NBA Finals: Celtics vs. Warriors

Sunday, June 5, 2022

Golden State Warriors

Coach Steve Kerr

Game 2: Postgame

Warriors 107, Celtics 88

Q. If it's possible, was Draymond even more engaged tonight? How did that set the tone for your defense?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, I thought everybody was more engaged. It was pretty obvious, just our level of force and physicality was ramped up quite a bit, and it had to be. What Boston did in the second half, you know, fourth quarter the other night, we knew we had to come with a much better focus and sense of aggression, and I thought that started right from the beginning. Draymond played a huge role in that.

Q. In your mind, was that third quarter kind of the window into what this team can be when it's at its best both offensively and defensively?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, Steph was breathtaking in that quarter. Not just the shot making but the defensive effort. He just doesn't get enough credit for his level of conditioning, physicality and defense.

People go at him to try to wear him down because they know how important he is to us offensively, and it's pretty dramatic the difference in Steph's strength and physicality in his body now than from eight years ago when I first got here. So the guy's amazing. He just keeps working on his game, his strength, his conditioning year after year, and it's a pleasure to watch him play every night.

Q. What could you realistically expect from Payton in this game? Was it this many minutes, and what do you think it meant to the team to have him out there and obviously to play well, too?

STEVE KERR: I might have mentioned this last week, the good thing with an elbow is that you can still get on the court. So he was on the court three weeks ago going through intense defensive slides and sprints and one-on-one full court without using his left arm. So just dribbling, dribbling, dribbling with his right hand. So he's been at it with the conditioning for several weeks.

And so that was the least of my concerns. I was worried about just him being able to extend his arm and shoot the ball, but he knocked that three down. And as I said before the game, he had a couple good days at practice where he looked much better than he did going into Game 1.

So he needed the extra few days to really be ready, and I thought he was brilliant. The level of defense, physicality and speed in transition, it gives us a huge boost.

Q. Through the first couple games, obviously we're used to seeing Steph carry this kind of load for you guys, but in past Finals runs, you've had whether it was Durant or Klay, pre-injury, obviously. Any concern about the load that's on Steph, pure scoring in this series and in terms of how to get this done and how to have enough support around him? Is this going to be a different challenge?

STEVE KERR: There's plenty of concern about plenty of things. Boston is a hell of a team. They have a great defense. They have got guys who are athletic and powerful and can get to the rim. And so whatever it takes. We're going to need contributions from a lot of people and, I think we're perfectly capable of winning games where Steph doesn't have a huge night. Just means other guys have got to step up and score for us. But that's something they have done all year.

Q. Your first half, you had no offensive rebounds, no second-chance buckets until the very end of the half. Seems like you guys take your mid-range jumpers, you take your three-pointers, if they don't hit, that's it, and the ball goes the other way. Is that something that you want or something that you would like to make an adjustment on?

STEVE KERR: Well, we have been a pretty good offensive rebounding team throughout the playoffs. I thought in the first half it was an incredibly physical game, and shots were hard to come by. We weren't getting past them on offense, so we weren't really creating any defensive rotations, which would lead to offensive boards.

So if the game can open up for us a little bit like it did in the third quarter, then we're able to get better shots to make the defense rotate, and then you've got a chance to get a few offensive boards like Wiggs did in that third quarter.

Q. It had obviously been a pretty rough first three halves of the series for Jordan, you put him in late third and he has that flurry. What can that do for him, and did you see anything different that was going on with him in that second half?

STEVE KERR: No, nothing different. I think the deeper you get in the playoffs, the better the competition, the better the defense. So you have to adjust. You've got to figure out how to attack, and you have to do that as a team. You have to do that individually, too.

So Jordan is still a very young player, learning on the fly, but he's had such a great season, and he's so talented and confident that I have a lot of faith that he'll figure this out, and I thought tonight he did a good job of finding his way.

Q. You guys were on a 41-14 run after halftime. What did you or any of the team leaders say at halftime, and also after these first two games, how would you assess how you guys have played?

STEVE KERR: Really, there wasn't a whole lot of strategic change. You know, a couple tweaks here and there. The preparation was mostly about our intensity and physicality. It was obviously ramped up tonight, and it needed to be, given what Boston did in Game 1.

So that's the name of the game in the Finals. You know, it's hard to get an open shot out there, and it's supposed to be difficult. Game 1 was too easy for Boston with the looks they were getting in that fourth quarter.

Q. The Celtics' bugaboo this playoffs has been turning the ball over. You guys forced a lot, especially early. Was that a point of emphasis coming in, especially putting Draymond on Jaylen Brown and trying to disrupt that matchup?

STEVE KERR: I think turnovers are often a byproduct of physicality and intensity. I thought we brought that from the start. Draymond had plenty to do with that, so did Gary, so did Wiggs. I thought our whole team was physical and intense, and you know, we did a good job of trying to make things difficult for them.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
121350-3-1015 2022-06-06 04:00:00 GMT

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