home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 6, 2017

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. The other night you said that this series is totally different than last year, different teams, but do you rely at all on just the basic fact that you were down 0-2 last year, the games weren't very close, and then you came here and that's when the series started to turn? Is that something that you can rely on?
KYRIE IRVING: You understand the journey and how much of the energy it took from a mental and physical standpoint in order to come back from something like that. But you know it's definitely possible, but also the realization that you're in a new moment, new journey, with some new guys in a new collective group, so you understand that it has to be different things done in order to be successful in this series.

It's going to come from a very special place, and we're going to need everyone, from myself to my teammates to the coaching staff to our fans, and understand how important Game 3 is.

So going into it, we definitely want to limit some of our mistakes and things that we don't want to necessarily mimic that we did in Game 1 and 2. So coming back home, watching film, seeing different things, we can execute and do at a very high level what we need to do. A lot of responsibility will come on our leaders of this team, and as it should.

Q. Ty said just a minute ago that he was not going to make any changes to the lineup or rotation, so the question is, what do you feel like you guys need out of JR maybe that you haven't gotten these first two games?
KYRIE IRVING: We just need our supporting group to be themselves as much as possible. Understand that they have a unique opportunity to make us that much better, and for a majority of this season it's been on myself, Bron and K-Love's shoulders. And we have done a great job of getting everyone involved and making sure that everyone feels comfortable, but now we need everything and everybody. And I know they know how important they are. And it's our job, my job to exude as much confidence as I can in them in order to get the very best, and I will do that.

Q. You've played this team for a couple years now, but of course matchups evolve as the team evolves. Looking at the film from Games 1 and 2, what have you learned about the way they're playing you right now?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, definitely throwing a lot of bodies at me. Definitely not allowing me to play in some comfortable positions that I'm used to. They have the ability to definitely take away some angles that are there for a split second, but if you don't take it at that split moment, then it can very well close up and you just you're playing against one or two defenders, and they're throwing a few bodies at you, so now you just make adjustments.

They have thrown their game plan out there, what they're not going to allow me to do, and now I've got to figure out what I want to do. That's not necessarily wait on whatever they're trying to limit me to do. And I know how important I have to be in order to go forward for us to have any chance at this series. So I relish that challenge, and I can't wait for it.

Q. You're lucky in that you not only have teammates and coaches here but also you have a dad, family who really actually knows the game. Have you gotten any advice from the home front?

Q. Do you want to share any of it?

I definitely have a great supporting group, and I'm eternally grateful for them.

Q. There's obviously been so much talk about the pace and the speed of the game, and just wondering as a guy who is on the floor and probably I assume one of the fastest players on your team, are they that different than Boston, Toronto teams that have been playing? Do they get down the court quicker, or is it just they do things better?
KYRIE IRVING: The way they're matching up with us defensively, it allows them to get out in transition a lot quicker. You just watch film, and you know when Klay's on me and a few of the other guys are helping off or in a specific defensive position, they're able to capitalize off our long jump shots or myself and Bron attacking the rim or a little scuffle underneath the rim, and then they spread out with their wings and they do an unbelievable job of running and creating that tempo, whether it be layups or threes.

So a part of it, the things that we can control is definitely our effort getting back as well as limiting them in transition, but more or less bringing up our physicality in the half court and not allowing them to be comfortable in the spots they have been in the last two games.

Q. With Ty saying that he's not going to make too many lineup changes and rotation changes, that would lead you to believe that there was something to pull out of Games 1 and 2 that he liked that he feels like can work moving into Game 3. So what positives do you take from the two losses?
KYRIE IRVING: Oh, man, we definitely got to take the positives out a few beatings that we took in the Golden State. But when you watch it, it just -- it doesn't necessarily seem as bad when you re-watch the games, because you understand that the things that you can't control, they're just kind of boneheaded plays that you are just like, oh, man, we can be better. We can be better. Whether they're speeding us up or whether they're getting in our chest or challenging us, we need to hit back. And it's just as simple as that. They're an incredible team.

But we understand that also we have specific matchups that we can attack as well, and we need to do that. I know T-Lue will have a great game plan for us, and it's our job as players to go out there and do it at a very high level.

Q. Kind of branching off of that, it seems like in the third quarter that's really where they have created their separation. Is that more or less because of not taking care of the ball, or is that just something that you guys can't try to avoid?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, the importance of the third quarter definitely has to be a main focus of ours, especially if we have any chance in the game. Because the last two, three quarters they have come out and jumped on us and done it in a very significant way. So whether that be a quick foul or a quick 3-pointer and it gives them that confidence in order to spread out this lead and we allow them to feel comfortable, then it can happen like that. And it could change in a matter of freakin' 30 seconds with this team. So this is an important test for us, and we need to be as prepared as we can be. And we will. You just get excited thinking about it, because we know we can play better.

Q. For you individually, just from the tip, do you think it's going to benefit you most by just getting the ball in your hands early, kind of how it worked for Kevin, to get him going early, just putting the ball in your hands and you getting to your offensive flow like right away?
KYRIE IRVING: Whether I have the ball in my hands or not, an impact needs to be made on the game. And that's where that stands.

Q. The preparation, you guys have obviously prepared for these guys. You've played them, it's well written, over the last two years. Has anything in the last eight quarters surprised you?
KYRIE IRVING: No, nothing's really surprised me. When you're out there and they're going at a high tempo, you're definitely like, okay, those -- that week that we just had did nothing for us. That week did nothing for us. And as much as you want to work on going through their plays and their splits and their actions, there's nothing that can imitate Kevin Durant popping behind the three-pointer and shooting a tough shot that you've contested or Steph coming off a pin-down and guys setting good screens.

So we use Game 1 and 2. We got our asses kicked, and now we are here at Game 3 and we have a challenge in front of us.

Q. The Finals have been a great platform for Tristan Thompson the last couple years. What can he deliver to help change some of the momentum in Game 3, for example?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, of course a lot's going to be made he hasn't played as well as he would like to, but his greatness comes at the energy and attitude that he brings and the effort that he brings. We need a lot of that from him, and some. And he can deliver that for us, and he will.

So like I said in the beginning, I'll exude as much confidence in my guys as much as I need in order to get what I need out of them. And especially for us to be successful as a team, we need him to be who he is, and some.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297