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May 14, 2018

Steve Kerr

Houston, Texas: Game One

Warriors - 119, Rockets - 106

Q. Steve, you start the lineup that you did, the best five?
STEVE KERR: The Hamptons Five.

Q. That's what I understand is their name, yes. How badly did you feel you had to win this game? How many chips did you push in to win this game?
STEVE KERR: Well, we felt it was important to get off to a good start. That's why we made the decision to start Andre [Iguodala]. We had good momentum from the last series, and the matchups were good. We got to switch and everybody's got to be able to guard on the perimeter, and Andre's one of our best defenders obviously. We just decided to start that way to try to get off to a good start, and we actually didn't.

We got off to a slow start. But we hung in there. It's a long game, 48 minutes. So I was proud of the way our guys kind of hung in there after that first blow that we took and got right back in the game.

Q. Draymond Green gets the technical early on. He ends up having two points in the first half, and he finishes the game with the highest plus-minus. Was there anything that you might have said to him or anything anybody said to him that made him adjust in anyway?
STEVE KERR: No, Draymond is one of the most competitive people on the planet. I thought early in the game he was so fired up that it just got away from him a little bit. Once he settled in, I thought he was tremendous. His defense was amazing. He controlled the game, I thought, in many ways. He's just an amazing player.

It's hard to describe what he does. He's a perfect modern-day NBA player. He guards everybody, he rebounds, passes, makes plays. He obviously brings the energy and competitiveness that can drive a team. So I thought Draymond was awesome.

Q. Kevin Durant looked just like you out there, didn't he?
STEVE KERR: Like me?

Q. Yeah, like when you were playing.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, yeah, we're very similar players, yeah.

Q. When he's in a groove like that, are you just saying, hey, let's feed him the ball, or is it a feel thing still, motion offense?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, you know how we play. We want to keep the ball moving. But obviously Kevin is the ultimate luxury because a play can break down and you just throw him the ball. He can get you a bucket as well as anybody on Earth.

This is why anybody would want him on their team. You think about a couple years ago, and we're in The Finals and we couldn't quite get over the hump. Kevin is the guy that puts you over the hump. I don't know what you do to guard him. He can get any shot he wants.

Q. What do you think was the key for the guys to be able to withstand all of the elements with just Houston being who they are, the start they got, and obviously being on the road?
STEVE KERR: I think just our guys have been here before. This is our fourth straight Conference Finals, and first one that we've started on the road, but our guys have a lot of experience and they've felt this. They relish it, and I think they took the challenge tonight and played awfully well.

Q. There were a couple times they were able to maybe cut a 10-point lead to five, three, you guys were able to push it back, and a lot of that was set up by your defense. How much did you see your defense play a part, especially creating the Rockets turnovers, 13? Mike D'Antoni said they could live with KD scoring, but not those turnovers.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I think when you get this deep in the playoffs, it's all about defense. You have to be a great defensive team to win a championship. You just have to be. Year in and year out, it's the top defensive teams who go deep. When you get to this level, you know you're playing against great offensive players like Chris Paul and James Harden. So this was all about the defense, and it has to be all about the defense the whole series.

Q. How'd you feel that Steph attacked in the first half, particularly? How did you feel he looked?
STEVE KERR: I thought Steph was good. I thought he was very patient. I think that's important. He only had one turnover in the game. He had eight assists. I thought he managed the game really well. I think his best is still to come. That's what's encouraging.

He played 35 minutes. He made some big plays for us. But I think he's going to get even better as the series goes on, which is exciting for us. He's still in the first stages of his comeback from his injury, so I think he's just kind of measured and doing what he knows he has to do, and we'll go from here.

Q. You praised Draymond Green all throughout the playoffs for only having gotten one technical foul headed into this series. Considering he got a technical foul in the first 67 seconds of this game, are you going to have to talk to him a little bit about being mindful of that this series?
STEVE KERR: No. Draymond knows what he's doing. He's going to be fine.

Q. Kevon Looney came in early for Iguodala and played well on those switches against Harden. Those first two possessions he had forced those 24-second violations. How well did you think he played on switchwise defensively?
STEVE KERR: I thought Looney was great. That's what this league has become. You've got to have big guys that can switch and defend. When you play Houston, that's kind of the name of the game. They're going to put everybody in pick-and-roll and play iso and play one-on-one. You've got to have a lot of guys who can guard. Thankfully we do, and Looney is one of them.

Q. Klay was pretty much on fire to the point where he even put a three-point gesture to the crowd. But how did you feel about his performance overall? How much of a bonus is it when he's on fire like that?
STEVE KERR: Klay is a machine. He just comes to work every night and defends and makes shots and moves without the ball. He's a great basketball player. Great two-way player. In this series, he's got just a huge responsibility guarding Chris Paul, James Harden, whoever, and still making shots at the other end. But that's what Klay's been doing for us for years.

Q. Nick Young got some big minutes, made some big shots in the first half. Did you expect those minutes from him? How much did that evolve as the game went on? How much of that was based on pretty good performances by him against the Rockets?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, Nick played really well against Houston during the three games we played in the regular season. It seemed like he found a lot of open shots against them, and obviously if he's making shots, then it relieves a lot of pressure off of our main guys who are handling the ball.

So I thought Nick's minutes were important for us. He did a great job. He's a good matchup defensively. He's got size and strength. Like I said, I thought he came in and really gave us a big boost.

Q. You guys got a bunch of wide-open threes in transition. How much of it, especially against this team, is telling your guys push it quick in transition, not only after turnovers, but it seems like when they missed layups at the rim, you got advantageous breaks the other way?
STEVE KERR: I think we have to push the ball in transition. Because made or missed, if we can push it and not let their defense get set up, that's important for us. They have a great defense. They really got better this year defensively.

When they can go to the line and slow the game down, and we're playing in the half court, it becomes a tougher game for us. So if we can get stops or even after made baskets, we want to push it ahead and try to get some early offense.

Q. Kevin Durant played 40 minutes tonight, but it looked like he wasn't happy, and he wanted to play 48 minutes. What did you hear from him in the third quarter? What did you see about his competitive spirit? He mixed it up with Paul at a sideline play early in the game?
STEVE KERR: Kevin's never happy when he comes out of the game. No matter when I take him out. Even in the preseason, he's upset if I take him out.

Yeah, he wasn't really thrilled, and I probably should have left him in. Late third he was going pretty well. I knew I had to get him some rest at some point. As soon as I took him out, they went on a quick run, so he was not thrilled. But he came back in and got us on track again.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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