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April 14, 2018

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California: Game One

Game 1

Warriors 113, Spurs 92

Q. Of all the good things to like from this game, what do you think helped set the tone overall?
STEVE KEFF: Just our defense. We finally got back to defending the way we have, the way this team has, for many years, even before I got here. You know, they were one of the top five defensive teams in the league. So you have to be able to count on that foundation, and I thought our defense was great, and that set the tone.

Q. Regarding Klay, obviously he's always been a good shooter, but what's kind of the art and science of being able to be so prolific when you don't have the ball that much in your hands?
STEVE KERR: Well, Klay is big and strong and never gets tired and he works off the ball as well as anybody in the league, and guy is a tremendous shooter. It's a good combination when you have that kind of stroke and that size and strength, as well.

Q. What went into the decision to start Iguodala over Cook and how do you think that impacted the start for you guys?
STEVE KERR: Just wanted to put our best defensive lineup on the floor from the beginning. I think the whole point of these games here early in this series is to reestablish our defense. I think you guys know, over the last month or so, our defense has been sub-par.

So can't win in this league in the playoffs unless you defend, and they defended tonight and we went with our best defensive group.

Q. What did you think of what JaVale was able to give you, and do you see yourself keeping him in that starting lineup going forward?
STEVE KERR: Probably. He was great. JaVale was great. He's got obviously a lot of length and shot-blocking ability and mobility. I like his speed. So he was great. Yeah, there's no reason to take him out.

Q. Doubling back on what you said about André, he's given you great performances over the years. What keeps you having the confidence and putting him in these situations in the playoffs?
STEVE KERR: You mean other than the fact that he was a finals MVP a couple years ago?

Q. Yes.
STEVE KERR: There's that. There's the Olympics. There's multiple rings, All-Star. He's a great player.

Q. You also cut down the rotations a little bit, basically the nine, had Nick Young out of it. What was the thinking there? Was that partly the defensive mentality, also? What was the rotation?
STEVE KERR: It's just, you know, playoffs, generally speaking, you cut down a little bit. We had some combinations that we wanted to get to and you know, that was Game 1 and things change in the playoffs. We all know that.

I thought Nick did a good job down the stretch helping us close a game. We need those minutes. We're so thin on the wing that we have to have guys eat up some minutes, and I thought he did that for us. But there's going to be moments where he's going to play a more important role at some point during the playoffs. We know that.

But for now, this was the lineup that we decided to go with.

Q. There are times when both Andre and also JaVale came off, looked like they were shaken up different times of the game. Where do they stand? Are they okay? What do you know about their status?
STEVE KERR: I think JaVale is fine. I think Andre got a knee in the quad which is very painful and it was good that we didn't have to put him back in the game down the stretch, and obviously he'll get treatment and try to get better.

Q. You told us that you had a team meeting after Curry went down with his first ankle injury of the season about honing in on defense and putting defense first. Was there a similar such discussion before the playoffs began?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it's called playoff preparation. We had two days to prepare and that's the message. You've got to defend. You give them a few tips, things we might want to do, but ultimately comes down to players competing and bringing the effort and they brought it tonight. It was a different level of play than what we've seen from the past month, which I expected. But now we've got to keep doing it. You know, that's the thing.

One game I remember last year, Houston beat the Spurs by 30 in San Antonio in Game 1. The Spurs went and beat them four out of the next five. It's one game. That's all.

Q. The ball was going through Kevin Durant for much of the game. How much is that total going away from the system that you use with Curry?
STEVE KERR: Well, we are a little different when Steph's out obviously. Kevin has the ball in his hands a lot more. It's not rocket science. He's Kevin Durant, so we're going to give him the ball a lot.

Q. You just pointed out that Game 1 wins don't mean everything, but did you feel a certain sense of urgency, given how the team had been playing to make a statement and do you think the team felt that, too?
STEVE KERR: I thought it was important to reestablish our defense, one way or the other; win or lose, like we had to bring the effort at the defensive end because that's the only way you can have success in the playoffs. And that's the reason this is a championship team.

Those guys getting all the credit for shooting their shots and scoring points, that's where the glory ends up, but it's a defense that has been the key for this team for years. It was important to reestablish that. I thought we did that but again we've got to do it again and again and again.

Q. I think you forced a shot clock right away, maybe third possession of the game. Could you tell within the first few minutes what it was going to be like?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, yeah. You could feel the intensity right from the start and the length of our guys out there with Andre and clay in the backcourt and when everybody is active with that kind of ability and speed, it can be effective as it was early in the game and set a good tone.

Q. Getting back to gentleman vail, it seems in hero that Aldridge could be a tough matchup for him. He's so crafty. He gets guys in the air pretty well. How do you explain how effective gentleman vail has been against him, not just tonight but some other games, too?
STEVE KERR: He's incredibly tall and quick off his feet. Go play a pick-up game; it's hard to play against guys that are really tall, it just is. They challenge the shots better and LaMarcus is I think the best low post scorer now that we have in the game and he's a tremendous shooter, and we just want to be able to challenge those shots, knowing that he's going to make a lot of them but I think JaVale was able to challenge some of them and make it difficult.

Q. Cook came out and was aggressive right away. Hit that jumper pretty early on. Were you happy to see that aggression and what did you make of his debut?
STEVE KERR: Quinn was great. I thought he played a really good game. We want him scoring. We need that. He's one of our best shooters and without Steph, we're going to need those minutes from him. Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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