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June 15, 2016

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. You're back home. How much of the 41 points you scored in Game 5 will help you in Game 6?
KYRIE IRVING: None of it, not really even thinking about that game right now. As soon as the buzzer ended in Game 5, all I could think about was preparation for Game 6. Watched some film and the next 24 hours would be just solely focused on how we can be better for Game 6.

Q. I just wonder, the way the offense worked the other night, how much of that is sustainable going forward, you scoring that much, LeBron scoring that much? Is that sustainable on a night-by-night basis or was that just a fantastic night for both of you?
KYRIE IRVING: As a competitor, you want to sustain it. Obviously you want to have a big night, especially playing on this platform. But sometimes it can go either way, and you have to be willing to play through both ways and remain confident in what the game plan is offensively and defensively. And if we stay that course, we feel pretty good that we've put ourselves in a great position to be in the game.

So for us, it's just about coming out with that aggressive mindset, pushing in transition, and getting easy opportunities that we can take advantage of.

Q. What kind of mental adjustment did you have to make the moment you knew that you weren't going to have to be the savior for this franchise when LeBron and Kevin Love came? How much do you feel being in this environment has expedited your growth?
KYRIE IRVING: It's been expedited substantially just from the standpoint of having a leader like Bron coming in, a championship winner, and then, you know, you have a perennial All-Star in Kevin that he's been a franchise player for however many years he was in Minnesota, and then we try to make it work with the different pieces. And we come in, and you just learn from different guys that I still have great relationships with that have either left the team or are still on the team now, which has been great for my development.

But having those guys come back and garner the attention that we have having the guys that we have, it's been great because we get everyone's best shot. It flipped roles when I went from going from the team that was trying to steal a win in a great team's building to sold-out arenas, everyone's coming in to watch us play, and that was a flip. It was a complete 180 from coming in, spotted fans being in there, to everyone just coming in and seeing us play and we're getting all this attention.

So it was a flip side which I had to get used to, which I'm still not necessarily used to all the way. But it's part of the game, and everyone wants to see the great players play on a great platform.

Q. Is it the environment you craved just to be on this stage?
KYRIE IRVING: Absolutely. Since my rookie year trying to just be on a great team. We know we have great management, great ownership, and when you put great players on one team and this is what I wanted to be a part of. Right here, the magnitude of this moment, being with these great guys in the locker room, a great team just fighting for a championship. That's what I wanted to be a part of.

Q. With Andrew being out for 6 and 7, the impact obviously that he has defensively, they can't necessarily replace that. How will that change the way you guys approach what you want to do offensively tomorrow night?
KYRIE IRVING: It won't really change. Having that rim protection though is big for them with Andrew, so we understand that. And for us, we'll stick with our offensive game plan. Understand that he won't be in there, but they'll have to make adjustments as well as us, so we'll be prepared.

Q. On a different note, the extra day of travel you get this year, the extra day off when you have to travel across country, what kind of boost has that been to getting some semblance of maybe normal rest?
KYRIE IRVING: It's been beneficial for me for sure. I hope my teammates can say the same. That four-and-a-half-hour, four-hour flight coming from the west coast and getting adjusted to the time, it can take a toll on your body. But I love the extra day. Just coming in, able to get some work in and get treatment when you need to and prepare for the game. I know the NBA and I know the fans would like to see all of us at our best, and that extra day is beneficial.

Q. Going back to Game 4, did you guys feel after that one that that might have been a game that you let slip?
KYRIE IRVING: I feel like there were just a lot of mistakes that we made that we definitely could have controlled. Offensive rebounding, just defensive execution, offensive execution in terms of our spacing, especially down the stretch. Things that we definitely can control, we felt that Game 4 they took advantage of a lot of our mistakes, and that's what a great team does.

Q. I guess if you take that five-minute stretch out and look at games 3, 4, and 5, you guys have been playing pretty well. I don't know where you are on the idea of momentum carrying from one game to the next, but do you feel like coming into Game 6 that you guys have put together some good games?
KYRIE IRVING: We have. We have, but you have to sustain it, and if we sustain it, we feel like we're in a great position. But if we don't, we put ourselves in a Game 4 position, and only thing that matters is wins and losses.

I mean, I'm big on momentum, but it's so shifty at times. It could minute to minute, second to second it could change. So, I'm just about offensive execution, defensive execution, and sticking to our game plan.

Q. When you were down 3-1, how much did you still think that you can win this series versus just trying to compartmentalize and think about the one game at a time approach?
KYRIE IRVING: That's all I did was take it one game at a time. That's it. I couldn't really think about the what-ifs, or what could happen, what should happen, I can't really think about that. All I'm thinking about is the moment that we're in and taking advantage of it.

Q. You talked about Bogut a little bit. With him out of the game, do you think that opens things up for you guys to get to the hoop, to the rim a little more than usual? And you have Draymond Green coming back after a suspension. Can you talk a little bit about what you expect to change in terms of the Warriors' style of defense with his return?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, those are two great defensive presence guys for their team, we understand that. Andrew's a big part of that, but I feel like the majority of the minutes that have been played has been with a lot of the small lineups that both teams have, with Draymond at the five or Tristan at the five and Bron at the four, and so on to the guys that have been on the floor.

So it will be about matchups and who can better effectively execute their offense. That's what it really comes down to, and who is getting stops. But Draymond coming back, he's a big emotional leader for their team and we expect him to bring a lot of energy.

Q. Obviously last year you weren't around essentially on the floor for Game 6, but do you sense a difference in this time around and last time around between the camaraderie, or just the way you guys are playing and if there's a difference between this year and last time?
KYRIE IRVING: I can say from actually being here, before I was in my hospital bed so I didn't really know -- all I was trying to do is text the guys and call them. I believe I came back for, I believe, Game 3 or Game 4 when I walked in with my crutches. That was the first time I'd seen the guys since I got hurt. So I just tried to give as much wisdom as I could. But for me, it was too emotional to be around the team at that time last year.

So actually being in it, being in the fight, being in the locker room is very important, and understanding that as one of the leaders on the team, you want to be playing. But sometimes it can be a little bit too much if you're injured or something like that. But this time around definitely feels different just being out there and being able to play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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