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June 9, 2017

Kyrie Irving

Cleveland, Ohio: Postgame

Cavaliers - 137, Warriors - 116

Q. In the last four games, you got your best performance tonight. Is it because you are faced with much more pressure which kind of stimulated you?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, the magnitude of the games, especially the last game, it hit me in a very deep place. Just you want to play extremely well and you understand that's a do-or-die game in Game 3. You know, you hear some chatter going on throughout the Warriors locker room in terms of them trying to end it here. And it was another do-or-die game for us, and we had to leave it all out there.

I was quoted in saying that there was no other option, and that was completely true. And that still stands. We still have to go up there, Game 5, which is going to be unbelievable, unbelievable atmosphere. We know they're going to come out with a hit-first mentality, but we got to hit them first.

And we're relishing the challenge and welcome all challenges that we'll be faced with throughout the game. Glad that we got the monkey off our back in terms of just getting one win in this series in terms of going against this great team. But you don't want to ever take it for granted. We will watch film and see where we can get better.

Q. 49 points in the first quarter, a record. How was that ice bath, okay?
KYRIE IRVING: Yeah, yeah. I just got out of it again. I apologize to all you guys.

Q. But 49 in the first quarter, what was it about tonight's first quarter that was so different from the previous three?
KYRIE IRVING: Well, we slowed the game down within the realms of the way we were playing. But it was still high tempo. We got to the free throw line, we got in the bonus early, and then we got some easy free throws and some easy ones. And then you include that with our pace, it was hard for them to keep up with us tonight. It's the first time all series, but we just kept attacking, kept attacking and understood that they were never going to quit.

K.D. was just unbelievable again tonight, as well as some of their other guys. But we tried to limit them and make them feel uncomfortable, force them into some tough shots, and then push in transition.

And then one thing that was important for our success tonight was just our limit of turnovers. When we don't turn the ball over and we don't give them fast breaks, then it allows us to set up our half court defense and everyone get matched up.

We took some steps in the right direction, but we definitely took some things that we did correctly in Game 3, carried over to Game 4.

Q. We have talked about this before, adversity, you guys and adversity, doesn't get more adverse than basically having to win four Game 7s. Why do you guys thrive on that?
KYRIE IRVING: I don't know. I don't know. I wish I had a true answer for that, but every game is do or die, and we understand that. We're ready to live in it. And it was great to see Kyle as well as Deron as well as T-Thomp just throw themselves in tonight's game and understand the importance of it.

This is The Finals, man. A minute here, four minutes here, a rebound here, maybe a tech or two here, it matters. They brought it tonight. I'm super proud of those guys, of all my teammates, but more or less those guys coming in and giving us energy, and as well as R.J. coming in and playing huge. And then everybody just collectively coming together. So it was good.

Q. You mentioned the chatter coming from the Warriors. Was there anything that was said that particularly rubbed you the wrong way?
KYRIE IRVING: All of it. It's part of the game, I understand that, but we knew what we were faced with. That was what it was. But then you add, of course, some chatter in there, and that adds some extra motivation. And you give us a day in between, and we were ready to come out. Especially me, because that taste wouldn't have been the same if we would have lost tonight and they would have celebrated on our home floor. So I'll just leave that at that.

Q. Is that something that you took individually personally or something you guys were talking about amongst yourselves as a team?
KYRIE IRVING: I mean, we're in the The Finals. Everything is accessible. Social media is everywhere. I mean, social media is just -- it raises the bar, especially the attention that goes on with it. So we see everything. I'll be sitting up here lying saying that I didn't see it.

But I relish in that challenge. I know my teammates do as well. So it's been going back and forth all season, and now we're in The Finals and everything is just pinpointed. But definitely heard the chatter.

Q. You had an excellent Game 3, but you went 0-6 from three?

Q. Excuse me. And then tonight you hit seven of them. Just a sense of relief for you and just even the team just to knock down 24 threes knowing that you guys are capable of hitting all those?
KYRIE IRVING: Shot some tough ones, and happily they went in. But other guys just came in, and Kev and JR, Bron, as well as Shump and Deron and Kyle. I mean, when we're hitting threes, we're a different team. And we understand that. But when we take the threes that are in rhythm and we're getting guys to their spots and we're unselfish as we were tonight, then our three-pointers are a little bit different, and it makes the difference.

Q. Just going back to that first quarter, just the way you guys set the tone, Tristan, JR, all that, how can you ensure you bring that same kind of mentality into Golden State? Even though you said yourself that it's going to be -- there's no option, but still just actually making it happen?
KYRIE IRVING: We finally settled in, man, it was about damn time, for all of us just to really see what playing well as a group looks like against a great team like the Warriors. We understand who they have on their team and what they're about and how established they are, but I think that in those three losses we lost track of who we were at the time. We're still a special team as well. We are here for a reason. We're going against a juggernaut of a team, but we're a juggernaut of a team, too. We have some special pieces. And that belief has to not only just be in from an individual, it has to come collectively. So getting one tonight was a step in the right direction.

Q. 3-1 deficit, heading back to Oakland, do you have the Warriors right where you want them now?
KYRIE IRVING: No. No. We understand how special that team is down there. We don't knock them off of taking one loss or us getting one win. So we have to be even more locked in, even more focused. But if we come with the same mentality that we came with tonight, we'll be in a better position in Oakland.

Q. They get it down to 11 in the fourth quarter, about eight and a half minutes left. You respond with a couple of shots, three-pointer and then a floater right there, kind of push it back. Later in the game you hit the big three to push the lead over 20, kind of closing the door on them. Was that something that you sort of -- you look to yourself to take some pride in, like I'm going to be the one closing the door here, I'm going to be the one sending it back?
KYRIE IRVING: Our head coach did a -- T-Lue, he did a great job of my minutes tonight, which really helped going into the fourth quarter in terms of how I felt and the way he played me and Bron off one another in terms of when we came out. It worked, getting me two minutes before the first quarter ended, and then two minutes before the third quarter and to have my legs underneath me. And I understood that instead of being on the opposite end of keeping it within striking distance, we wanted to especially keep the lead, just to create that separation. You look at Game 3 and those last probably four minutes 30 seconds, there was some opportunities that I didn't take advantage of for us to just propel us to that win. That stuck with me and it definitely put a conscious effort to make sure that I stayed aggressive, especially in that fourth quarter down the stretch. And we had that separation in order for to us feel comfortable and then get the win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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