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June 8, 2016

Steve Kerr

Cleveland, Ohio: Game Three

Cleveland - 120, Golden State - 90

Q. Steve, I have two quickies: Curry came on late, but he got off to a really slow start. What was going on with that, if you understand it? And the second, would you consider making changes in your starting lineup for the next game? I know you always do, will you do it more?
STEVE KERR: Wow. We just lost one game.

Q. I'm sorry.
STEVE KERR: Change the starting lineup?

We weren't ready to play. Obviously they just punched us right in the mouth right in the beginning. We're turning the ball over like crazy. Soft, we were extremely soft to start the game, and then they set the tone with their intensity. I think it was 9-0, and we had to call timeout. Steph got beat back door, couple turnovers. Just a horrible way to start, but even then we fought back in. We were down 8 at the half right there. But it's going to take more than an effort like that to win a Finals game against a great team, obviously.

Q. My other question was, do you understand what was going on with Curry, especially in the first half?
STEVE KERR: He just didn't play well.

Q. How do you explain a 63-point turnaround from Game 2 to Game 3?
STEVE KERR: It's the NBA. This is how it is. Most of the teams in the league are pretty equal in talent. As Gregg Popovich used to tell me, the other guys make millions of dollars of year to play the game, too. So when you get to this level, everybody's got talent, whether you're in The Finals or it's the 10th game of the season. Every team you go against has great talent. Every player in the NBA is a great player. If you let your guard down and the other team is angry, then you can see this kind of turnaround. It's happened in every series for them, every series for us -- maybe not for them, but for us, it's happened. It's the way it goes.

Q. Was there any consideration of downsizing with them starting both halves small? Any consideration maybe starting the second half that way?
STEVE KERR: You mean, like take Bogut out of the lineup?

Q. Yes.
STEVE KERR: Not really. We thought Boges played well. Boges has done a good job for us in the series. We didn't feel like we had to match what they were doing because of their change in their starting lineup. We can always make a quick substitution. So I don't think that had anything to do with losing the game. It wasn't lineups. It wasn't substitution patterns. We just got our tail kicked.

Q. After holding Kyrie Irving down pretty well after the first two games of the series he was able to get off really early tonight. What did you see from him that was different tonight than what you saw after the first two games?
STEVE KERR: He was just really aggressive. He's a great player. He had a couple of tough games and I thought his play kind of mirrored their team's play. You spend two or three days listening to everybody say things about you that don't feel that good, usually you bounce back. I thought they bounced back and played a fantastic game, and Kyrie played a great game. Clearly they were playing at a much higher level than we were, and they deserved the win, obviously.

Q. Not to pick on him, he's had a great Playoffs and a good season, but Kevin was out tonight for the Cavs. Does his absence make them a tougher matchup for the Warriors specifically?
STEVE KERR: I think the game would have been the same whether he played or not. This was about one team being emotionally fired up and angry about being down 2-0, and another team being comfortable. So I don't think that had anything to do with it. I think it was just the level of intensity that they brought. They would have brought it with Kevin, too. So I don't think it made a difference.

Q. You guys have lost Game 3s before. As we've talked about, and you and the players all said how you had to match their intensity from the start. Are you baffled, surprised? I mean, you said you sometimes know how your team's going to play. Did you see this coming at all?
STEVE KERR: I didn't see it coming, no. We talked about it. We talked about how Cleveland was going to come out on their home floor, being down 2-0. We talked about all that stuff. I was very hopeful, and I was expecting that our team would play much better. But we didn't. So I didn't have them ready.

Q. Did you pull Steph there in the second quarter due to poor performance? Was it to talk to him? It was before he got his third foul. You put him back after the third foul, but did you pull him out because you were upset?
STEVE KERR: No, I wanted to tell him something that I saw. So I took him out, talked to him for a second and put him back in.

Q. Where did you think his head was in this game? Did you think he was into this game?
STEVE KERR: He did not start the game well. Turned it over, got beat back door, and he was not his usual self. Now, it happens sometimes. I mean, that's what everybody was saying about them the last two games. No matter who you're talking about, when a team plays poorly, the team deserves criticism. The coach deserves criticism, the players. I always tell our guys, that's why we get paid. We don't get paid to show up and shoot baskets every day. We get paid because we're going to get a lot of criticism, and we deserve it tonight.

Q. I think you were outrebounded 52-32, how much of that do you think was effort tonight, and if not effort, what was going on in the paint?
STEVE KERR: Well, Tristan Thompson was great on the offensive glass. I thought we did a pretty good job defensively in the second quarter and got back in the game. Most of their points came off of either our turnovers or their second chance. And those two things, we might be able to survive one of the two, but can't survive both. If we're going to get killed on the glass and get killed on turnovers -- I mean, they had 34 points off our 18 turnovers, so that's going to be pretty difficult to overcome because you look at stat sheet, they had 15 more field-goal attempts as a result.

So we've got to do a better job both taking care of the ball and on the boards.

Q. Steph and Klay have both gone for about 20 attempts per game in the first three rounds to 13 so far in The Finals. What have the Cavs done to not just limit their makes but their actual looks at the bucket?
STEVE KERR: Well, they're being very aggressive with them out on the perimeter. Didn't matter in the first two games because other guys scored and we've got lots of good offensive possessions. Tonight, obviously, it did matter. We didn't get a lot of great looks for them, but we didn't get much of anything going.

So their aggressiveness was important tonight.

Q. Curious about the flip side of that same coin. What needs to be done? What wasn't happening to create space, create looks for your guys? Because surely the Cavs were hustling more, but you guys have countered that so many times in the past. What didn't happen tonight?
STEVE KERR: We weren't tough enough. We weren't strong enough with the ball. We were soft. We were soft tonight. And when you're soft, you get beat on the glass and you turn the ball over. Those are the telltale signs. So we can't be soft in Game 4 if we want to win.

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