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May 30, 2018

J.R. Smith

Oakland, California: Practice Day

Q. How you feeling?
J.R. SMITH: Great. How about you?

Q. Good. You guys have been the underdog in The Finals all four years, and I know what you did two years ago was historic. Is this the biggest challenge you've faced in The Finals?
J.R. SMITH: I don't know. I mean, you could say that every year, and then mess around and be here next year talking about the same thing.

I don't know. I think every year we've played them has been a great opportunity. It's just a matter of us going out there and executing and playing the way we know how to play. We know it's not going to be easy, so we've just got to be mentally ready for it.

Q. This series is often characterized as the Warriors against LeBron, sort of forgetting the rest of you guys. How much offense do the rest of you guys take to that?
J.R. SMITH: I don't really take offense to it. It is what it is. I'm just here to win now. I'm not here to play for the Hall of Fame or nothing like that. I'm here to win the championship and do the best for my teammates.

Q. You guys have been typically winning when you're hitting threes and you're not winning when you're not hitting threes. You're a big part of that. Are you mentally prepared to go in and just knock down threes in this series?
J.R. SMITH: Yeah, whenever I get an opportunity to, I'm going to take my shots. My shots have been feeling good lately, so I've got a lot of confidence in it. Just got to keep shooting, no matter what it is. They're going to shoot their shots, so we're going to have to make some.

Q. What do you think of of this rivalry?
J.R. SMITH: Right now it's in their favor. They're up 2-1 on us as far as championships. Right now they're beating us. So we're down. Now we've got to catch up.

Q. Tired of seeing each other?
J.R. SMITH: No, not in The Finals, I'm not. Shoot. I could be seeing them in the summer in the Bahamas right about now, but I'm cool. I'm glad we're where we're at.

Q. How does it feel to be back at The Finals stage? Is it still special?
J.R. SMITH: Yeah, man, every time you play in The Finals it's special. You can never take opportunities like this for granted. Whether it's four straight. So many players who have played this game never got an opportunity to get to this point. So you definitely can't take it for granted.

Q. What is different this time?
J.R. SMITH: I would say both of our personnel is a little bit different. Well, ours is much different than theirs. But more than anything we're still the underdog, like you all talk about, so it's going to be an uphill battle. Not too much difference for us.

Q. If you guys have an advantage, might it be that they haven't seen you since all the changes that took place?
J.R. SMITH: If that's our advantage, I'll take it. They haven't seen us, but obviously they're still going to come out and play the way they play. That's going to be the key. Slowing them down. Trying to contest as many shots as we can, and rebound because they're also a great rebounding team. So more than anything, we're just going to be -- it's going to come down to defense and our ball movement.

Q. You've been with LeBron for years now. Are you ever surprised anymore by what he can do?
J.R. SMITH: Yes and no. Obviously he's got so many records and stuff like that or accolades, whatever you want to call it. But to go out there day in and day out see what he does, see how he performs under whatever circumstances, no matter who is out there playing, it's still special to watch.

Q. Andre Iguodala has been ruled out. How does the flow of the game change with him out?
J.R. SMITH: Obviously, he helps their team obviously defensively. He's not one of their shooters, but he's one of those guys that does so many things that doesn't show up on the stat sheet. He rebounds, takes charges, pushes the ball, finds the open man, makes the shot when he needs to.

He's a great cutter. Extremely athletic. I mean, they'll tell you they're going to miss them. Obviously we know that because he won MVP the first time we played them, so he's a big part of the team.

Q. Can you put this into perspective for someone who has been here once, let alone four times?
J.R. SMITH: Man, it's tough. Day in and day out, the grind, stay the course, keep focused. To get to this point is definitely one of the hardest things I've done. Fortunately, I get to play with some great players, so sometimes I don't have to do too much work.

Fortunately we get there and get the opportunity to play in front of our family and friends on the biggest stage -- in our eyes -- the biggest stage in sports, and just getting to go out there and leave it all out. So it's fun.

Q. Warriors were talking about how high LeBron's IQ is. Can you give us some samples of what you've seen firsthand of how high it is?
J.R. SMITH: I mean, he shows me day in and day out, whether it's knowing a play that M.J. [Michael Jordan] ran against Phoenix way back in the '90s or it's a play that he had seen yesterday. His IQ is ridiculous. He can process things extremely fast, on the move, while things are happening and in certain situations. It's pretty remarkable.

If I could sit here and pinpoint anything, more than anything I think his ability to change the play as it's happening without nobody else knowing, I think that's an extremely, extremely important talent that he has that people may not see. It's not always about him or getting the assist, it might be the hockey assist where he makes a pass and or he sees somebody else is going to rotate or whatever. His IQ is extremely high.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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