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May 30, 2019

Steve Kerr

Toronto, Ontario - Pregame 1

Q. Throughout your run you've only started on the road I think one other time. How much more important is a Game 1 when you're starting it on the road and what kind of mindset do you have to have to overcome that?
STEVE KERR: It's a game whether you're at home or on the road, you just got to play. So the way it unfolds is slightly different, but no matter how you slice it you got to go play, you got to go win. So we'll be ready, we had to do this last year against Houston, and we'll hope to get off to a good start, but probably a long series and we'll see how it all unfolds.

Q. Draymond Green's three-point rate in this post-season is dramatically down from previous playoffs and regular seasons. Can you explain that change and just what impact has it had on your offense?
STEVE KERR: Mike Brown told him not to shoot, so I guess -- I don't know. Our team's different, Draymond's different, everything changes year to year, your personnel, the style of play, whatever, so Draymond's threes maybe are down, his attempts, but he's hit some big ones. Hit the biggest shot of the game in Portland in Game 4. The thing with Draymond is that he's just got guts. He's not afraid of anything, and so we're perfectly happy with him shooting threes because he's smart and he knows when to shoot them, and when he's feeling it and a great passer, great playmaker. So we trust him to make the right decision.

Q. Nick Nurse is coaching in his first Finals. What do you recall about coaching in your first Finals, and what do you know now that you didn't know then about coaching in the NBA Finals?
STEVE KERR: I think the biggest thing is just how different it all feels from the first three rounds of the playoffs. The practice sessions are different. You get completely taken out of your routine and players are creatures of habit, and so you get to the most important series of the year, most important games of these players' lives and say all right, we're not going to let you go through your usual routine, we're going to make you shoot it at two hoops with 15 of you, and 500 media members watching, no offense. It's just different. Everything about it feels different. It completely takes you out of your comfort zone.

It's important to not let that bother you. You got to just go play and it can be overwhelming, the first time you go, so you have to settle in quickly, and I think it helps that we have so many guys who have done this now over the years and they knew what to expect, they can share that with their teammates. I know Toronto's got guys who have been in The Finals, so same thing goes for their experience, but it's just a totally different vibe. But it's still, you know, it's the Gene Hackman scene from Hoosiers, you know, although the rims were a little high yesterday. They were like 10'1". I'm not kidding because all the cameras that they're going to have, weren't on yet, so the rims were actually 10'1". So there's a nugget for you.

So Gene Hackman was right in Hoosiers, but he would have been wrong out here.

Q. Given the success you guys have had, Steph-Draymond pick-and-roll whatever it might be, do you really worry about other teams stopping you or are you always just more concerned about how you guys stopping yourselves, like how effective you're going to be?
STEVE KERR: No, we take every game for what it is. There's going to be different looks, different matchups. So we'll see what Toronto does. They have got a lot of possibilities. They're a lot like us defensively. They can match up many different ways. So each game's different and we have to assess it as it goes and try to do the things that give us the best chance to score.

But, you know, we're vulnerable like everybody else is, we have got to play well to score, play well to win.

Q. Back in a simpler time when you roamed the earth with the Bulls and they were winning all the championships, there was no NBA Twitter, there was no social media, there was no 24/7 news cycle about where KD is going to play next year. What have you drawn from that experience, if anything, and what is so unique about the guys in your group that has allowed you to be connected and hungry through five years of all of this?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, the takeaway is that life was a lot simpler back then. All you had to do was if you wanted to avoid it was avoid the morning paper and don't turn on talk radio between three and five o'clock. That was it. There were barely any other outlets for this stuff. So now, you know, we're all addicted to our phones, we all get fed this constant criticism and judgment and our players are, they're fair game for everybody on not just daily basis but an hourly and minutely basis.

So it takes a lot of discipline to be able to play through that and not let that affect you. And I think our guys do as good a job as they possibly could in terms of separating it and living their lives and enjoying the game, enjoying the way they play and trying to remember that a lot of that stuff, frankly, pays the bills. And if you look at it from that perspective then it helps fuel the salary cap, it helps pay you this fabulous salary that you make, it is what it is, so don't take it personally. Just accept it for part of the job and move forward, and I think our guys do a good job of that.

Q. I presume you're not going to say who your starting center is or whether it's going to be DeMarcus.
STEVE KERR: Not going to say because of you asking me in the Finals.

Q. That's a lot of years ago.
STEVE KERR: Yeah, that should have been my answer, what I learned from the first Finals is just always say I'm not divulging my starters.

Q. Especially to me?
STEVE KERR: Especially to you.

Q. Given that though do you have a firm idea of DeMarcus's physical, what he can give you, or is it just going to be when he's out there you have to determine or do you have a set kind of idea of what he's going to be able to give you physically?
STEVE KERR: Well, we have been through this before, that gives us a little help, because of his first injury when he came back in January, I think it was we saw him transfer from scrimmages to actual games and we saw a big uptick. We were worried about the scrimmages and then he really started playing in the game. So he's a gamer. He's a guy who lights up when the lights go on.

I think because he's been out for six, seven weeks and because he's a big guy I don't know that his wind and legs will allow him to play big minutes, but I know that he can help us in bursts and we'll have to figure out what that means.

Q. Yesterday you were talking about how obviously you played Cleveland four years in a row and that's not how it's supposed to work. But when you talk about routine, is there any element of not knowing what to expect tonight just because most of your guys' Finals experience has just been against one team, opening at home, one dominant player, that kind of thing?
STEVE KERR: Well, that's a huge element. We hardly know Toronto's team and even if you include the two games this year, players from both sides were out, so you can't glean a whole lot from those two tapes. So this series, unlike the last few years, will be against an unfamiliar foe. Same goes for them, obviously we only see them twice a year, Kawhi being brand new to this team, there's very little history, real history between the two teams as constituted.

So I think what you'll see is as the series goes on each side will get more comfortable with the other, and there will be a feeling-out process to start the series.

Q. Obviously understanding you don't want to divulge any kind of strategy but what would constitute a good defensive performance against Kawhi Leonard, knowing the kind of caliber of player he is?
STEVE KERR: I don't know. I mean, his numbers are off the chart, so it's probably not a statistical goal, it's just winning the game however we can win the game. That's what we need to do. So we'll do our best with Kawhi and as I said, we'll hopefully learn from quarter to quarter, game to game and figure out some things that we can do, but we are well aware that no matter what we do he's probably going to have 30-plus points at the end of a game and make a huge impact.

He's a great player.

Q. On that note a little bit with Kawhi, despite the fact that you mentioned the history and he's brand new at Toronto, there's obviously a history from his time in San Antonio when he would play you guys in the playoffs. Does that history in any way benefit you, the fact that you have seen him in this type of high-pressure environment or has he just changed so much since that time that really with this system it's a completely different situation?
STEVE KERR: Well, in terms of his experience against us, I think there was only one game, the game that he got injured. So it's hard to gauge that. But the guy was Finals MVP in 2014, so he's probably better because of wisdom and experience, but not much else to say. He's clearly one of the very best players in the league and so we got our hands full.

MODERATOR: Thank you, Steve.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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