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NBA FINALS: WARRIORS VS. RAPTORS

June 5, 2019

Steve Kerr

Oakland, California - Pregame 3

Q. You guys have started nine different lineups in the post-season, and through it all you guys have managed to win and withstand the changes. How do you do it, and how do you improvise together in those moments?
STEVE KERR: Well, our guys have been together for a long time. We got a lot of talent. And because the team has played together for many years, they just -- they have a good feel for what we're trying to do for each other's strengths and weaknesses, and I think they complement one another very well.

We got a lot of guys who are very accepting of their roles, and they step in and do their jobs.

Q. Is Klay going to play tonight?
STEVE KERR: It's a game-time decision. He's going to come in here and work with the training staff in a little bit, and we'll decide then.

Q. On Kevin, we know he was doing a little more at the facility yesterday. Is he on track to practice tomorrow?
STEVE KERR: He had a really good workout yesterday, ramped it up, and it went well. He had another one today, it went well. So we would like to increase it tomorrow, meaning get other people involved, he hasn't played any three-on-three, five-on-five.

We probably won't practice, practice as a team tomorrow. It will be a film session and a walkthrough. So if possible, we'll get him together with some of our young guys, maybe a few of our coaches and try to get him out on the floor. That would be the next step.

Q. How much in the last 24 hours has Klay been trying to state his case to you guys about playing tonight?
STEVE KERR: He's making a very strong case. That's who Klay is. He wants to play no matter what. So we'll see what the trainers' assessment is. They looked at him this morning, and they will look at him again this evening.

But he's trying desperately to be out on the floor tonight, and we'll have to weigh all the factors and make the decision. We probably won't let him make the decision.

Q. Back to Durant. What would you be looking for tomorrow when he works out? What do you need to see that he would be able to play in Game 4 on Friday?
STEVE KERR: Well, he's got to continue to improve and not have any setbacks. That's the main thing. So we'll go from there.

Q. If Klay is a no go, what is a bigger challenge for you to try to fill the void tonight, offensively or his defense against this particular Raptors team?
STEVE KERR: All of the above. C. That's what makes Klay special. He's one of the best two-way players in the game, and that's true regular season and it's especially true in the playoffs against the very best players in the world. So we'll have to make up for quite a bit if he's not out there.

Q. This place is obviously always loud, especially in the playoffs, but with only two at most three more games left, what kind of atmosphere do you expect, and how do you expect the impending end of basketball here to kind of affect the atmosphere the next couple games?
STEVE KERR: Well, I expect our crowd to be loud tonight and energetic. I think they know that we need them more than ever, given our injury situation. And this has always been an unbelievable home court advantage, so I expect a rowdy crowd tonight and whatever day the next game is. Every day's Wednesday; that's what they say in the NBA. It is Wednesday. Who knew? (Laughter.)

Q. Has it been determined that Klay could make the injury worse if he played tonight? And just more broadly, what are you looking for to make the determination whether he could play?
STEVE KERR: That's the gist of it all, and our training staff will let us know the risk. If there's risk, then we would not play him. So he got some shots up this morning and got some running in on the court, so that's a good sign. Training staff wanted to see how he responds when he comes in today after some rest at home. And ultimately that's the -- to cut right to the core of it, it's still early in the series, so if there's risk, then we won't play him.

Q. Does it seem like Kevon Looney is underappreciated, and can you explain what he does?
STEVE KERR: He's definitely underappreciated. He is an incredibly smart basketball player, just has a feel for the game at both ends. Timing is always impeccable because he understands the game, sees the game a move ahead like most really good players do.

So defensively he uses that intellect and his long arms and his positioning awareness to really guard multiple spots, which is the name of the game in the modern NBA. And then offensively he's a passer, he's a really good cutter, good screener, does a lot of things that maybe go unnoticed, but not by his teammates and his coaching staff.

Q. Last week Bill Russell announced that he's receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage. What, if anything, have you learned or taken away from Bill both as a player and social activist?
STEVE KERR: I'm too young to have remembered him as a player, so what I know about Bill is what I've read about him and what I've seen on grainy video. One of the things I love about his game from the highlights and from reading about him is that he's one of the only bigs who would block a shot with the awareness to just keep it, keep possession.

It's amazing how many times in the modern game you see guys go up and they have got an easy block and they swat it into the 10th row and flex and yell when it could be a fast break the other end if they just decided to tip the ball to themselves and go.

So I know that just from that alone what a smart player Bill Russell was, and he's obviously the greatest winner in the history of the NBA.

And then what he did for his country and for society and the African American community obviously is -- it just dwarfs what he accomplished on the court. Being a prominent player in the civil rights movement and taking that leadership, understanding his voice and his power, one of the most important athletes in the history of our country. So, yeah, he's on the Mount Rushmore for sure.

Q. How does this game compare to Game 3s of the past, especially since you're playing at home?
STEVE KERR: How does this game compare to?

Q. Game 3s of the past four years, and especially since you're playing also at home this time.
STEVE KERR: Well, it's a little different feel starting the series on the road than at home. But every series is unique unto itself, based on matchups, based on health, all that stuff.

Where we are right now, I like our positioning in terms of getting the split in Toronto. And I know we're shorthanded, but I feel like there's no reason why we can't go out there and win the game tonight. And Game 3s are always key because it's -- no matter what the score of the series is, there's a pretty big swing in momentum. And I just believe in our guys and I believe in their championship identity and DNA, and so I'm excited for tonight.

Q. With so many injuries, seems like you just have nine players to play. Do you see this as like the biggest challenge as a coach playing at the biggest stage?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, The Finals are always the biggest challenge you face, if you're lucky enough to get this far. It's the most pressure, it's the biggest stage, it's usually the two best teams. And so all of that stuff factors in.

And then obviously with our injuries, it makes the challenge even greater, but it's also what makes it fun. You get to test yourself. And obviously we would like everybody to be healthy, but this is just part of the game.

And we have been on both ends of this. We have had injuries in the past, our opponents have had injuries. So you don't make any excuses. You go out there and you see what can you do, and you relish the opportunity and the challenge because before you know it you're retired and you wish you could go back and do it all over again.

Q. As we come down to the final few games here at Oracle, can you share some memories that you have from being a player and then also as a coach?
STEVE KERR: A lot of my favorite memories come from being a player here and marveling at the energy in this building, coming from a crowd that did not have a whole lot to cheer for, frankly. The Warriors went through a long dry spell, and yet you would come here and there was an atmosphere, an energy you could feel.

And ironically one of the other buildings I always felt that in was Toronto. Back then it was the Air Canada Centre, and similar scenario, they weren't that great, but, man, the fans loved basketball.

So it's something that jumps out to me about this Finals. You're dealing with two areas, cities, general areas, that are just basketball crazy, and you can feel it inside and out of the building, around town. And so it's been just an incredible experience to play and coach at Oracle, and hopefully we can go out in style and win our last games here.

But we're going to miss it here for sure. We're looking forward to the new arena, it's going to be amazing, but we'll always miss Oracle.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.

STEVE KERR: Thanks.

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