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May 13, 2018

Steve Kerr

Houston, Texas: Practice Day

Q. In the first round you were coaching against Gregg Popovich, someone you played for. The second round it was Alvin Genry, someone who used to be on your staff. Now you're facing Mike D'Antoni, someone you knew from your Suns days. Is it a small, surreal world when it comes to connections?
STEVE KERR: The NBA is a small world. It really is kind of a fraternity and you get to know everybody, some people better than others. It just seems like in this playoff run, I'm coaching against guys I know pretty well. But we all know each other. It's just kind of a random thing this time.

But as you go through the NBA and you coach or you play or whatever, it does feel like a small circle. You kind of get to know everyone.

Q. What dynamic does that add to the competition?
STEVE KERR: None. I coach my team, and Mike coaches his. I think I can say with genuine honesty we're all happy for each other's success. We all would much rather win than lose. But you go out and compete, and whatever happens, happens.

Q. Is it more of a potential center series for you guys because they have a center who will play more than in the Pelican series?
STEVE KERR: The way the league has played now, it seems like more and more teams are going small. It's harder and harder to play traditional centers. But, yeah, they play [Clint] Capela, they play Nene, so we can play some of our bigs. But every game is a little different. You just kind of get a feel for it and do what you think is right.

Q. How tough has that been for this postseason with how many centers you have?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it's kind of the way it's shaken out. It's tough for the guys who play center. But I think for us as coaches, we just do whatever we think is right. The good thing is especially when you get to the playoffs, it's not like players are complaining because they're not playing. Everybody's just here to win, and everybody accepts their roles and you just go.

Q. What do you think of having such a long stretch in between series?
STEVE KERR: It's not really that long, really, compared to what we've seen in the past. We've had nine-day stretches several times the last few years. So this is a six-day gap. It's actually been kind of nice. A couple days to recover for the guys who played a lot of minutes in the New Orleans series, and then a good four days to prepare. I haven't minded it at all.

Q. You talked about how hard it is to go postseason after postseason after postseason. You wanted to rest your guys and you did rest your guys, presumably for a series like this. What kind of shape do you think you're in mentally and physically going into this?
STEVE KERR: I think we're in excellent shape mentally. This is the most dialed in we've been all year. You can just feel it in practice, and you can see it in the guys' faces. Physically, other than Patrick McCaw's injury, we're in good shape. The guys who are playing heavy minutes for us all feel pretty good, and they're all ready to go.

Q. Was there ever any concern that wouldn't be able to get dialed in like this?
STEVE KERR: My only concern was the last several weeks of the regular season, our defense was really bad. Defense is hard to turn on. Offense is a little easier to turn on. Fortunately our guys picked it up right from Game 1 against San Antonio defensively. We looked like ourselves as a result, because that's what everything's based on for us, is our defense. Getting stops, letting our guys get out in transition.

Q. When you think of all the teams that you have beaten or faced in your term as Warriors coach, where did this Houston Rockets team stack up as a playoff opponent?
STEVE KERR: I haven't really given that any thought. I know we've played some great teams. They're right there at the top. They won 65 games for a reason. They're loaded. They're well-coached. They have a great format the way they play. They make it very difficult for you to guard. They are much better defensively than they've been in the past too. It's an excellent team.

I don't know how they stack up with all those other teams. I don't even remember any of those other teams. Just the Rockets right now.

Q. Is this Game 1 more pivotal than other Game 1s you've been a part of? Feels like a potential swing of the series?
STEVE KERR: It's different. Because we've never been on the road to start a series in the last four years, it feels different. I've been on both sides of the equation in series like this both as a player, as a coach. If you can go in and get a road win in Game 1, it changes the whole dynamics of the series.

We felt it against Oklahoma City a couple years ago. They came in and got Game 1 against us. It definitely changes the tone.

You always hear the old cliché that the series starts when the visiting team wins. If you can do that in Game 1, it truly changes the series. Obviously, that's our goal, and we'll see what happens.

Q. Earlier today Chris Paul said it was always obvious to him that at some point he was going to see you guys in the playoffs. Was there a sense of inevitability that you guys would have to go through the Rockets?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, sure. I mean, you never know. But you're watching games all regular season, and they're running away, winning 65 games, there's a pretty good chance that that's going to be the matchup. You try not to think about it too much because you've got work to take care of. Both teams have done that and now here we are.

Q. How big has Chris DeMarco been in the preparations leading up to this?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, Houston is Chris' team, and he's done a really good job getting us prepared. We've had more time the last few days to really go all in with the whole staff. But, yeah, he's done an excellent job.

Q. What dimension does Clint Capela bring that concerns you?
STEVE KERR: He runs the floor. He's really fast for a big guy. He puts a lot of pressure on you with lobs, the lob threat. Because they have all the three-point shooting around him, it changes the dynamics on the floor. So you've got to account for him and the three-point shooters and the ball handling of Chris [Paul] and James [Harden]. It's a lot of work.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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