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June 16, 2016

Steve Kerr

Cleveland, Ohio: Game Six

Q. Coach, Festus Ezeli is listed among the starters in the Jumbotron out there. Is he your choice?
STEVE KERR: I told the person operating the Jumbotron to pick our starting lineup and that's what I'm going to go with (smiling).

Q. Coach, LeBron James finished second in the NBA in defensive field-goal percentage, yet he was the fourth honorable mention on the All-NBA Defensive Team. Three parts to the question: One, I was wondering what you thought of the defensive field-goal stats? Two, whether you thought maybe with the NBA defensive players kind of like baseball, it's a little bit more reputation? And three, where you would put him defensively this year?
STEVE KERR: Well, those are all tough questions. I've never really trusted the individual shooting percentage because it's a five-man game, and sometimes if you're guarding the ball, there's supposed to be a guy behind you helping, and if he's not there and the player scores, the stat goes against you. So those can be tricky.

I don't pay any attention. I had no idea LeBron didn't make an All-Defensive Team. He's a tremendous defender. I didn't have a vote, for the record. He's obviously a great player, great defender. I'm surprised to hear he wasn't on there.

Q. Draymond seemed truly contrite the other day. Said he cost you guys the game. I'm wondering your thoughts on just how you expect him to react in the guts of a tough game, a tough play, a physical play, when the crowd's against him, the score's against him. How do you get the most out of him without taking anything away from him?
STEVE KERR: Honestly, I don't worry about that. There's either one or two games left in the Playoffs. Then everybody goes off on their summer break. So he's going to give it everything he's got tonight and, if necessary, Sunday. I'm not worried about him getting into any trouble. He plays incredibly hard. He plays with passion. He's also a very, very smart player. He's well aware of what just happened, and I don't think he could be goaded into anything like that.

Q. I know during the season and even earlier in the Playoffs you're very conscious of minutes for Iguodala and Livingston, given age and wear and tear. I'm guessing it matters less at this point. But is there 30 minutes, 35 minutes, at some point where their efficiency is going to be hurt? How conscious are you of their minutes in a game like this?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I mean, we're always very conscious of minutes played for each player. Like for Shaun, I think maybe once all year we got him over 30 minutes. We like to keep him under 30 if possible. Twenty-five is a good number. But that's also to try to manage him through the regular season and get him there in one piece.

With Andre, it's the same thing. I think in the regular season 28, 30 minutes is kind of what we usually play him. Playoff time we bump him up. He's one of our best players. Especially when you have a guy like LeBron to guard, then we're going to play him more.

Andre's one of those guys who doesn't seem to get tired. I've played him close to 40 minutes, I think, a couple of times in this series, and didn't see any ill effects. So I think he's capable of playing heavy minutes.

Q. We all focus on the shooting with Steph specifically, but other than the shooting, do you think he's having generally a good series? Is he doing other things that you want him to do generally in this series?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I mean, he changes the game just by being out on the floor. So even when he's not making shots, he's drawing so much attention that there have been lots of plays during this series where two people jump out at him and somebody slips and gets a layup. He doesn't get an assist, he doesn't get a basket, but basically the play resulted because of his presence.

So he hasn't been at his best, but he's still been great for us, and he's still doing so many things to help us win.

Q. There's been so much time between games. How have you guys or maybe you personally avoided not getting caught up in what the games are for and what could happen if you win?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, we just have to kill so much time. Two days between every game, so you watch a lot of film. You have a lot of meals together. Talk about a lot of stuff. Try to distract your mind with a book, with a movie, whatever, and then you still wait. You keep waiting, and then finally the game starts. But this is really dragged out over a long stretch.

Q. You've been through so many championships as a player and now a coach and your team has been through so many big moments. Is it almost like when you get older, you get bored with Christmas? You don't wake up early anymore? Or are you able to keep it in perspective?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I think our team has a good perspective on what this means. It's a strange balance. On one hand, it's everything that you've ever worked for. On the other, it's a basketball game. It's easier to strike that balance if you're Shaun Livingston, for example. The guy suffered one of the most horrific injuries ever seen on an NBA court. The doctors talked about amputating his leg. With context like that, he's going to survive if things don't go well, you know?

On the other hand, every one of us has loved basketball since the time we were this tall and we all want to win, just like they do. The beauty of competition at the highest level brings out the best in you. There's tears, there's celebration, you want to be the one celebrating, but you never know, and that's why we're competing.

Q. I know you're not big on the fire-and-brimstone pregame speech or anything, but what's the overall message you want your players to hear whether it comes from you, an assistant or another player? What do you want your players to hear going into this game?
STEVE KERR: No heroics necessary. Just be rock solid. Defend like we know we can with a purpose, with physicality. Offensively, take care of the ball, be sharp with your cuts, your passes, shoot with confidence, and that's it. It's nothing more than that. Sounds very simple, but for whatever reason, we've had a couple games in this series where our defensive focus wasn't there and where our attention to detail handling the ball wasn't there. Those are the things you can control. You can't control if the ball goes in or not all the time. We had a lot of open shots that we missed the other night. I have no problem with that. But the defensive lapses or the careless turnovers, you've got to take care of that stuff.

Q. Going back to Draymond, the last time there was a controversy around him was the Conference Finals, and the game after that he struggled. So what do you think he can learn or how do you think the experience going through that once already against the Thunder will help him tonight?
STEVE KERR: I think there's a big difference. I think in that series he was struggling pretty much the entire series. This series he's played extremely well. So the suspension came not at a time when he was already frustrated. It came at a time when he was in a good groove and we're up 3-1.

So circumstances are different. I'm confident that he'll come out tonight and play a good game, play with the same confidence he's had the entire series.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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