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June 11, 2017

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. I know you guys just want to get this fourth win, but how motivating is it to have the chance to do it at home and in front of your fans? And I think you won rings on the road and at home, and I'm just what's the difference in the feeling?
COACH KERR: Me personally?

Q. You personally.
COACH KERR: Equally as satisfying. Doesn't matter where you win it. You just want to win it. Coming into this series in every series we play, first round, second, Finals, whatever, you want to do exactly what we have done, win the first two and get a split.

So we're right where we want to be. Disappointed that we didn't play better the other night, but aware that we are playing a great team. And they were desperate, and they outplayed us. So we're where we need to be. We would love to take care of business. We're planning on playing a lot better tomorrow, and we'll see what happens.

Q. What do you think it means to Draymond to have another chance to sort of right what happened last year?
COACH KERR: Draymond doesn't look back much. I just think he's excited to be in this position to have a chance to win another championship. And it would be his second, and to do it against a great team would be special. But you just want to do it. You just want to get it done. All the other stuff doesn't really matter.

Q. He says he never says anything he doesn't mean. He means everything he says. Do you believe that?
COACH KERR: Yeah, pretty much.

Q. The Kyrie Irving from the last two games and the Kyrie Irving from the first two games, what's been the biggest difference, and does it go beyond just making shots?
COACH KERR: You would have to ask him. Our defense was better first two games, but sometimes it's just whether the shot goes in or not. He was brilliant the last two games, brilliant. And we got to do a little better job on him. But there's only so much you can do against certain guys. So we'll try our best to make things a little tougher on him, with full awareness that he may go for 40 again. Who knows.

Q. Obviously first loss in a long time the other night. How hard or easy is it for you as the coach to say, okay, now we change everything, or is it pretty easy for you to say, well, go with what we have done?
COACH KERR: It doesn't make any difference. Like if we were 15-6 right now instead of 15-1, we would be thinking the exact same way. You take each game, you make your adjustment, you figure out what you can do better, and you do it.

We have a versatile team. We have a lot of guys who play, so we are comfortable making a couple tweaks here or there, rotation change, stuff like that. We may do some of that, but I always say the biggest adjustment in the Playoffs that you make is always an emotional one. You can tweak some things, but are we going to play hard? Are we going to get after it and compete? Or are we going to do what we did the other night, which is allow three-point shooters to get open, get broken down at the point of attack, give up offensive boards. That's up to us. That's nothing strategic, that's more competitive-wise.

Q. Did you see that, the -- not the passion maybe or urgency right from the beginning of the last game?
COACH KERR: Yeah, from the very first play I saw it.

Q. We have only seen 17 minutes for the lineup with Draymond at center and Andre Iguodala. How come we haven't seen as much of that? I know there's been foul trouble with Draymond. And can we expect to see more of that going forward?
COACH KERR: Every game is different. If we don't have to go to that lineup, we don't need to. If we're winning and we want to stay big in order to handle the rebounding with Thompson, maybe we'll stay with Zaza. If we're down and we feel like we need to speed the pace up, maybe we'll do that. But every game is unique to its own circumstances and we just adapt accordingly.

Q. Do you feel like there's a downside to going to that lineup earlier, even if the game is not getting out of hand?
COACH KERR: Not necessarily. We were playing so poorly it didn't matter who we had out there. For the reasons I just listed. We weren't boxing out, we weren't defending the point of attack, our screen and roll defense was bad, letting all the shooters get open, offensive boards.

So in that case it doesn't matter who is out there. But, again, if the circumstances dictate it, we'll play that lineup longer. It's not a lineup I've played for more than 16, 18 minutes in any game, I would say, over the last few years. Maybe two years ago in The Finals we played Andre a little bit longer, but even that game we went big with David [Lee] and Festus Ezeli. So it's not easy playing small for 40 minutes, especially against a good rebounding team.

Q. We have seen Durant be pretty forceful in the way he's played in this series. When you've got as many weapons as you do, how much of how a game progresses is about what you plan for, how much is it just about the players taking the moment themselves, how much of just of it kind of evolves naturally?
COACH KERR: It's always a combination. We can do some better things offensively, put our guys in better positions, but the players have to compete and make plays. It's all about the players, and our job as coaches is to pick a few things that we see and maybe make a play call here or there or change a rotation here or there. But ultimately it's about competing and letting the talent take over.

Q. But when you've added a guy like Durant, is there a temptation to say this is why he's here, let's make sure we take full of every --
COACH KERR: I didn't hear you.

Q. The fact that when you've added Durant to your group, though, that's the advantage that you wanted different than a year ago, so is there any effort to say, look, this is something we have to exploit to the hilt?
COACH KERR: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. There's -- we have a whole different set of weapons that we can go to. So do we get him the ball more, do we get him the ball in a different place? He's already doing pretty well. How can we exploit him in other ways, put him on one side and attack the other side of the floor, create a switch? I mean, those are all things that we talk about, and we have to figure that out.

Q. Kevin was just up here and said that on some of the threes you could have made a sandwich by the time you got to the shooters. How do you get to those guys a little bit faster, just to keep them from getting quite such a good look?
COACH KERR: Well, it all starts on the ball. If you get broken down at the point of attack, now you have to help and now the dominoes start falling and they're swinging the ball side to side, and they got shooters everywhere. So our on-ball defense has to be better, our pick-and-roll defense has to be better.

Q. Is it even possible to overstate how much more of a luxury it is as a coach to have for a Game 5 of the NBA Finals in your toolbox Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, compared to last year?
COACH KERR: Totally different situation. Different team. They're a different team also. We're in a much better position this year. We're healthy, we got Kevin Durant. That's a good thing. But they're better too. They're a better team too.

We have to bring it. We got to go take this game and do it with efficiency and competitive defense and alertness and awareness for 48 minutes. We didn't have any of that in Game 4.

Q. Stephen Curry's getting double teamed a lot particularly coming off screens, getting double teamed without the ball. How do you combat that? They obviously do it a lot.
COACH KERR: Yeah, yeah, they did a good job on him in Game 4. We ran a lot of on-ball stuff in the first half, we ran a lot of off-ball stuff in the second half.

Hardest thing is playing from behind. No matter what, it's difficult. We were down 20 right away in the first quarter. And so playing from behind is a difficult proposition, and you start searching for some things. And we were scattered the rest of the game. But there's some things we can do to free him up, and we'll try that tomorrow.

Q. The other part, getting back to the three-point defense, is this a much better three-point shooting team in the Cavs this year?
COACH KERR: Yeah. They were good last year, too, but this year's team, obviously adding Korver was a big deal. Two years ago -- it was funny watching The Finals from two years ago. It's like a different game. I didn't even recognize Cleveland. LeBron was posting up every play. The game was played in a tiny little circumference. They have changed so much over the last two years. It started last year, and they have even evolved further this year. They spread you out like nobody else.

Q. You have said in the past that after a loss it's easier to coach after you lose a game. Does that still apply this deep into the post-season, and what are some of the things that you saw on video and what was the tone of the reaction of what you did see?
COACH KERR: Yeah, it's easier as a staff to see weaknesses when you're watching a loss. You see the forest through the trees when you lose. When you win, it glosses over some things.

So we saw a lot of things on tape. Most of the stuff I already mentioned. Not boxing out, not handling one-on-one defense very well, a lot of breakdowns communication-wise. You see all that stuff. And then it's a lot easier for the team to look at it on film, and you go over your game plan, you remind them of what you're trying to do, and you go from there.

Q. You guys ask a lot out of Klay defensively. How would you assess how he's done against Kyrie? They have been primarily matched up against each other, and then his mentality, he so rarely shows emotion, can that help him against a guy like that?
COACH KERR: Yeah, Klay's perfect for that. One of our coaches said he's like the yellow lab who just keeps chasing the ball like all day. He doesn't think, he just chases Kyrie all day. And then he gets an open shot and he just shoots all day. That's Klay. That's perfect. I think he's been brilliant. But Kyrie has been amazing and he's hitting a lot of tough shots.

Q. Good offense -- good offense and good defense sometimes kind of counter each other out, right?
COACH KERR: Yeah, yeah, you just tip your hat. There was some breakdowns, and we could have used more help in certain cases, but mostly you just tip your hat and you go, all right, good shot.

Q. In terms of setting the tone physically, do you automatically look to Zaza and Tristan in that matchup to sort of be the tone setter?
COACH KERR: It's a big part of it. Just boxing out. We didn't do as good a job boxing out Thompson last game, and he played a really good game, made a big impact. So it's one of the reasons we Love Zaza. He's a very physical player, not afraid to mix it up. And that's an important component tomorrow, is getting a body on Thompson early.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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