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May 14, 2018

Steve Kerr

Houston, Texas: Game One

Q. I believe in all of your playoff experiences you were the road team only once in the last Finals, in '98?
STEVE KERR: Oh, as a player?

Q. As a player and as a coach. What do you remember about that Game 1 overtime loss to Utah? I think that was what happened?
STEVE KERR: We did lose in overtime. I remember we were coming off a seven-game series against Indiana. Didn't have a lot of time to prepare. Flew to Utah and lost a close one, and then won Game 2, then we won the championship. That's what I remember.

Q. That wasn't quite LeBron's memory.
STEVE KERR: No, not quite. I don't have that kind of recollection.

Q. I don't know if it's appropriate, but can you tell us your starting lineup?
STEVE KERR: No [laughing].

Q. With Steph Curry, are you past any minutes limit? I mean, you've said it before he kind of has a limit. Does he look like he can play the full first quarter, full third quarter?
STEVE KERR: I think it's a possibility, but it's not for sure like it was normally in the regular season. That was always our pattern, but we'll see how he's going. If he's going well, we'll keep him out there. If he looks tired, we'll take him out.

Q. Last summer Andre Iguodala considered maybe joining the Rockets and players always talk on their teams. Do you remember from your perspective how close it felt like at one point you could lose him? And then the obvious: How important was it that you guys were able to keep him?
STEVE KERR: Well, it never seemed like it was a serious deal because we knew the restrictions on what Houston could offer him. We're offering him twice as much, so that usually does the trick (laughing).

Q. How exciting is this series in terms of what the league is moving toward, switchability, three-point shooting pace? How exciting is this series between these two teams?
STEVE KERR: It's exciting for basketball fans. It's exciting for us. Those of us participating in it or coaching in it, it's great. It's exciting. They have a great team. It's a sign of what's coming. You see the same thing in Boston, Cleveland -- six, seven guys who can switch and guard multiple spots and shoot. It's definitely the future of the league.

Q. So with the success of the Hamptons Five late in the last series, should we just assume that's what you're going to roll with?
STEVE KERR: If you'd like, you can assume that. That's totally up to you.

Q. Are you as ready for this to actually start as everybody else is?
STEVE KERR: No, I like these media sessions.

Q. Even beyond that, this is something both teams have been admittedly been waiting for for a while?
STEVE KERR: No, we've all been ready for this the last few days, I think. Obviously, it's been an anticipated matchup, but you never know in the NBA. But both teams are here and both teams have had to fight hard to get here, so here it is. It's exciting. It's fun, and we'll tip it up and see what happens.

Q. You mentioned yesterday this is the most locked in mentally you've seen your team all year. Could you speak to sort of the grind that this regular season had on them? Also, maybe specifically what were some of the things you noticed where that switch kind of clicked with them?
STEVE KERR: I think we anticipated what this year was going to feel like, given that it's the fourth year in a row that we're trying to get back to The Finals, which has only been done a couple times in NBA history.

My own experience as a player in Chicago, I remember year three -- not even year four -- year three being pretty tough and a long haul and a long grind. Filled with bumps in the road.

I felt like this was coming. I think our players kind of felt it most of the season. It's a feeling of: Are we there yet? Like you say to your parents when they're driving you cross country. Are we there yet? Are we there yet? I felt like that's what my players were asking me all season.

It just takes forever because you really want to get to a destination, but you can't bypass the process. You have to stay in tune with the things that make you who you are. For us, the defensive effort down the stretch really waned over the last three or four weeks of the season.

So that was my biggest concern coming into the playoffs. But our guys turned it around right away. Game 1 against San Antonio, the first round, the defense was fantastic. That's when I knew we were going to be OK.

Q. Even as a coach before big games like this, do you get any sort of butterflies or excited, anticipatory deal?
STEVE KERR: Always, always. That's the beauty of the competition. You get to be almost 53, you don't get butterflies for that many things anymore, but the Western Conference Finals you get butterflies for.

I think that's why we're all still in it, those of us who played and competed, but can no longer compete. It's one of the reasons we coach, to get this feeling. It's a great feeling. It's nervous energy, but you're living. You're living your life, and you're with a group of people. You're trying to accomplish something great.

It's exciting and it's fun. And the great thing about sports: Somebody wins, somebody loses and nobody dies. You go play and you compete and you have fun. It's a great way to test yourself, but more than anything, it's exciting and it's fun and we're incredibly blessed to be here playing this game on this stage.

Q. Klay Thompson said yesterday he and his teammates have the appropriate fear in this series. How important is that sort of thing when you hear that in this situation?
STEVE KERR: Well, Gregg Popovich is happy to hear that. My players are using his term. I stole the term from Pop. He used to use it all the time when we'd go on the road with the Spurs. It's a great term. You don't want to be scared when you go on the floor. You want to be confident. But you need the appropriate edge, the appropriate fear that comes with respecting your opponent, respecting the situation you're in, because that brings out your best.

I think Houston will bring out our best because we've got a ton of respect for them and what they've done all year and how good they are.

Q. Mike D'Antoni said earlier he thinks Houston is the underdog in this series. Vegas actually has you guys as the underdog at least for this game. How do you view that and what do you think you guys are?
STEVE KERR: I'm taking the Warriors plus-1½ [laughing]. I read that whole story about gambling this morning, so I guess now I'm allowed to announce my picks. Stay away from Boston tomorrow. Be careful in those Game 2s.

Adam Silver on line two, about to get fined. Let's start over [laughing].

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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