenarios. And having those guys back, we've become a different team. We've become a more balanced team and also a deeper team just having everybody healthy.

Q. I know The Finals are a different animal, but do you feel you've gained enough experience for yourself this year leading up to this point, the amount of time you spent in the Playoffs this year?
KEVIN LOVE: Yeah, I think so. Obviously, The Finals are a different beast against a very tough opponent. But I think having gone through two years with this team and knowing each other, trusting each other, that will prove to be a great thing for us. I think it can go a long way.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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