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June 9, 2016

Steve Kerr

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. Steve, not saying that you are making a lineup change, but you have in the past. When you make lineup changes, what are some of the considerations that go into it besides the obvious?
STEVE KERR: What is the obvious?

Q. The obvious, maybe this guy has been giving you more than the player he's replacing. The numbers are better. But I'm wondering, do you have to deal with egos, feelings, the aftereffects?
STEVE KERR: No, no, no. You never have to worry about egos and feelings, not with our team. I mean, our guys are all understanding that you go with whatever the best lineup is, and top to bottom, our team is professional and supportive of one another. So it's always just are we going to be better off matchup-wise, or are we going to be better off with a certain rotation that allows one guy to guard somebody specifically on the other team? It's just, we watch the film and we make that decision.

Q. What is the risk of combinations that maybe you haven't practiced or played before and now you're thrust into the situation?
STEVE KERR: I don't know that we have a whole lot of combinations that haven't played together before. You know, this team has been together for a few years and we've had plenty of experience the last couple of years in the Playoffs. So I don't think that's really a factor. We have a lot of guys who can play. We've played literally every single guy on our roster other than [Kevon] Looney, who has been injured the whole time. But you look at the Playoffs, we've played McAdoo, we've played Ian Clark, we've played Brandon Rush, so we're not afraid to play anybody, and we're always going to be looking for the best combination in every series and from game to game.

Q. Steph was caught in foul trouble early several games in these Finals. Do you know why he was so aggressive on the defensive end, and was he trying to force or prove something?
STEVE KERR: I thought in Game 2 he committed silly fouls by reaching. I didn't think that was the case last night. He got called for a couple of tough ones. But that happens, and he's just got to be able to play through that. It happens. It's one of those things. But he'll play better. I'm sure he'll avoid foul trouble. He normally does. And like I said, he wasn't reaching last night. He was more just kind of tough breaks. But I'm not worried about that.

Q. In your playing career you saw the kind of scrutiny Jordan was under, play good, play bad, he had to deal with it. LeBron certainly dealt with it. Steph is maybe, I don't know for the first time, but he's certainly getting his share of scrutiny at this point. Any advice for him? Do you pat him on the knee, what do you do?
STEVE KERR: I really don't even need to give him advice. One of the great things with Steph is he's so grounded. He understands how this process works. If you are in the limelight and you're the one doing the commercials and getting trophies, then you're also in the cross hairs. That's the way it works. It's not like he's out there celebrating and enjoying all the hoopla and the accolades and then going home to his room and reading stuff and outraged like, "Oh, my God, how can they say that about me?" That's not Steph.

Steph gets it. He understands this is all part of it. We're on the biggest stage, and he's had a couple tough games, so the criticism will come, and he'll handle it fine. That's what he does.

Q. In the past, Ty Lue has talked about reacting to what the other team does, not just this series but throughout these Playoffs. My question to you is, how is it determined -- who takes that first step? Would you have to react to them? Do they have to react to you? Who makes that initial move that the other coach has to react to?
STEVE KERR: Well, every series is different, and sometimes a team will be preemptive and make a move right from the beginning. Usually I would say what happens is teams adjust after struggles. Because if you get to the Playoffs, you get deep in the Playoffs, generally speaking you've played kind of a similar rotation, a similar style all year, you make an adjustment before Game 1, the team's kind of looking at you like, what are we doing? We're pretty good.

So usually both teams, I would say in my experience, kind of wait at least a couple of games before they make any dramatic move. Then it sort of goes back and forth from there.

Q. I preface this by saying this is in no way a leading officiating question at all, but are you noticing maybe the Cavs being a little more grabby, a little more handsy with Steph in maybe the way he was defending in the regular season?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, everybody knows the game is officiated differently in the Playoffs. It has to be. If you called the game the same way now as you did in the regular season, there would be 50 fouls on both sides, and the game would never happen. I thought last night was a really well-officiated game. I think the whole Finals have been really well-officiated. But it's going to be more physical. There's going to be more holding and grabbing on both sides, and you have to be able to play through that.

Q. How did you assess ball movement last night? Obviously it benefits everybody, but is there a bigger beneficiary of it when the ball's popping as it has so many times this year with you guys?
STEVE KERR: Is there a bigger beneficiary?

Q. When the ball's moving the way you guys can move the ball, it helps everybody but is there a bigger beneficiary than Steph?
STEVE KERR: It just helps us. Every game, like I said, is different. And I didn't think the ball movement was bad last night. I thought they were the aggressor. They attacked us. I thought the biggest problem was our turnovers. I think we had 18 that turned into -- or 19 that turned into 34, 36 points, something like that. So it seemed like every time we turned it over, they scored.

So the best way to help our defense is with our offense and being tougher with the ball and playing with more of a purpose and understanding that, you know, we've got a team that's on their home floor, a great team that is coming after us, as they should. I would expect nothing less. We didn't match that force last night, and that showed in our ball-handling and rebounding.

Q. You guys won 73 games, obviously you probably aren't looking to make too many adjustments when you have a season like that. But generally speaking with the lineup with Draymond at center, it seems more often than not those lineups come in when you guys have struggled, and it's kind of almost like a break-case-of-emergency sort of thing. When you look at those alignments is there a limitation as to how much you can play to not to burn guys out by playing them up a position? How much does it take out of someone to have to play them a position bigger than what they usually would do?
STEVE KERR: Right. Well, we like to play a lot of people. All year we've played 10, 11 guys a night. So we don't like to cut our rotation way down and play five guys 40 minutes. It's just not really who we are. And when we do go smaller, we generally do it in short bursts to change the pace up and change the look, and that can vary from game to game, from series to series. But, yeah, it's not easy to play small for huge chunks of the game.

Q. Given how they're defending Steph and given the nature of the officiating in the Playoffs, is there anything that you can or need to do to kind of get him free and to put his stamp on this series once and for all?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, we can definitely help Steph out and we will. We can put him in better position to catch the ball or to handle the ball and to come off screens and that kind of stuff with more space, and we'll do that tomorrow. Then the other side of it is just him playing better, and that's what the Playoffs are about. The coaching staff has to figure out the best lineups and the best looks. Players have to perform. It's on all of us to be better.

Q. When you see him have a couple of tough games in a short stretch like this so unusual, what do you see in him as far as his reaction to his own play and his determination?
STEVE KERR: Well, just think about the OKC series. We're down 3-1, he hadn't played well. Look what he did the last few games. So that's Steph. That's who he is. He always responds. He's got a huge heart, competitive as hell, and extremely talented. I know how he will respond. He'll play well. He always does.

Q. You're no stranger to making lineup changes, rotation changes, more minutes for one guy, less for another. What are the factors that go into those decisions for you to, one, make sure that you still have the locker room or that someone's not so disappointed that it's creating a problem inside the locker room?
STEVE KERR: Well, they're all big boys. You know, they get paid a lot of money not only to play but sometimes to sit. You have to accept whatever comes your way as a player, especially in the Playoffs when everything is more easily changed because of matchups or lineups or whatever.

So that doesn't concern me. We've done that. We have a very mature group, and if we weren't to make any changes, I wouldn't worry about hurting any feelings.

Q. You've obviously fielded some questions about Steph, but Klay has also played below his standard. Are the Cavs defending him in a similar way to Steph? Do you see any frustration? I mean, he made some pretty strong comments last night about Mozgov's screen being kind of dirty, and it looked on replay as a fairly hard screen. What do you see in Klay and what needs to get him going?
STEVE KERR: Well, first of all, none of this was an issue when we were up 2-0. Neither one of them had huge games when we were up 2-0 but it didn't matter because we won. Now we lose a game and these become huge issues. This is what the Playoffs are all about. The spotlight and the speculation and the criticism and the dramatic change in perception about what's happening.

Before I don't know, when did last night end, 11:30? So 14 hours ago? 16 hours ago? Everything was great. We were doing great. And "Boy, what are the Cavs going to do? Are they going to get swept?" They're a great team. They win a game, now it's our lineup changes, and, "Oh, my God, Steph Curry can't play well, and what's Klay going to do?" When you go through the Playoffs, you understand this is all part of it. And as a player, you have to feel that. Our guys felt it last year. Steph had a couple of rough patches in the Playoffs. We made some lineup changes. Klay maybe didn't have his best series in The Finals last year, who cares? It's a team game. We get out there, we compete, different guys step up and have big games, other guys may not shoot the ball as well, but we all compete and we all play our asses off. And whatever happens, happens.

But all this stuff about, "Oh, my God, what are we going to do?" All we have to do is take stock. We're up 2-1. We're in pretty good shape. We haven't played that well. Let's play better.

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