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April 16, 2017

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California: Game One

Trail Blazers - 109, Warriors - 121

Q. (Inaudible)?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it was a great game. It was to me the perfect way to win Game one. You get a real taste for what you're up against. You take a really good punch from your opponent. You see how good they are, but you're able to overcome everything and still get the win. So I like it. I like the way our guys responded in the second half.

Our fourth quarter defense in particular changed the game. That first group started the fourth. Their defense was great. And I thought even before that JaVale McGee made a huge impact defensively. So really good effort. A lot of great individual games, and obviously we had to overcome just a phenomenal game from Portland's back court.

Q. You've been talking about whether to put Draymond to start the second or fourth unit or Durant. But you went for defense, I guess. Is this what you imagined you'd get out of them or even more?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, we've tried both during the course of the year, and it's really just depending on what you're looking for, and this game calls for better defense. I felt like we finally had a little traction defensively. And also, K.D. was going really well in the third quarter. He was scoring, so we didn't want to take him out.

So it made perfect sense to go to Draymond to start the fourth, and he and David West, I thought, anchored our defense really well. Klay did a good job. Ian Clark made some big plays, so it was a good group.

Q. What was your strategy on how to defend those two in the second half? I saw you trapping the ball screen with Lillard, but what was the plan to try to slow them down after halftime?
STEVE KERR: You know, it's one of those things if you want to double team them, you're opening up yourself to made threes from other guys. So you have to decide what you're going to do. The main thing is we just wanted to be more aggressive. We let them get to their spots in the first half. They still made some tough shots, which they're going to do. But thought we did a better job in the second half of being a little more physical, and our help-side defense improved as well.

Q. Draymond Green's five blocked shots, spectacular passion, I would say. What do you have to say about a person who one-on-one stares down his opponents and lets them know, hey, I'm not letting you get this basket as easily as you think it is?
STEVE KERR: Draymond was amazing. He made some tremendous defensive plays. He made threes. He rebounded the ball. He had nine assists. I mean, he played a game that I'm not sure anybody else in the league is capable of, honestly. Who else can do what Draymond just did tonight? He's so unique and so important to us. He was phenomenal.

Q. What did you think about you are why defense on Lillard and McCollum in the first half? Were those guys just hot, and you couldn't do anything about it, or were you frustrated at all with the defense?
STEVE KERR: Well, both. They made some tough shots, but they also got to their spots. We're trying to keep them from getting into their comfort zones, and they seem to get there with ease in the first half. We did a better job in the second half, but we also have to understand that's how this series is going to go. Hopefully they don't get 75 points between them in Game 2, but they might. That's how good they are. So we've just got to keep trying to make it hard on them and do the best we can.

Q. Not just the five blocks, but Draymond twice had the hand-to-hand basically with the block. Is there an extra boost of energy the way the crowd reacts? I don't know if the bench reacts as well, but it feels different than when the ball is in air and a guy swats it out?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, yeah. Well, when you get that block at the apex of the rim, of the player's elevation and he's right at the rim, you get a block like that, it energized everybody. I thought our fans were fantastic. Our players were fired up, and Draymond made a couple of just huge plays there.

Q. When you've got opponent guards going like that, do you want Steph and Klay to feel a challenge or do you want them to resist trying to answer every basket? What was that give-and-take like with the other two guys?
STEVE KERR: I don't really -- if I had seen Steph and Klay trying to respond taking bad shots because it turned it into an individual thing, I would have been disappointed. They didn't do that though. I thought our guys stayed within the framework of what we were trying to do offensively. We just weren't good enough defensively.

Q. Seemed like in the first half we were rushing a little bit, the shots were going too soon and plays were not set correctly. What would you do to change for the second game?
STEVE KERR: I think it was a case of first-game jitters. Maybe not jitters, we were just trying too hard. You see it all the time. Every team I've ever been on, first game of the Playoffs was always difficult. You're more amped up, maybe you're in a rush. I think we had ten turnovers in the middle of the second quarter. So we settled down and hopefully we'll start getting better presence, better poise.

Q. For all your heroes tonight, I mean, a lot of guys played well. Kevin was still your leading scorer at 32. Is there any doubt in your mind that he's all the way back now, and what did you think of his performance?
STEVE KERR: I thought he attacked at really important times of the game where we needed some aggression much we were settling for some jumpshots for much of the game. When he started to attack, I think that made a huge impact on the game. Yeah, he played 36 minutes, and had a great game. He looks like he's back to me.

Q. JaVale McGee in that third quarter, did his contributions go beyond just the numbers? It seemed like it did.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I mean, the force that he plays with, the speed that he runs the floor, the blocked shots, he had a couple of them, I think. It's just he brings a different element to the game. We've kind of played center by committee all year long. We get something different from Zaza and JaVale and David, they're each unique in their own games. And we need all three of them. I thought JaVale did what he he's done all year for us. Given us a huge boost.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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