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June 8, 2017

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. We spoke to LeBron earlier, and your step-back three with 25 seconds left, he just shared that after the game you were, I don't know, beating yourself up over it or kind of dwelling on it a little bit, I don't know, that you've had a night to reflect on it, what did you think of that possession, how it went?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, it was like a natural shock how that game ended. Naturally you want to blame yourself, because you feel just awful because it didn't go in. So it necessarily wasn't the right decision and you have so many other options and you start replaying that play over and over. For me, it's a comfortable shot.

But then you also understand the energy level that it takes in order to make that type of shot and what it demands out of your body. I just didn't give it enough. It was on line. It felt good coming out of my hands, but even for a tough step-back like that, it demands more out of my body and out of the focus, and it wasn't there for me. That was just very disappointing.

When it's a do-or-die game like Game 3, you want to make that play. Not only for your team, but just for your confidence. I'm always constantly unwavering with my confidence, but that's the type of shot you want to nail.

After the game, it hurt. You feel like you let your teammates down because you didn't necessarily make the right decision. It didn't go in. So, yeah.

Q. What you and LeBron did as a duo was crazy. Have you thought about what it's exactly going to take? Like seemed like you guys gave it all and did what you could do. What more can it take to get one?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, we definitely been beating on that door throughout spans of games of rattling them a little bit and making them uncomfortable. We raised up our physicality, especially in Game 3, limiting them to some of the things that they were capitalizing off of between Game 1 and 2.

And then Game 3, as we watched film, there are still things that we can correct that would make it a lot easier to create a separation that we need in order to propel us to a win.

But one thing about that team that you can't necessarily prepare for is how they keep coming. They keep coming at all times. Whether it be a three-pointer that is out in transition or an off-leg shot or something like that that doesn't look necessarily comfortable, you have to realize that all those guys in that locker room are capable of making those type of shots.

We witnessed a closing game by Kevin Durant that you can't prepare for. It's just big-time play, big-time plays after big-time plays that he was making. He was comfortable, and we tried to make it as uncomfortable as possible.

But this is a make-or-miss league, and we understand that, because if that three that he pulls in transition goes the other way, then the whole conversation could be different. But he nails a big-time shot like that.

He was gutsy enough to take it, and it created what they needed.

You give credit where credit is due. But as we prepare for Game 4, we know there are some things that we can get better at and correct and make them feel a little bit more uncomfortable.

Q. You mentioned the physical challenge of that, the emotional weight of the moment yesterday. With the quick turnaround for Game 4, how do you sort of get cranked back up to the level that you need to be at to compete against this team and this situation?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, from a physical standpoint, you just try to do everything possible to recover. But from a mental standpoint, there is no other option, other than to prepare for Game 4 as best you can. That's it. This is as much as it was for all the games. This is as do or die as possible as I've ever faced in my career.

So we understand what's at stake, our whole entire season. There's really no other decision, other than to leave it all out there.

Q. But after as difficult an ending as there was last night, does that increase the level of difficulty in getting back to that level, or does it make it easier that you have the quick turnaround?
KYRIE IRVING: You just can't let the emotions linger on, as best you can. Like I said, there's no other choice. There's no other choice.

Q. You talked about the challenges, obviously, that the firepower the Warriors have present. I know usually players will say that as long as their team takes care of their own business they will be fine, but when a team has that much talent, do you almost need them to at least play somewhat below their capabilities for them to be beatable?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, part of that we can control. But like I said, some of those things that you can't necessarily prepare for, of having some special players that make some special plays.

But, yeah, it definitely does matter in terms of controlling the things that we can control and doing it at a high level. We understand the team that we're playing against, but at the end of the day what really matters is how together we are as a team and how we respond.

Q. You've had some pretty memorable one-on-one stances with Klay. The Christmas Day turnaround, even last night with the baseline runner with the and-one. Do those moves you pull on him in those instances, does that play a role into your decision like at the end of the game where you did do -- where you did end up taking the step back just to show him something different that he might have telegraphed from an earlier matchup?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, in those moments, you have to be very definitive in your decision-making because he'll capitalize on a lot of the things if you're second-guessing or if my foot placement isn't right or if I don't give him a good enough move to create space. He does a great job of eating up that space.

So as I'm looking at the score, and we're coming down and we have a chance to get a score, that probably would be the hardest decision that I would probably have to necessarily swallow with my pride, because looking back on it, I did have a lane, going to the basket. But in the back of my mind I'm thinking that a three will create that separation and we put the pressure back on them.

So I wouldn't change the decision. But at the same time I know, if I'm ever in that moment again, how much I need in order for that basket to go in.

Q. You talked about Kevin's guts taking that last shot. I mean, one of the things about your game certainly is your guts to make and take tough shots that no one else would attempt, the creativity in your game. When you're facing an opponent in which every mistake that you make, whether mental or physical, they make you pay, how do you play with the same creativity and guts in that situation?
KYRIE IRVING: By just tunneling in some grit and understanding that belief that you have in yourself and your teammates and your coaching staff; that regardless of how big the moment is, I mean, you have to trust everything that you've worked on and everything you've put into this game. It may not always come out as a success, but most people will never even think about taking that shot, because they would concede to being fearful of those moments. Some moments are disappointing. Some moments are just exuberant; they're just awesome. But you have to be able to live with both and you have to be able to live with those decisions.

So the creativity and having that confidence, it's unwavering, man, forever. It can't change. But if you do get on a disappointing end, then how you respond and how you are in those next moments will really dictate who you are.

So I try to keep that same mindset going forward -- that if I stay who I am and stay true to who I am, then everything will work out.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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