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May 19, 2019

Steve Kerr

Portland, Oregon - Practice Day

Q. Steve, you described Draymond Green's play as a wrecking ball. Is there any other description that you can come up with for the way he played in this series?
STEVE KERR: I thought wrecking ball was good. I thought it described him well. Colorful as a metaphor, and I don't have any others. I apologize.

Q. Steve, Draymond, when he was told that you said you thought he was more in control and worried more about playing than other stuff, he described himself as being disgusted at watching the way he had been playing earlier and crying about calls, and that he was more aware -- his mom talked to him. His fiancee talked to him. He had his little kids watching him at home. Were you aware there was this kind of self-evaluation going on?
STEVE KERR: No, but I've definitely been aware of the improvement just in his focus. I mean, I think that's been really obvious over the last couple of weeks, and I think it's important because, when he gets upset and emotional, it costs us. We lose our focus as a team. I mean, he's our leader. He's our emotional leader out there. So if he can play like he did last night in terms of just moving on to the next play after something goes wrong, that's a huge boost to our team.

Q. Why do you think you guys had so much success with this kind of trapping style on [Damian] Lillard and really limited him?
STEVE KERR: Well, we've got really smart defenders. We've got a lot of length, and we've got guys who just understand how to defend and cover up for one another. You know, it doesn't work every time. It's effective at times. They break through sometimes. But I think it's important for us to just try to put as much pressure on their backcourt as possible. Those guys are lethal, and we're just trying to contain them. To this point, we've done a pretty good job, but we're aware they could break out at any time. So we've got to be even better tomorrow.

Q. You must be proud of your team for the second-half comebacks, but what can you do moving forward to try to get off to a better start?
STEVE KERR: I think avoiding fouls is the biggest thing. I think they had 13 free throws in the first half yesterday. So the early foul trouble hurt us. If we can avoid that and make them make shots from the field rather than the free throw line, I think we can get off to a better start.

Q. Steve, your center positions here, went through some changes based on injury, but it seemed like at any given point in the regular season, you sort of knew who your main guy or guys were. Are you back to mixing and matching a little more at this point?
STEVE KERR: Well, [Kevon] Looney is our main guy at that position, but we like to bring him off the bench just for rotation purposes and get to a certain combination. It's rare that he starts, but he's now become the guy who finishes. He's turned into a fantastic player, complements our group really well, and he's having a great postseason run.

So he'll continue to get the most minutes of the center group, but I'm really pleased with the rest of the guys chipping in. Jordan Bell was terrific last night. We'll continue to have Draymond play some five at times. You know, [Andrew] Bogut can come in and give us short burst minutes. I think we've got a number of guys who we can count on, and that's a luxury.

Q. Steve, with Andre's [Iguodala] injury, did you know when it happened last night?

Q. Alfonzo McKinnie was a plus 24 last night? What have you thought about what he's been able to bring?
STEVE KERR: It's been great. He had nine rebounds last night, several key offensive boards at important junctures of the game. That's something he's done well all year. What he's really improved at is his defensive awareness. He's always had the athletic tools to be a good defender, and I think he's learned more and more this year, angles and concepts, and he's seeing the pictures well.

I thought he was brilliant last night, especially after Andre went out when we were at risk, and he stepped in and did a great job. Probably hit the biggest shot of the game to break things open but was fantastic defensively and on the glass, too.

Q. If Andre does need to miss some time, how big will Alfonzo be defensively for you guys?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, we'll have to have more minutes from him, but we're confident he can do the job.

Q. What enables Draymond to facilitate so well? We know about the speed, but what has he picked up maybe a notch in this series?
STEVE KERR: I'm not sure he's picked anything up. He's been great throughout the playoffs. I think the biggest thing, when Kevin [Durant] is out, Draymond is going to have the ball in his hands more. That's probably what you're seeing. He just has more responsibility on his shoulders.

What I'm pleased with is he's keeping the turnovers pretty low. He's pushing the ball like crazy without turning it over, and that's the key because, if he can generate that kind of pace, we can still get into our offense. If nothing's there, we're still going to get good stuff. So as long as he's under control and pushing the pace, we're in a good position.

Q. Do you think this year kind of sets a tone for the cooperation or the discussion of the backcourt?
STEVE KERR: Excuse me?

Q. Do you think this year already sets the tone for all the discussions of the backcourts in this league?
STEVE KERR: Our backcourt?

Q. Yeah, your backcourt and also Portland's.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it's two of the best backcourts in the league for sure. Tremendous talent on the floor all at one time. They're all fun to watch. I have so much respect for CJ [McCollum] and Damian and watch them a lot during the year, enjoy watching what they do, and then watching our guys obviously is a pleasure. Coaching them every single night, and to see all these guys playing against each other is amazing.

Q. Damian had a rough start to the game last night.
STEVE KERR: Damian Jones?

Q. Yes. How do you get him back to where he needs to be and get him some meaningful minutes in the rest of this playoff series?
STEVE KERR: He hasn't played much in a long time. I put a lot on his plate. We knew it was going to be short minutes, and we just wanted to get his athleticism and speed on the floor. Things are moving pretty quickly out there, especially when you haven't played in a while. So he did fine. It was just the fouls, you know, a couple of cheap ones, but then he bit on the pump fake. That was the one that sort of cost us a little bit. Then we went to Looney and JB, and they came in and did a great job.

Damian's just got to keep playing. That was great experience for him last night, and he's got bright days ahead. But it felt like a good opportunity to offer him, and it didn't go great, but he'll learn from it.

Q. What's the difference in scheming up to face this guard-centric offense in Portland compared to last series, which it was guard centric but Houston kind of runs their offense differently.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it's just a different team. That's the biggest thing is with both Houston and Portland it's a five-man defensive effort, like it is with most teams, but you just feel like you have to -- when you go into these series, you have to look at it strategically, like how can we best make an impact in a positive direction for our team? What does that mean? What's the best way to approach this? And for every team it's a little different.

So our defense against Portland is much different than it was against Houston, but that's just how we kind of see the matchups and see the game playing out.

Q. How much different would it -- like if you're facing a team that's either got a kind of big in the center of their offense or a forward, how much different does your scheme have to tilt towards if it's not up top?
STEVE KERR: It's hard to answer that. Every team is different. Every game plan is a little different based on personnel, based on combinations that you're facing. But you see patterns, and that's why we have our advance scouts, and that's why we do so much work in the playoffs ahead of time, like every team, as opposed to the regular season when you're just kind of moving on from one game to the next.

So you just have to try to get a feel for what the other team is best at doing and make that as difficult as possible and then take your chances from there.

Q. Steve, when you looked at the tape, did Meyers Leonard have a really good game, or did you guys make things a little too easy for him?
STEVE KERR: No, he played really well, and he hit some big shots. This is the NBA. You've got great players everywhere. Every team's got talented players, so it's a matter of what are you willing to give up? What are you trying to accomplish? You can't stop everything, so he hit some shots and made some big plays, played really well for them.

Q. Steve, what do you like about Quinn Cook and his personality and what he brings to the locker room?
STEVE KERR: I like Quinn's -- just his poise and professionalism. It feels like he's a 10-year vet even though he's only been around for a couple of years. I think it has something to do with having the full college experience at Duke and staying all four years. He's just very mature, very wise. The guys love him. He works his tail off every day, and he makes the most of the opportunities when he gets them, and then he never complains when he doesn't. So he's exactly the kind of guy you need off the bench.

Q. Is he unusually popular for a guy on the bench? It seems like, like you said, the guys love him, they really love him.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, it's important to have guys on your bench who are popular. Does that make sense?

Q. Speaking from experience there?
STEVE KERR: Yes, yeah.


I think it's -- I guess what I mean is the guys on the bench have to understand their role. They have to embrace it and succeed in it and support everybody else when they're not getting a chance, and when that happens with a guy like Quinn, the rest of the team sees that. What's tough is when you've got bench players who are upset that they're not playing, and that's the difficult part because everybody wants to play. So when you can find the professionalism and production of a guy like Quinn, that's a huge find.

Q. Injuries aside, do you feel you guys are relatively fresh right now given that you're at this stage?
STEVE KERR: I don't know if fresh is the right word, but we're in a good position and trying to make it through this series. Obviously, with Andre's injury, we're further depleted. So we're not fresh, but we're fighting through everything, and we've put ourselves in a good spot.

Q. What is the schedule today for the players?
STEVE KERR: Just watching film and then an optional gym time, no practice.

Q. And what's your game-viewing plan?
STEVE KERR: It's a good question because I want to watch Milwaukee and Toronto, too. Good thing I have HBO Go. I should do an endorsement. I just did, and I didn't get the --

Q. Did you hear Draymond gave James Laughlin a shout out last night in the press room?
STEVE KERR: I didn't hear the exact quote, but I heard he did, yes.

Q. Is that kind of a cool moment for a guy who is lesser down on the list?
STEVE KERR: Oh, yeah, we were giving James all kinds of crap in there last night, but it's nice. We have a lot of people who do a lot or work to help our team prepare for these games, and our video crew probably works harder than anybody. James does a great job, so it was fun to see Draymond give him a little love.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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