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April 28, 2019

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California: Game One

Warriors - 104, Rockets - 100

Q. [Inaudible] how did that impact the outcome of the game?
COACH KERR: Our guys competed like crazy. And so did their guys, obviously. It's just basketball at its highest level along with competition at the highest level.

So it's intense out there and both teams are just fighting for everything. And it's a great way for us to start the series because as hard as we played we didn't play that intelligently. And our guys know that and we've got some things to clean up before Game 2. But a good start.

Q. For Houston, four of their starters have 36 or more minutes, but your players 34 or more minutes, with Kevin playing 43. Were you prepared for a game like this after the turnover from Friday night?
COACH KERR: Prepared for the game?

Q. [Inaudible]?
COACH KERR: Prepared for our starters to play this many minutes. Yeah, you know, this is the playoffs. We try to pace our guys all season. But you get to the playoffs you've gotta do what you gotta do.

So I know we ran Kevin and Klay extra minutes. We gave them five, six minutes more than we usually do. But that's what you gotta do. You've got to play your best players and see what happens, and they can get rest for the next 48 hours.

Q. When did you know for sure Klay could go? And I guess you didn't have any minute restriction; he was playing 40 minutes. Was there any sense, okay, you might have to back off and when did you know you didn't have to?
COACH KERR: Rick called me last night and said that Klay had made improvement yesterday evening and he told me he was going to come in and warm up today. And after the warm-up, Rick said he's good to go. I said, is there a minutes restriction. And Rick said we'll see how it goes during the game.

So obviously Klay did fine in terms of the ankle. And I think you guys know just how competitive and how tough he is. He plays through everything. So hopefully he turns out okay tonight, tomorrow and is able to continue to heal before the next game.

Q. Steve, Harden had 35, but he did it on 9-of-28 shooting. Could you talk about what you saw defensively from your guys on him?
COACH KERR: I thought our guys did a great job. He's so hard to guard with that step-back, his ability to get to the rim. You have to do your best try not to foul him. He got 14 free throws.

But I couldn't be more happy with the effort, focus. It's a five-man game when you're guarding James. It's not about just the one guy who is on him. The other four guys have to be in the right spots to help.

And I thought our defense was excellent tonight. What hurt our defense was our turnovers. That stretch at the end of the second quarter we had a 10-point lead. Then we go into halftime tied because we had 13 turnovers. There's no defense for transition shots off of turnovers.

So that's what we've got to clean up. But other than that, we made them fight for every open look.

Q. Draymond came up with several timely offensive rebounds. How much did his energy on both ends really kind of set a tone for you guys?
COACH KERR: Draymond was fantastic. The last two games that's the guy he is. The emotion, the passion, the competitive desire, the brain -- one of the smartest defenders I've ever seen. So Draymond was a huge instrumental part of the win, no doubt.

Q. What went into the decision to start Iguodala? And did part of it have to do with changing up Klay's assignments at all because of the ankle?
COACH KERR: No, the decision to start Andre is just based on playing against Houston. You've got two of the best one-on-one and pick-and-roll players in the world in James and Chris. And Andre is one of the best defenders in the world. So that's our best lineup. We decided to start it just so we could have Andre out there defensively. And we'll probably do it again next game.

Q. You played with some of the best and against some of the best. Have you ever seen anybody have a great four-game stretch like Kevin is having?
COACH KERR: There was this guy named Michael something. (Laughter) I can't remember his last name. But, no, Kevin's run these last couple of weeks, it's just been off the charts. I've said it a few times this week. I mean, he's the most skilled basketball player on earth. He's one of the most skilled basketball players to ever play the game. There's never been anybody like him -- 6'11", handles the ball, shoots 3s, passes, defends.

He's just an unbelievable talent. And I think after we lost game 2 to the Clippers, I think he just felt like he just had to turn it up and lift us up another level and that's exactly what he's done.

Q. Kind of building off that, the bulk of Durant's points came when it seemed like you guys really needed them in the third and fourth quarters. What can you say about his awareness of giving you guys exactly what you need when you need it?
COACH KERR: He's been around for a long time. And, you know, when you play in the playoffs, the shots get tougher and tougher. Regular season, it's almost two different games because everybody's prepared for everything.

So it's just much harder to get a shot. So Kevin can get his own shot at any time he wants. That's what makes him so impossible to guard. He understands what we need from him and he's been delivering game after game.

Q. You talked about Harden's free throws. He had 14. When you go into a game do you see it inevitable that he will get to the line a certain amount of times, or do you want to get that down to a certain number of attempts?
COACH KERR: It's going to be tough to keep him way down. But I think when we watch the tape we'll see some plays where we reached. You have to be very disciplined. He's so clever, creating fouls, creating contact. And you have to be able to play without putting your hand in the cookie jar.

And so we did that a few times. But he's so good he's going to get fouled and he's going to get to the line no matter what you do.

Q. Seems like every postseason game Steph has been in foul trouble. For one, how hard does that make it for you as a coach as far as rotations go? And, two, how do you fix that problem, get him out of the habit of reaching in and getting those fouls?
COACH KERR: When we were in LA and he picked up his fourth foul, I asked him, I said, "Steph, where is your mom?" He pointed up 10 rows behind the bench. I looked up and made contact and looked at Sonya and I said, tell him not to foul anymore.

If his mom can't get through to him, I'm definitely not going to get through to him. Maybe I'll try Dell this time, try dad.

Q. What was it like just handling a game where there's the constant stoppage of play with calls and both teams are disputing the nature of them?
COACH KERR: It didn't seem any different to me than any other game. I mean, it's high-level, competitive stuff. You just keep going no matter what happens.

I didn't think of any stoppages in play. I just think that's how the game goes.

Q. You talked about the familiarity between these two teams. It seemed like, at least in the first half, the game was a little choppy, a little hard to get going on both sides. Did you see that? Do you think the familiarity had anything to do with it?
COACH KERR: Yeah, we've faced these guys three of the last four years in the playoffs. Obviously last year, a seven-game series, four more regular season games.

So both teams know each other well. So it's going to be tough to surprise anybody with a strategy. It's all about execution. And for us that's got to start with taking better care of the ball in Game 2.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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