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May 31, 2017

Ian Clark

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. What's the most excited you ever were to watch a sporting event? Even as a kid or as adult.
IAN CLARK: Probably my junior year of high school when the University of Memphis went to the national championship. Being around the city, it was big, of course just being from there you want to see your hometown team win. So I can remember like it was yesterday being with all my friends and family and kind of watching the game.

Q. Does it trip you out a little that like around the country there's probably a lot of people where this series might be as important to them as that was to you?
IAN CLARK: Yeah, definitely. Especially it being a third time around we're playing them in a row. I know there's a lot of excitement around that. But also just the matchup. Two high caliber teams going at it and playing on the big stage.

Q. Is it fair to say that this entire year, whether it was going to be the Cavs or not, that this moment was like never out of your mind and the mind of your teammates of getting to this stage?
IAN CLARK: Well this was our goal. Starting at the beginning of the season coming off of last year adding new pieces, the ultimate goal was to get back to this point and ultimately win. But we just, you can only put yourself in the position to get here and we did that.

Q. What are you looking forward to most about playing in Finals?
IAN CLARK: Just competing, man. Being able to compete. It's not easy getting here, everybody doesn't get here, so when you get here you want to make sure you take advantage of the moment and I'm pretty sure everybody including myself would say the same thing.

Q. Who has better handles, you, Curry or Kyrie?
IAN CLARK: I'll probably go with Steph. I see him all the time, that's probably why.

Q. At what point do you start to get nervous? You've done this before, but at what point do the nerves really hit you the most?
IAN CLARK: I don't know if it's nerves, it's more just being anxious. We have been off for so long and guys want to get out on the floor and want to compete and want to play. So I mean those jitters kind of kicked in today, coming to the arena kind of doing all of the media things and having the open practice and everything like that, because we know what's here tomorrow. But I think it's more nervous, guys have been here before, the guys that haven't been here before have long tenures in the League, so I don't think anything surprises them, it's more just we want to compete.

Q. What are the things that you guys feel like you can do well against this team?
IAN CLARK: Try and take away the easy things. That's what we want to do. They're a talented group and they get a lot of easy shots and we kind of want to take those away and make it hard for them. Offensively we just want to push it, we want to push it in transition and do a lot of movement off the ball. When we are stagnant and we play one-on-one ball they can load up and they're a good defensive team. So we got to kind of get them out of their spots and make it hard for them.

Q. What causes that stagnation? Because you guys are so good at it 90 percent of the time. Is it you get exhausted?
IAN CLARK: We got so many guys that you can just give them the ball and they can go get a bucket. And I think we fall into that trap a lot. Because we're so talented. So it's a pro and a con for us. So being able to make sure we still have movement while those guys are attacking, I think that's when we're at our best.

Q. So much of Kyrie's game is isolation. All his shots are basically shots that you want to live with, that you want guys taking, contested mid-range jumpers and stuff like that. But yet he's so efficient at them. Do you guys have to kind of change your approach on some of that or do you want to kind of stick with what you know well?
IAN CLARK: First of all we got to make sure that we're playing defense as a team. Like you said, I know he makes those tough shots all the time and we know that, he's a great player. But if we kind of send multiple people at him and not leave one guy on the island with him, I think it will make him second guess the shots that he's taking and hopefully make it hard for him.

Q. Is there a moment where you remember Kevin embracing you from as a teammate?
IAN CLARK: I think it was probably in training camp. We came in early and obviously some guys were here working out before everybody came in back for training camp and we are playing three-on-three, four-on-four and that's my first time actually getting to meet him and talk to him and he just said that just get ready for a long ride that we got ahead. And from then on we built a relationship. Obviously he's a great teammate, but he's one of my close friends off the floor.

Q. They have been really good about encouraging you and giving you opportunities and letting you be successful. A lot of teams, they don't go that route with younger guys, they want to make sure that the veterans are all on the floor at the same time. What does it say about this team that you've been kind of given that opportunity?
IAN CLARK: The type of group that we have, everyone believes in each other, from the coaching staff to -- last year we had Steve go out. This year he went out, and both assistant coaches [Luke Walton and Mike Brown] stepped up. We have had guys go out all year, being hurt, and we had other guys stepping up and everybody has confidence in the next guy to make a play or to be on the floor and be productive. When you have that kind of confidence from your peers and your coaching staff, it only makes you better. And that's kind of what I took in these past few years. Last year was more of a learning curve for me this year kind of putting things into action and I tried to be successful with it.

Q. Coaches often say that it's all about decision making. That's what they do, they make a whole bunch of decisions. Everyone is wondering what is the impact of Coach Kerr not being actually only the sideline. We know he's making decisions and helping you guys and helping game plan and things like that. Are there things during the game that you can point to that you think you'll miss?
IAN CLARK: For the most part he's still around us, so it's kind of, I mean it's difficult not having him on the floor, on the sidelines, but he's still in the locker room, he's still in practices, so being able to still hear his voice I think is still encouraging for us. I'm pretty sure the coaching staff are all on the same page with the game plans and everything like that. So it was difficult at first, but once we got rolling, it's still basketball. He told us not to worry about him, we go out and still do our jobs and perform and that's what we've tried to do.

Q. When you come out here and you see the yellow shirts on every chair and everybody's so loud here, what does it make you feel like as a player?
IAN CLARK: Excited. Excited to play. It's one of the best arenas to play in having our fans behind us and being able to know that you can count on that excitement, especially for the Finals. If you can't get excited for the Finals, then I don't think you should be playing basketball.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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