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May 14, 2019

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California - Postgame 1

Golden State 116, Portland 94

Q. You guys were really effective defensively against [CJ] McCollum and [Damian] Lillard tonight. Talk about that and how important was that to the outcome?
STEVE KERR: Well, they are a tremendous backcourt. We're well aware of what they are capable of. So we're paying a lot of attention to them. Just trying to stay all over them if we can and not give up anything easy, and I thought our defense was good, but I also thought we benefited from the schedule.

You know, we were able to finish our last series on Friday and they had to go to a tough Game 7 in Denver and a quick turnaround, so the schedule favored us, and -- but I thought we took advantage of the situation and -- and got off to a good start.

Q. Were you shocked how they defended Steph, dropping their bigs so far off?
STEVE KERR: No. You know, nothing -- nothing really shocks me. We've seen pretty much everything, and I think every defense is sort of personnel-based, and so you know, these playoff series are always interesting, and they didn't have, you know, a whole lot of time to prepare, so they have got a tape to look at and I'm sure they will make some adjustments.

But you know, you've got to do what you're most comfortable with, what you're players are comfortable with. That's what every team tries to do. Steph got free and had a big night and carried us at times and obviously that was a big part of the game.

I also thought the key stretch for us was the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. You know, they made it a six- or seven-point game to start the fourth. Portland made a really good run at the end of the third and our bench came in, did a fantastic job getting us the lead back up to about 12 or so before we went back to our starters, so great job by our bench.

Q. What did you see in the second quarter?
STEVE KERR: Well, same thing, second quarter, Jonas [Jerebko] came in, knocked down a couple shots. I thought Jordan Bell's minutes were good. They just came in and executed and defended. You know, the biggest thing is if we can buy some time for our starters to rest, and even extend the lead, then you know, that's a huge deal for us.

And this series feels -- feels like it's a series where we can play more people. It's a different matchup, and I think that what you saw tonight is what we'd like to get to every night if we can in terms of playing -- playing 10, 11 guys.

Q. When did the med staff clear Damian Jones to play and how was that for you to be able to send him on the court after all he's been through?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, so he was cleared, basically the last couple of days. He was cleared for contact. He played a three-on-three yesterday. As of shoot around today, we had declared him out because we sort of, in, that routine over the last several months, and when we got to the stadium, the training staff said he can go tonight. We had that extra roster spot because of our injuries and put him out there. Felt good to put him there the last couple minutes and see him do well. He's been working unbelievably hard, and he's such a great kid. So it's nice to see DJ back out on the floor.

Q. You just mentioned about buying time, the layoff you had --
STEVE KERR: I'm sorry, about what?

Q. Buying time, rest of the players. Is that the strategy you came in with tonight?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, as I said, we feel like this is a series where we can, and this is a strategy where we can use more bench players if we can, but we'll see how it goes.

Q. What did you think of the teams pace and how they pushed the ball?
STEVE KERR: I thought we were in a rush the first half, took some quick shots. Turnovers weren't bad. I think we had seven at the half and we finished with 14 which is a decent number.

But it seemed like we were just in a hurry the first half. Took a lot of quick ones. We were just not quite in our rhythm, but sometimes that happens. You know, first game of a series, you're kind of feeling out the game and I thought we settled in better the second half.

Q. What did you think of the trio of Jerebko, [Kevon] Looney and Bell coming off the bench?
STEVE KERR: They were great. Looney has been great throughout the playoffs, every round. You know, and Jonas and Jordan have played sporadically the first two rounds. But both guys came in and gave us a big lift today.

Q. The Blazers made a couple runs, made it interesting. But you never really got the feeling they were going to make that push. Did you always feel comfortable, or was there uncertainty because you know what Lillard and McCollum are capable of doing?
STEVE KERR: You never feel that comfortable as an NBA coach in any game because everyone's got talent. Especially this team with McCollum and Lillard, we know what they are capable of. We've seen both of them just have huge nights in the playoffs. CJ's game 7 was incredible the other day, and Damian, goes without saying what he's done. So you know, we go into it the fourth, I think it was a six-point game. No, I did not feel comfortable.

Q. You talk about the run in the third quarter, 31 free throw attempts to your 18. Is there things you want to fix going into Game 2, sluggishness and things of that nature?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, we'll watch the tape tomorrow as a team. The coaching staff will come in in the morning and watch it. You always figure some things out. You see some things. You recognize some patterns when you go back and look at the tape. There's always adjustments to make, win or lose. We'll look for areas where we can get better and keeping them off the foul line is one of them for sure.

Q. Draymond has had a string of pretty good games, but what have you seen from him from a leadership standpoint during the playoffs?
STEVE KERR: I just think he's very comfortable. He's playing at such a high level, and he's mentoring the younger guys. He's talking to them on the sidelines. Draymond is one of the smartest players I've ever been around, and he walks that line between being over the top emotional and passionate and I think he's walking the line really well right now. He's just playing the game, and delivering in a big way.

Q. You talked about how this is a series where you might be able to play more guys. Can you elaborate on that, as opposed to the series with Houston?
STEVE KERR: It's a different game. Every team presents different challenges. There's different matchups. And you know, the way Houston plays, it makes it more difficult to play a lot of people. They just look to isolate you on every spot on the floor. Their style of play makes it more difficult. So nothing earth shattering.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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