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May 20, 2022

Steve Kerr

Golden State Warriors

Game 2: Postgame

Golden State 126, Dallas 117

Q. Gave up 72 points in the first half and down 14, what just and what did you tell the team at halftime and what do you think changed there in the third quarter?

STEVE KERR: I told them that if we developed some poise in the second half, that the game would come to us. But I thought we were so scattered in the first half. Maybe emotionally more so than anything.

Dallas came out and just punched us. You kind of know it's coming. Game 2 of a series, saw it last night, you know, in Miami. The team that loses Game 1, especially by a big margin, this is how it works. They are going to come out, and I thought Dallas was fantastic. They played harder. They executed better, and we were scattered.

So we just needed to get poised and get the game under control, and we felt confident that if we did that, they wouldn't make 15 threes in the second half. I told them, if they do, then you pat them on the back and say, nice job. If somebody makes 30 threes in a game, they deserve to win.

But that's hard to do, especially if you are solid defensively and staying in your principles and being physical and rebounding. An NBA game takes forever. It's just a long, long game.

Q. 62 points in the paint tonight and Looney was in the center of it all. What are your thoughts on the way he performed tonight?

STEVE KERR: Loon was just brilliant, again. He's had a fantastic playoff run. He's incredibly underrated by everybody. You know, he switches onto guards and he rebounds, he sets screens, and in a series like this, it's so spread out, he's able to score some buckets in the paint as well.

I thought Loon was just brilliant. I thought a lot of guys came in and really played well. Obviously Steph got going. Jordan Poole's second half was fantastic. Otto played a great game and Moses Moody came in and gave us huge minutes in that fourth quarter.

Great team effort, but it was really all about getting things under control and getting more poised out there.

Q. Seemed like you guys could get kind of what you wanted out of the paint if you, like you said, had some poise. You know these guys, how tough is it to be committed to going inside instead of taking the threes to get the crowd into it and how much did you learn from the Memphis series about having that type of patience?

STEVE KERR: Well, the game is the game. Basketball is about sharing the ball. Put it on the floor, draw a defender and move it on. That's what our team has been built on for a long time. The second half, we were more organized offensively. We had better spacing, and when the ball started to move, we started to get much better shots. So got a lot in the paint and we got some threes as well. We made 14 of them tonight.

Like I said, once we got settled down, it was an excellent offensive night for us.

Q. With everything that Looney's been through his entire career, and then he played all 82 games this season, what's it like to see him have a career-best performance tonight in a game when you guys really needed him with Draymond Green running into foul trouble?

STEVE KERR: Very similar to Game 6 when he had a career night against Memphis. Loon is kind of everybody's favorite guy. You know, he's so respected in the locker room. He's an incredible pro. Does his job every day. Comes in, whether we play him for ten minutes or 32, his demeanor is the same. His work ethic is the same. He's an incredibly smart player and he sort of gives us a lot of stability that we need. So Loon has been brilliant.

Q. Doncic, 42 and a lot of Wiggins on him tonight again. Is it possible to say when a guy goes for 42 your guy did a good job on defense on him?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, I said it after Game 1, against someone that good, you're just trying to limit the easy stuff. You know, they did a better job tonight of attacking us in the high screen. We were trying to show with Steph and Jordan, and they were really setting solid screens up there and freeing him up a little bit more.

So it was a difficult cover but Wiggs is staying really determined and trying to stay with him as best he can. But obviously Doncic is an amazing player. It's a tough job.

Q. Getting back to Kevon, your guys' extended run goes back eight years and he didn't come in at the very start but somewhere in the middle. How important has his development been to extending this window and having him join in with the Draymonds and the Stephs and the Klays?

STEVE KERR: It's been massive. Our team has changed quite a bit since three years ago. We lost a lot of talent, a lot of veterans. So we needed Loon's leadership. We needed his size and strength inside. We needed his knowledge, his wisdom.

I think people may forget, but Loon was a big part of a couple of those championships. The last two, he played a lot of minutes. We trusted him to switch and guard James Harden when we played Houston in those series. So he's always been a guy we could trust in the playoffs.

And to have him now, I don't know where we'd be without him, frankly, because he's just a huge part of our team.

Q. Earlier in Looney's career when he dealt with some struggles and some injuries, did you see at that time his potential, and that he could potentially turn into the player that he's turned into now?

STEVE KERR: You talking about Kevon?

Q. Yeah.

STEVE KERR: When he was injured the first couple of years of his career?

Q. Yeah.

STEVE KERR: No. No. Didn't see it because he wasn't out there. He had two hip surgeries and we didn't know what we had.

And then that third year when we didn't pick up his option because we had not really seen him play, and then his third year he was a great year, it's like, uh-oh, we might lose this guy. Fortunately we got him back and he's just gotten better and better.

Q. Luka and Steph, as great as they were tonight, the stars, you mentioned Poole, and it seemed like that second unit, Poole, Porter, didn't turn the game maybe but tilted it a bit in your favor. Going forward, how much will this series be decided by the way that second unit played tonight?

STEVE KERR: Every game is different. You just don't know how things are going to pan out. You need everybody. You get to this stage in the playoffs, you're playing great teams. If you want to win, you've got to have multiple guys come in and play well. Whether it's starter or second unit, you have guys perform well in order to win the game.

We'll see how Game 3 unfolds, but tonight, I thought Jordan, Otto, Moses in the fourth, I thought those guys were great. So our bench came through big time.

Q. 15 threes for them in the first half, six in the second half. Did you feel like you played it better or they just missed?

STEVE KERR: I always talk about the game, the game is connected; the better you play offensively, the defense becomes a little bit easier because your defense is set. You've got some confidence, you've got a bounce to your step.

I just think the game connected for us there in the second half. The better our offense got, the better the defense got.

Q. Why did you decide to go to Moses? Kind of came a little bit out of nowhere.

STEVE KERR: The size. He's got good size and strength. He's a very physical player. He's poised. You saw the play he made in the pocket where he surveyed and went to the rim and laid it in.

You know, felt like a regular-season game watching him do that. So Moses has a real calm about him. He doesn't seem like a 19-year-old rookie. He's had some great games for us this year, including one in Dallas where he was huge in a fourth quarter. We kind of had Moses in mind for this series, and it felt like the right time to play him.

Q. You mentioned performances from a lot of guys who weren't part of this during -- or weren't necessarily big parts of it, and some of them not at all during that five-year run. We are used to seeing a come back like this from your team but not this construction of it. Does it feel like there is some carry-through, despite the fact it's a different supporting cast, that there's a sense of that same kind of confidence to have a come back like this?

STEVE KERR: For sure. But you're talking about Draymond, Klay, Steph, Loon. I mean, these guys are champions. They have seen everything. They have been through everything. So our younger guys and our newer additions, guys like Wiggs and Otto, they may be feeling this for the first time.

But our core they have been doing this a long time, so they are not afraid of anything.

Q. You mentioned in the pregame about how a three-point shot and it can turn a close game into a blowout. When you're down 19, do you have a sense of the game having its own pace and not panicking, and play at its own to when an opening presents itself, they will be able to take it?

STEVE KERR: We got to that point in the second half. I did not think we were patient in the first half. I think they gave us such a shot. They came out and were physical and aggressive. Knocked us on our heels, and I thought we were, again, kind of little chaotic, little scattered.

Hopefully this is a game that we can kind of put in our back pocket and remember because there's a good chance we'll be in this situation again, whether in Dallas or later on in the series whenever. This is a team that is explosive and you're dealing with one of the great players in the game who can create for himself and others, and it will be a hard series.

So we need to learn from this.

Q. We talked about the role players but Steph Curry had ten points in the fourth quarter, really took over towards the end. When you have Luka Doncic on the other side, knowing he can go off at any time and bring his team back, how nice is it when you have a superstar of your own and knowing he can do what he did in the fourth quarter?

STEVE KERR: Well, there's a reason that our team has won championships, and it's we've got players who are stars and players who are fearless and capable of playing and performing under pressure.

So Steph, Klay, Draymond, Loon, I mean, again, they have done this. But Steph in particular, the guy is one of the great players of all time. This is what the greats do.

Q. Building off of that, your teams have now won 12 playoff games when trailing by at least 15 points. No other team since 2015 has won more than six of those types of games. What specifically do you attribute to that, if you had to pinpoint something?

STEVE KERR: Just exactly what I said; that the core group, at this stage in the playoffs, it's all about two-way basketball. You've got to be able to get stops and string together stops, and you've got to be able to score.

We've had really good two-way teams here, and we've had guys who are capable, Steph, Klay, Draymond in particular, of having just massive performances when those types of performances are most needed.

Q. You talked before about how much a series can shift when the venue changes, and it's sort of a reset in some ways. Given that and given what you said about how dangerous the Mavericks are, how wary are you, as well as you guys played in these two games, how much does it start over in some ways when you go to Dallas?

STEVE KERR: Well, we just witnessed the last couple weeks what Dallas is capable of. They were down 2-0 to Phoenix and came back and won in seven. So we know what they are about. We have great respect for them. Great team. Super well-coached. And Dallas is a really tough environment, great home court.

So it's about to get tougher for sure.

Q. You get within two to start the fourth. We know Steph's sitting. You know Steph's sitting. How much confidence do you have that Jordan Poole can take this? Is there still like -- or is it like, okay, we really need to see it in this moment and see him deliver like you did?

STEVE KERR: I've got huge confidence in Jordan. We've seen him do this with allowing Steph to rest, and still give us that offensive punch that we need, that shot creation.

Jordan has really filled a role that has been tough for us to fill over the years. The Steph minutes, when he sits, traditionally have been really, really difficult for us.

So Jordan has given us a different dynamic, and really important one.

Q. You talked about how you expect Dallas to pick it up when they go back home, but how would you grade your team as a road team so far, and in the playoffs, I don't know if you even start thinking about what you've got to do in Dallas.

STEVE KERR: Yeah, well, we've won road games in postseason. We won in Denver. We won in Memphis. So we have a lot of confidence that we can go out on the road and win, but we are well aware how difficult it is. So we've got to be ready. We've got to execute and see what happens.

Q. Steph said he throws crazy passes; that's what he does. But aside from the few he had tonight, what do you think of his decision-making and how he attacked and when he chose to take over the game?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, I thought Steph kind of smelled blood in the water those last five minutes, and he got to his spots. We had good spacing and he got in in the middle of paint and he finished. Klay made a great pass to him for a three that was kind of the clincher.

So Steph did what Steph does, something like that.

Q. You talked last week a little bit about how the franchise is able to improve players. I asked you about Andrew Wiggins and about Jordan Poole. Seemed like Kevon is another one of those players. He was hurt obviously but once he was healthy, I wonder if the franchise or coaching staff worked on specific things to say, these are the things that you can do that can help us and it really paid off.

STEVE KERR: You talking about Loon?

Q. Yes.

STEVE KERR: Again, Loon was really good for us three, four, five years ago. So we already knew what he could do. He's got a great feel for the game. He's a great screener. Underrated passer. It's not like we said, here is where you can get better.

I think this year he became a really elite rebounder, and I think Decky (DeJan Milojevic), our assistant coach who works with our centers, he's done a great job in helping Loon in the rebound category. I think overall, Loon has been progressing throughout his career. He's just a good, solid player and smart player. It's him. It's not coaching; it's just Loon.

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