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May 31, 2017

Kyrie Irving

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. Now that this matchup is set again for the third straight year, how much can you guys appreciate the history that's being made while you're going through the process of playing?
KYRIE IRVING: I think you appreciate it more after the fact. When you're necessarily in the moment, all that really doesn't matter. So we're -- I mean, definitely great that both teams are here for a third straight time. We know each other very well. We have added some pieces along the way, and we'll see what this series holds.

Q. What do you think it's going to take you to win Game 1?
KYRIE IRVING: It's a feel-out game, so we'll just come out with a great game plan, some adjustments that we can make going on throughout the game, aggressiveness and a pace that we want to play at. And just settle in as quick as we can.

We understand this environment and the level and the intensity that this will be at emotionally. It's natural to feel all those things. So it will be exciting. But the quicker you settle into your surroundings, the better you'll be.

Q. Can you speak to the an additions of Korver and Williams and how you have seen them taking different roles than what they had previously in their careers and assimilating into this team?
KYRIE IRVING: It's just a testament of the selfless group that we have been able to put together. Especially our GM, Dave Griffin. So it's great that we have gelled together as quick as we have going through what we went through through the regular season, adding these pieces, seeing how it could necessarily turn out, and then how valuable they are, especially in a Final series like this. Deron Williams arguably was one of our best point guards in our league hands down. And I was watching him going against C.P., and we were battling who was 1 and 2. And then you have Kyle, the best shooter in the world on our team, he just added a lot of depth to our bench.

Q. How have you sort of observed from afar how Steph has progressed? He's healthy this year, for one thing, but just his post-season at this point?
KYRIE IRVING: He's been doing great. He's been doing some amazing things, what we have come accustomed to knowing him to be. Dominating a game, being impactful on both ends of the floor, and just being the driving motor for a great team like Golden State.

So throughout his years, it's just definitely watched -- when I was in high school and in college and then getting drafted and being able to play against him, seeing him, his evolution as a player of not necessarily being a top draft pick but becoming a two-time MVP and a unanimous MVP at one point. So it's just great to see that he continues to get better, and it's even better that we get to continue this matchup for years to come.

Q. What do you remember about your year under Mike Brown? What did you take from it, and will it be strange at all to be on the sidelines and see him as the opposing head coach?
KYRIE IRVING: It's not strange. Understand that things happen in this league sometimes, whether controlled or uncontrolled. But it's just learning experience. I was a 21-year-old kid, just trying to lead a franchise, and he was a new head coach that I had to get introduced to a new offense, new players, as well as new system. So it was a learning experience, to say the least. It wasn't -- something that I look back on and I kind of regret being part of that because he was just trying to teach me a lot of things that I didn't necessarily understand as a 21-year-old in the NBA. So he definitely had some great things and the knowledge of the game that's up there with some great coaches.

Q. Kevin Love in his current role with the Cavaliers is sort of the third member of the big three to some people. He was the central figure in Minnesota. Can you talk about the evolution of Kevin and how he has adapted to that role and how he is playing right now.
KYRIE IRVING: Oh, well, the difficult task to come on a new team and be around other great players is to see yourself fitting into a role that you're not necessarily used to. He was playing in Minnesota for eight years, the focal point, a lot of responsibility was on his shoulders. That could lead to a lot of things that -- even myself, that could lead to a lot of bad habits, not necessarily on a challenged team every single night. You just -- you think that just working on your game would be enough, but it comes with a lot more of -- a lot more leadership than I think me and him even realized in our early years.

Now that we have other guys that we can lean on, other teammates, great teammates, at that, that are very selfless and only want us to be ourselves, he's gelled as well as anyone. It's definitely been tough. It hasn't been a smooth road for any of us. But for Kevin, I've just constantly told him just to be himself, that's it. We don't want anybody else, Kev, we don't want you to try to be outside of any boundaries. You're boundless. Your potential is endless and we believe in you, so go out there and play like it. So that was just a journey that we all had to endure, and we're still continuing that.

Q. Can you talk about your relationship with LeBron and how it's developed over the years? You were here when he got here, and you were kind of the leader of the team and you were the Rookie of the Year and then he arrived, and how that dynamic developed over the years?
KYRIE IRVING: I can echo the same thing that Kev went through in terms of myself in terms of myself having just a tremendously great player like that come to your team and you see yourself being one of those great players eventually and then he ends up joining it and then now you have to almost take a step back and observe, but at the same point you want to keep your foot on the gas pedal. And I think that finding that balance is one of the toughest things to do because you have so much belief and confidence in yourself but also one of the biggest things that makes a great player great is how selfless he is and how much is he willing to sacrifice in order to see the betterment of the team.

Selfishly I always wanted to just show everyone in the whole entire world exactly who I was every single time, and I can do that with a lot of great teammates around me, and I would rather have that and be competing for a championship every single day than waking up at 3:00 in the morning, getting jump shots, figuring out what the next direction is for the team. So I'm glad that it just has a cemented role here as well as an evolution that's going to continue, continuously go, as much as we win.

So all the credit goes to the great organization as well as my teammates and having a guy that I can look up to like that and as well as be brother to brother and side by side with him while going out there and conquering the world, which is win championships.

Q. I think most people would agree that the matchups between LeBron and Durant and yourself and Curry are the two best possible anybody could have. Is there any sense on your part that whichever group of superstars is able to impose their will will ultimately determine the outcome of this series?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, I mean, it's inevitable. Four great players like that, at the point guard role, myself and Steph and then K.D. and Bron, obviously there will be a lot of attention paid to that. That's part of the game, great players and great competition going against one another.

But I don't want to downplay the fact of how important all our other pieces are in order to win a championship. So we definitely have to be special, myself and Bron, and in order to propel our team to a win, but we have to bring our teammates along as well.

Q. I talked to Coach Lue about the last loss here, the blowout loss. Was that in any regard wake-up call that let you know how much you guys had to elevate your game to get back to this point?

MODERATOR: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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