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June 19, 2016

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California: Game Seven

Cavaliers 93, Warriors 89

COACH KERR: First of all, I want to say congrats to Ty and his staff and all their players, their organization. I thought Cleveland did an amazing job the last few games after we went up 3-1 to really come back and overtake us.

They deserved it. They hit some key shots. They made the plays. And, as I said, congrats to the Cavs and to the city of Cleveland.

With that said, I want to talk a little bit about our season. Just an incredible run that obviously didn't end the way we wanted it to. But I am so lucky to coach this incredible group of players who are so committed to each other, to the game, to the organization.

It was really an amazing year. It's been an incredible two-year run. We're disappointed that it didn't go our way at the end, but that's life.

Q. I know it's impossible to wrap it up in five or 10 minutes as it happened, but what were the emotions like in the locker room when you guys did get back in there?
COACH KERR: Everybody was obviously just sad, just down. We were right there. Two cracks at it at home where we had lost three games, I think, all year going into Game 5.

So we had our chances, and our guys know that. They're really bummed out. But, as I said, that's the way it goes.

Q. You've mentioned several times with your six championships there's always been indelible moments from the celebrations. What will you remember postgame after this series?
COACH KERR: From our locker room?

Q. Yeah.
COACH KERR: You know, we've had so many moments of joy together, and it was like, wow, we're actually having a moment of sorrow as a team. It's a great reminder that, first of all, it's not easy to win a championship. But, as I said, it's life. Things happen. You move on.

Q. 13 points in the fourth quarter. What happened to bog you down offensively in the biggest quarter, obviously, of the season?
COACH KERR: Well, they scored 18, so it's Game 7 of the NBA Finals and everybody's flying around defensively. I thought both teams played exceptional defense in the fourth quarter. Shots were hard to come by. The few that we did have that were open we weren't able to knock down.

But this is kind of how it goes in Game 7. It's not going to be a 36-31 quarter. It's going to be hand-to-hand combat out there.

Really it was a couple of key plays. Kyrie hit an incredible shot, really well contested, and then LeBron had the two plays back-to-back where he got fouled on the three and then made a three. That kind of swung things in their favor.

Q. And you put Ezeli back in there. I think you were up four. Did you just think you had to have a center there and did you regret that move?
COACH KERR: My thought there was that they were not making threes, and LeBron in particular had not made a three. And I really felt like we needed rim protection. They had gone big. They had Love and they had, obviously, LeBron and they had Tristan. I felt like we needed to have rim protection. And Festus obviously gives us our best option there, and LeBron made a great play, a couple of great plays, and that helped turn things.

Q. You've seen a lot of great things from your team and as a player before. These last three games from LeBron, can you kind of put into words what you saw, how he performed at that level over the last three games?
COACH KERR: Well, he's such a force physically, so powerful. I thought he brought more force to the last three games than he did the first four. But he's one of the great players of all time and obviously was the key to the turnaround and had a great series.

Q. As much as you guys knew this was a possibility coming in, now that it has happened, is there still any sense of being stunned that it did happen?
COACH KERR: Yeah, yeah, we're stunned. We thought we were going to win. I was extremely confident coming into tonight, especially having Draymond back from the suspension from 5 and now 7, Game 7, at home.

But this is why you can't mess around. Not that we messed around, but this is why every game counts. Game 5 was really the key. That was the turning point of the whole series. We didn't play well enough to win. It was a tough game for us with the circumstances, and I thought they had two guys who played epic games, Kyrie and LeBron. And that changed the whole series.

But with that said, I thought we were going to take care of business tonight at home, and we just couldn't get it done.

Q. There were some moments in the Conference Finals when you, yourself, said that the Warriors got outworked. There were some times when you were saying you guys did not play with great poise in the Playoffs. Do you think you guys played your worst basketball at the end of the season?
COACH KERR: No, no. That's really tough to judge how you play and compare November to June. I mean, it's totally different. It's a physical game. You're playing great teams. To go back-to-back Oklahoma City, Cleveland, two great teams. We survived one with coming back from 3-1, and we lose the next one up 3-1. It's Playoff basketball.

So I don't compare how we played the last few games to what happened in November or December because it's a completely different deal.

Q. Can you talk about how Draymond, I guess, attempted to redeem himself? He was out for Game 5, and he played the game of his life in Game 7?
COACH KERR: I thought Draymond was brilliant. He had one of the best games, one of the best Game 7s that I've ever seen. Knocking down his shot, rebounding, moving the ball, playing incredible defense. Draymond did everything he could.

We were right there. We had our chances and just couldn't get it done. But he was phenomenal.

Q. Is there any part of you that wanted to just run out your depth lineup for the last 12, 11 minutes of the game?
COACH KERR: Well, they were out there for quite a bit. We put Festus in for a few minutes to get the rim protection. Other than that we had that lineup out there most of the time.

Q. Coach, your big men struggled big time. Ezeli and Varejao combined for one point and one rebound. Do you win this series if Bogut is healthy? And when you look back on this series, did the better team win this series, or did the Warriors give it away?
COACH KERR: First of all, I don't look at Ezeli and Varejao's point totals and think they're supposed to score for us. That's not their roles. I thought Anderson came in and gave us some really good minutes. I thought Festus started the game out well. He didn't get his shot to go, but he was active, he was athletic. I thought they both helped us. So I don't look at the stats and decide that that's how they played.

As far as did the better team win? Yes, yeah. The better team won. That's the beauty of the NBA Playoffs. You play a seven-game series, the best team wins. And they were better than us in this series.

Q. You kind of addressed this with Draymond, but what was the look like in his eyes before the game? He obviously had a massive first half. It seemed like he had a harder time getting shots in the second half. Did LeBron or the Cavs change anything or turn up the pressure on him?
COACH KERR: Well, we don't run a lot of plays for Draymond to get shots. He shoots when he's open. They might have tightened up on him a little bit in the second half. But Draymond does everything. You look at the line, 15 boards, 9 assists, 32 points, he did everything for us out there.

Q. Coach, two big events this year, obviously. You win 73 games in the regular season, become the first team to do that. And then on the opposite side, become the first team to blow a 3-1 lead in the [Finals]. Which one do you learn more from or which one did you -- which situation did you learn more about your team in, I don't want to say accomplishing, but --
COACH KERR: I'm not sure I learned more from one thing than the other. You go through the whole season, you play, you compete, you do your best. We had a phenomenal season. Obviously we did something that's never been done before. Couldn't finish it off.

It's not about learning anything or life lessons or anything like that. The only thing it is about is getting better as a team, and that's what we'll try to do next year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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