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May 20, 2019

Steve Kerr

Portland, Oregon - Postgame 4

Golden State 119, Portland 117.

STEVE KERR: Before we start, I just want to say congrats to the Blazers on a fantastic year. You know, having played here for one season a long time ago, I've always loved this city, loved the fan base, the energy in this building, and this version of the Blazers over the last few years has been one of my favorite teams to watch.

I have so much respect and admiration for Terry [Stotts] and his staff and the players; what Damian [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum] do as leaders and as a backcourt together, it's amazing to watch. I know this city loves its team and they should love this version of this team, as much as any of them, because they are a great group.

We had to fight and scrap. In the end it's a sweep, but we had to scrap and claw for three of the four victories. This was more difficult than it may have appeared.

So we are happy to move on, and happy to get a little rest before we play again. We'll open it up.

Q. Going along with the difficulty, there are going to be people who look at this, see a sweep, think it was easy. What made it so challenging, whether it was the things the Blazers were throwing at you, the injuries syphoning off your manpower. How did you persevere?
STEVE KERR: Our guys, they have been at this for a while, so they know how to win. They know how to come back from deficits.

When you get this deep in the playoffs, you're playing against the best teams in the league. You know, this backcourt that you're dealing with, with McCollum and Lillard, it's a nightmare trying to stay in front of them, and you have to commit help. You have to have a five-man defensive effort, and that leaves you vulnerable in areas. I thought tonight they did their best job of exposing those vulnerabilities.

Meyers Leonard was fantastic, and they did a really good job of moving the ball. They had 31 assists, and our defense was shaky tonight, but we turned it up in the fourth quarter and in overtime, and got it done. But it was an uphill climb the whole way.

Q. What did you think much the efforts of [Alfonzo] McKinnie and [Kevon] Looney in overtime for you?
STEVE KERR: They have both been fantastic all year. Looney has become one of our foundational pieces. He does this every single night.

I think one thing that we've seen in almost every series, is as the game goes on and players get tired, Loon gets more and more rebounds. He just has a knack for the ball. Really long arms. Great feel for the game.

And so his rebounding, I think he had 14 tonight, a bunch of offensive boards. Really a big key for us. And then without Andre [Iguodala], we needed every ounce of effort from Alfonzo. You know, we didn't want to extend Shaun Livingston's minutes. Played 21, which is already a high number. You know, up 3-0 going into tonight; so when we went overtime, we just decided, let's just give Zo the minutes and he came through in a big way.

Q. In this era, how would you put in context what it means to go to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight season?
STEVE KERR: I hope it doesn't go unnoticed or underrated. You know, five straight Finals hasn't been done since the 60s, since Bill Russell's Celtics. Hasn't been done for a reason: It's really, really difficult.

I just can't say enough about the competitive desire about the group of players that we have here and the culture that they have built together. You know, playing together regardless of injury. Being without Kevin [Durant] these last five games has put us in a really tough spot, and our guys stepped up in a big way.

You know, a couple years back, we were without Steph [Curry] for over a two-year period, I think he missed like 12 playoff games we won nine of them. So the group has a fiber to them; where guys go down, they find a way to come together and compete and win.

Starts defensively. If you can defend at a high level in the playoffs, you always have a chance. But I just think the experience of winning titles helps you in these moments and it helps you continue to move forward and come away with victories like tonight.

Q. Terry Stotts mentioned "championship pedigree" when he walked in here and I wonder if you can kind of drill down into exactly what that is, and the trust in your players, namely the great pass by Steph when he was trapped to Draymond [Green] for a three.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I mean, I think the championship pedigree, what that means, is not panicking in big situations and trusting your teammates, trusting what you're doing out there.

I almost called a timeout halfway through that possession because it looked like nothing was happening. You know, Draymond just did what Draymond does. He hits big shots. He's a guy who hit five threes in Game 7 of the [2016] Finals a few years ago. When nobody else could make a shot -- he made five threes and he's not even a three-point shooter. Draymond is just a big game player, and Steph trusted him and that was obviously the shot of the game.

Q. Lillard has been battling a rib injury; what do you think of his performance to keep the Blazers in this game?
STEVE KERR: He was great. I thought the game softened up when Meyers Leonard started making threes. We had to make some adjustments, and as soon as we did that, Damian's eyes lit up. He started to see single coverage, and he got going.

So I felt like, you know, he got loose, and it was, obviously made things really difficult on us. He had a fantastic game. So did CJ. I mentioned Meyers. So they all had it going, but we found a way. I think over the course of the game, you know, it just gets tougher and tougher to make shots. When you're playing big minutes, you're going into overtime, so our defense I think eventually kicked in and our guys did a great job.

Q. Obviously Steph's and Draymond's talent speaks for itself, but what makes them a unique tandem in terms of their chemistry together and their leadership approaches?
STEVE KERR: They have been playing pick-and-roll together for five years, more than that, seven years, I guess, and Draymond is an amazing play-maker and Steph is so lethal, he's going to draw a lot of attention. So they have a lot of knack for working the pick-and-roll together, finding openings and then attacking. They are both great passers, as well.

They are fun to watch. They are kind of made for each other from a basketball standpoint. You know, they have been doing this for a long time, so they have got a real feel for each other.

Q. A lot of coaches shrink their bench in the playoffs, but in this series, you really expanded it. What was the thinking behind that? Why that approach?
STEVE KERR: Well, we had to. You know, when you're missing Kevin Durant, you can't replace Kevin with one guy. We had to replace him with three or four, night after night, and then tonight without Andre, we had two find more minutes.

So it was a good series for the bench. They did a fantastic job, and we I think mixed and matched, and tried to find combinations that worked, and a lot of guys really played well over the course of the series, and it was a big reason for the series win.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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