May 26, 2022
Golden State Warriors
Game 5: Postgame
Warriors 120, Mavericks 110
Q. Kevon, 18 rebounds tonight. Is this something you're going to do in every clincher now?
KEVON LOONEY: That's the goal. That's my job, to go out there, rebound. When it's time to close the series out, it's always going to be tougher. You want to up your game. That's one area I can really affect the game and make a difference in. Tonight I did a good job.
Q. You've been a core piece of this team through the dynastic years and through the past couple years, which were really difficult. What were the past two years like for you?
KEVON LOONEY: It was difficult. A lot of ups and downs for our team and me personally. I missed one of those years. I didn't play a lot due to injury.
Last year I got to come back and play a lot, be part of the team. It was a different dynamic not having Klay out there. I was able to learn. Closed the year off pretty good. Thought we were going to make the Playoffs, but missed it in the Play-In.
I think that experience was good for our team, good for some of the young guys like J.P. It's good for our team, period, to get on a good track. We were all able to grow. I think that kind of lit a fire under us, not making the Playoffs last year, coming into this season.
I think everybody was really motivated as an organization, as a team. All the hard work is paying off.
Q. If you can think back to the celebration after you guys made the Finals, towards the end of that run when you were making it every year, it seemed almost inevitable. Was the celebration tonight different from that?
KEVON LOONEY: Yes, a little different. Like you said, in those prior years, we were making it every year. It was kind of like favored to make it. We were the heavy favorites.
But each time it's always special to make it to that point. This year is a little different just because the last two years have been so rough. Every guy kind of has a different story on making their way back. Klay missing two years, coming back halfway through the season, is special. Our first time doing it in Chase. A lot of different things that make this one special this year. Every year it's a different feeling, always special.
For not making the Playoffs the last two years, come back, make it to the Finals, it's a hell of a run.
Q. You were here during the rougher years. You were asked to do a lot as you were rebuilding. How did the vibe change once Klay got here, was healthy, you had the core guys back on the court? Was there a sense of expectations lifted, pressure came up?
KEVON LOONEY: The times when it was rough, we were losing, I think we still had a good group of guys. We were still able to keep that same culture in the locker room, even though we were losing. That's tough to do, but I think we did a great job of that. We still played our style of basketball, still holding guys to a high level and a high standard.
But still kind of knew in the back of our head we weren't going to be able to win because we weren't complete. Getting Klay back -- even coming into the season we knew Klay was coming back -- I think it gave everybody extra motivation and extra push that we have a chance to be really, really special. Throw in the emergence of J.P., adding a guy like Otto, bringing Andre back into the fold, just kind of changes our confidence and our expectations.
Last year I don't think nobody expected us to do nothing great. Even this year we still had a lot of doubters. But I feel like as a team we knew if we had everybody healthy and everybody on the same page, we had a chance to do something special. Bringing Klay back was probably the biggest piece.
Q. You are only the fourth franchise ever to make it to the Finals six times in eight years. As you pointed out, two years out of the Playoffs. Beyond that, two years ago you had the worst record in the league. How does that shape the way you'll be remembered? The fact that, not the five in a row, but you kind of clawed back from a lot of unusual circumstances that led you literally to the worst record in the league?
KEVON LOONEY: Right. Yeah, that's a special story, just to be able to make it this many times. Usually once you stop making it to the Finals, the team usually goes away. Usually have to rebuild a different way. Usually rebuild with different players.
We were able to retool around the same three guys and do something special. I think that just shows you how special that Draymond, Klay and Steph are as humans and as basketball players, their determination, their leadership, to be able to fall down and get back up and claw back to the top.
They have been great leaders in our locker room, great leaders in the city, in the Bay Area. You don't expect nothing less from them. They set their goals high and they hold everybody to high standards. When you bring young guys in like J.P., Kuminga, Moody, they hold those guys to such high standards, when they're called, they're able to rise, make plays. Give a lot of credit to them.
Q. You've had so many different players around, you even played two different roles basically. What is it about how they approach the game, how they play, that makes the other parts around them so interchangeable and successful?
KEVON LOONEY: I think their basketball IQ is so high you're able to put a lot of different guys out there and they're able to adapt their style of play. We play in such a way that it's a lot of fun, a lot of ball movement. I think guys like playing that way. When they come in, they learn to adapt and play our Warriors style pretty easy.
I give credit to Bob and Steve for finding players that they feel are not just our style of play but personality-wise fit in with our group.
So credit to them. But, like I said, I've had a lot of different teammates. Steve gives everybody an opportunity to come in and make a difference. I think that also gives a boost to guys on the bench. I know for me you always have to stay ready because you know Steve is going to give you a chance at some point. That makes the locker room feel better, when you put in your work and long hours in practice, that makes you feel better because you know you're going to get a chance at some point.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports