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June 10, 2016

Steve Kerr

Cleveland, Ohio: Game Four

Q. How would you describe and recall your time with the Cavaliers as a player from '89 to '92?
STEVE KERR: Oh, it was awesome. I had so much fun. Great team, lot of great friends on that team. Larry Nance and Hot Rod [Williams], and Danny Ferry, Craig Ehlo, Mark Price, Brad Daugherty. We kept running into the Bulls, unfortunately, but it was a great three-and-a-half years for me and my wife. And we really enjoyed living here. I have an aunt and uncle who live here in Cleveland. So it was a really nice time in my career.

Q. Coach, you said before Game 3 that you didn't feel the need to have to say anything to your team because they understood the magnitude of the situation and then they came out the way they did. Do you feel like you need to say something to them tonight before this one?
STEVE KERR: I was obviously wrong before Game 3 (laughter). I should have mentioned to them we're in The Finals and the other team's really good and we're on their home floor. Maybe that would have helped.

I think what happened the other night, if that doesn't get our team prepared to play, then there are no words that I can use that will do the job.

Q. Does the presence of Kevin Love change anything for you guys in terms of how you face the Cavs?
STEVE KERR: Well, it changes our lineup a little bit, our decision-making about who to play and at what time. It does make things a little different. But we're not changing our offense. We're not drawing up a new set of plays for when he's out there and when he's not, anything like that.

But he's an important player for them. He's a guy who you have to account for in a lot of ways, so when he's on the floor, we'll be well aware of his presence.

Q. Coach, along with the question about decision-making and lineup choices, have you decided to stick with the same starting lineup that you've had for the first three games?
STEVE KERR: That is something I choose to not divulge. Sorry. I know you expect me to give up strategy two hours before the game, but I'd rather not.

Q. There seems to be a difference of opinion on whether momentum can carry over from game to game in a best-of-seven series. What's your take on that?
STEVE KERR: Every game is different. Every circumstance is different. I mean, we were down 3-1 against OKC. I thought winning Game 5 gave us some momentum. But we've had other series where it made no rhyme or reason who was winning and what happened the next game. We obviously didn't have any momentum when we arrived in Cleveland, despite being up 2-0. So I think that's a difficult question.

Q. Going back to your time in Cleveland, the city kind of has a reputation of being snakebit a little bit. Were you guys aware of that in '89 or '90 or so of like a title drought or anything like that?
STEVE KERR: Sure, yeah, we knew about it. I remember when I was here the Browns lost in the AFC title game twice in a row, and the famous Earnest Byner game when it looked like they were going to win the game, and he fumbled on his way in. I was a Browns fan. I was a converted Browns fan just from being here for a couple of years. That's how much excitement there was in the city for the Browns.

So, yeah, I mean, if you're a sports fan at all and you come to Cleveland, you're made aware of that stuff right away.

Q. Can you talk about the pace of the game that you expect, slower or faster, to get Curry better looks?
STEVE KERR: Well, they want to play fast and we want to play fast, but it's not as easy as just deciding to play fast. You have to defend and rebound in order to get out and run. But both teams really want to do that, and so it comes down to who is defending, who is rebounding, who is talking care of the ball.

It's funny, it sounds crazy to say, the last two games have been 30-point games. Sometimes it's literally a handful of possessions that can kind of swing the momentum from one side to the other, and if you're on the wrong side of that, it can get away from you. If you really kind of take the bull by the horns and string together a good five, six minutes, then you can be the team to pull away a little bit.

So every possession matters, and if you can string together a bunch of them, it can change the game.

Q. Do you see a big change in strategy in terms of coaching from last year to this year with the Cavs when you're analyzing their games?
STEVE KERR: I don't think they're dramatically different. The biggest difference is that the personnel is different without Kevin and Kyrie last year. They played bigger for the most part with Mozgov and Tristan. So this year they've gone back to Love and Mozgov hasn't played as much. They've added Channing Frye, but I don't see a huge difference in terms of the style of play.

Q. Sticking with the Cleveland theme, if you were coaching the Cavs tonight, would you approach Game 4 as if it were Game 7?
STEVE KERR: I'm not coaching the Cavs tonight (laughter).

Q. Slightly random, but there is some discussion whether Steph might not have shot the ball well yesterday when we were watching, and shot the ball well today maybe. Do you find yourself looking at whether it's Steph, obviously, Steph's the one we look at, and figuring out whether or not he's going to be hot for a game?

Q. Is there any correlation in your mind for any of these guys?

Q. Was it for you?
STEVE KERR: No, no. First of all, a great shooter like Steph in practice is going to make 85, 90% of his shots during every workout if there's no defense. So the difference between Steph shooting great and not shooting great, maybe he only shoots 80% instead of 85 or 90. Every once in a while Q [Bruce Fraser] will come in and say maybe, "Boy, Steph struggled a little bit in warm-ups. He didn't quite have his rhythm." It happened one time last year, and he had 46 that night. And the opposite can happen; he can be in a great groove and maybe not make shots.

So I don't read too much into that. A guy like Steph, one shot can just get him going. You remember the Portland, Game 4 when he came back, he missed his first ten threes. Then hit like five of his last six, including like three in a row down the stretch to win the game. So it doesn't take much for great shooters like that to get going.

Q. Did you talk at all to Klay today? Did he give you any sense for how his thigh is and whether he'll be limited at all?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I talked to him, and he thought he'd be fine. So he'll get some treatment. He got treatment today. He'll get some more before the game, but he's good to go.

Q. In the first two games in Golden State, Kyrie was more of a scorer, not much of a facilitator. Last game he was much more of a facilitator. Was that something execution-wise that was going on or was it just the play of the game?
STEVE KERR: He looked angry last game. He was upset the way he played and the way the team played, and he came out and he let us have it. The first six minutes of the game he was attacking every single time, pulling up for jumpers, getting into the paint. He had a great game. He was the aggressor, and he earned his performance.

Q. In general terms, how big a role does lineup analysis play in your choosing the lineup combination for the game? Bigger than in the past?
STEVE KERR: Lineup analysis?

Q. Yeah, through analytics.
STEVE KERR: Well, we look at all that, but we have a pretty good feel for which lineups work and which ones don't. Sometimes that stuff can be a little deceiving because it's a small sample size, and so you have to be careful with it. You look at one lineup, and they played two minutes and they were 0-for-4, and they gave up a three-pointer, and then you watch the film and they've got four great shots and the other team hit a half-court shot at the end of the quarter. You're like, well, wait a second, this lineup wasn't that bad after all. And the reverse can be true, too.

So at this point of the season we kind of know. We have a good feel for which lineups we like, which ones will work in certain situations. In the end, it's up to the players to perform. So you can put what looks on paper like a great lineup out there, and it may not work, or vice versa.

Q. Going back to Klay, you've asked him throughout the Playoffs to defend a multitude of different guys. Going into tonight's game because he took that shot on his thigh, does it change what maybe you're going to ask of him to do defensively because of that?
STEVE KERR: No, no. I mean, he's still going to have to be on LeBron and Kyrie and J.R., and there's going to be all kinds of switching, and he's going to have to guard everybody.

I have one other thing I want to mention. Another sad day to day in the NBA world. Brooks Thompson passed away. Brooks played for Orlando. I was watching Classic Sports about a week ago and they showed our 1996 Eastern Conference Finals game against the Magic, and Brooks and I were guarding each other. The Magic had had some injuries and he played Game 4; had a great game. I had no idea he was ill. I read today online that he passed away, and I just want to give my condolences to his family. I just cannot believe the year it's been for the NBA and for so many people in the NBA who have lost loved ones. Not just players, but coaches and family members, and I wish the Thompson family well. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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