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June 8, 2017

Steve Kerr

Cleveland, Ohio: Practice Day

Q. Steph has 29 rebounds in three games. Just how big has his rebounding from the guard position been and just how good has he been in this series?
COACH KERR: Yeah, we really are a team-rebounding group. We're not the biggest team. I think Zaza's done a good job of getting a body on Tristan, and then that's allowing other people to come in and get boards. And Steph's always had a really good knack for long rebounds, coming over the top.

As long as we're hitting bodies and keeping people off the glass, then that allows him and others to swoop in and kind of get those long boards.

Q. Just Steph's series overall, defensively, rebounding floor game, only one turnover last night. How good is that?
COACH KERR: Just great. He just looks so much healthier than last year -- stronger, faster, quicker. All the times they're putting him in screen-and-rolls, trying to wear him down, he's handled that really well. It's not always going to work, but he's working hard and staying really active.

Q. I know all year you've been saying that K.D. is maybe even better than you thought he was, but now that you're seeing him in these high-pressure games, and particularly last night, how much better is he than you expected him to be?
COACH KERR: We knew how good he was, but just how clutch he's been, how many big shots he's hit for us. I think I said it last night, it just looks like he understands this is his moment, this is his time. He's earned it. He's been in this league for a long time, and he's, I think, at the top of his game at the biggest time.

Q. Your three years when the Bulls won, the best postseason they had was '96, they went 15-3. Does that help you give a sense of sort of how hard it is to be where you are now at 15-0?
COACH KERR: Yeah, I remember that well. We were up 3-0 The Finals, too, and then we lost the next two games in Seattle. It's hard. In the Playoffs, every team is good. Particularly as you go deeper, it gets tougher and tougher.

So what this team has accomplished is remarkable. And we have had some good fortune, too. We have stayed healthy, knock on wood. Every year's different, and we know that, but so far things have gone our way. Our guys have really played well and competed at a high level.

Q. That '96 Bulls team, like you said, you only lost one until the very end. Was there a sense at that time of how difficult and special that was, as good as you were, to not stumble really much at all?
COACH KERR: You don't really stop and think about it until after. I think we swept Orlando in the Conference Finals, which was probably the biggest accomplishment, because that was a loaded team. Shaq and Penny, and we took care of business. And then went up 3-0 in The Finals, had a little bit of a letdown. That was a great team, too, with Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, Hersey Hawkins, that group.

But in the end you just want to win. The other stuff doesn't really matter. People can talk about it in historical context, but you just get it done, win the series and let everybody else talk.

Q. I don't know how big a football fan you are, but round numbers, they tend to stick in people's minds, you got Miami Dolphins are the only undefeated team in the NFL, went on to win the Super Bowl, et cetera. Would it be at least a bonus for this group to have something like that besides their championship, an undefeated post-season?
COACH KERR: Not something I'm thinking about or any of us are thinking about. It's just win. Let's go win, and then we can savor a championship however we want. But you guys can talk about it and write about it.

I am a big football fan, by the way. And I always love when Mercury Morris celebrates when the other team that's undefeated finally loses. That's one of my favorite moments of the NFL season.

Q. You could have 40 years of that if you go --
COACH KERR: Wouldn't that be awesome? That would be great.

Q. Going back to the meeting in The Hamptons, we have talked about it endlessly, but when you made your pitch to Kevin, was it like this? Did you say, this is what it could be like? What was your -- kind of the text of your pitch to him?
COACH KERR: I think the whole thing was how fun it would be, because of the style of play, because of the individual talents. None of these guys are ball-dominant players. They all love playing off the ball, cutting, moving, passing. And it fits. They fit like a hand in a glove.

That was the pitch, was just look how good we could be and look how natural the fit would be. There really wasn't a lot we had to try to generate. It was just, hey, you guys are all basketball players, you all move, you all pass, you all shoot. That's a pretty fun way to play.

Q. And I know Jerry [West] wasn't there, but he did talk to Kevin on the phone afterward. How important do you think West was to just that, to the overall picture, and are you concerned that he might be leaving the franchise this summer?
COACH KERR: Jerry was very important in that whole sequence. He had a good conversation with Kevin while it was going on. I haven't given any thought to the other side. We're focused on The Finals. Whatever Jerry wants to do, that's what I want him to do. I want him to be happy. He's made a huge impact on our organization. He's a great mentor for me. I've talked to him once a month all year, all three years. We'll see what he does.

Q. This team has this postseason attacked close-out games with like a singular ferocity. Every game started off and you could see it, how bad they wanted it. What do you think is behind that in the Game 4's you've seen so far through the post-season?
COACH KERR: I think it's just natural. You want to get it done. You don't want to mess around. You're up 3-0, you have all the momentum, you have to carry that through.

Q. When you got a talent like Durant, how much does it like unlock his game? We already knew he was good, he's been in the league awhile. How much does it unlock his game playing with other players who are also really good?
COACH KERR: Same for any player, great player, role player -- you're better the better your teammates are. That's the beauty of the game. That's what makes our team special. It's not just Steph and K.D.; it's Livingston, Iguodala, Draymond. It's the number of playmakers. I say it all the time, guys just make it easier on each other.

That's the beauty of Cleveland's team; they complement each other. The best teams obviously have the best players, but they complement one another well. I think our team complements each other beautifully.

Q. Have you seen Durant's game grow? Do you feel like he's gotten better?
COACH KERR: Yeah, yeah. I think that he has grown in terms of his ability to play with the other four guys, with our movement and our spacing and our flow. Over the course of the year, he's gotten better and better with that. Just understanding when to cut, when to screen, when to come off a screen, and instead of just being on the ball and making a play, making a play without the ball. That's a big part of what we do.

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