NBA Western Conference Finals: Mavericks vs. Warriors

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Golden State Warriors

Steve Kerr

Game 1: Postgame

Warriors 112, Mavericks 87

Q. We've been talking about Wiggins for a while but how important was it to be able to put him on Doncic and almost have him outscore Doncic in this game?

STEVE KERR: I thought Wiggs was fantastic. Doncic is as difficult a cover as there in this league and we just asked Wiggs to try to hound him and guard him as best as he could, stay in front and try to keep the pressure on him and he did a fantastic job.

Wiggs is just a huge part of our defense and our team. I thought he was great offensively as well. So great night for Andrew.

Q. When is the last time you saw Steph lead a playoff game with 12 rebounds?

STEVE KERR: Ask Raymond [Ridder]. Raymond knows all that stuff.

But Steph has always been a really good rebounder for a guard, for a guy his size. He's just got a knack for the ball and he obviously did a great job. There were several where you could see him kind of come over from the weak side because he read where the ball was going to go before anybody else did.

So he's got a good knack for it and I thought the rebounding was a big factor tonight. You know, 52-34, so we did a good job on the glass.

Q. How did you like the poise in taking care of the ball and so many guys getting involved in the scoring and rebounding effort?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, it's good. I thought we were in a little bit of a rush early. Once we settled down, the ball started to move a little bit better and we started getting better shots. That's to be expected, though. Game 1 of the Conference Finals, everybody is amped up.

So we just needed to settle in, and we did that.

Q. You threw out a lot of different looks defensively. How important was that in limiting Luka?

STEVE KERR: You can't do the same thing with Doncic every possession. You have to be able to mix it up. He's too good and so we tried to do some of that. One game we did an excellent job defensively but we are under no illusion that we've figured anything out. We've just played really hard and competed and tried to contest shots. But there's a good chance those shots start going in next game, so we just have to stay committed and stay aggressive and play with force and see what happens.

Q. You had Wiggins pick up Luka full court several times. Is that to slowly try to fatigue him?

STEVE KERR: I think it's important to try to make him work. He's so good, any great player in the league, you're just trying to limit the damage that they do. I think Wiggs picking him up, trying to make him exert some energy was definitely helpful. Other teams have done that plenty and he's been able to play through that.

Like I said, it's one game, we did a good job but we have to turn our focus to Friday.

Q. Throughout the run your shooting has gotten so much attention in how you've won championships but the defense was always consistent. Was this as strong a defensive performance start to finish game you've had this season as least?

STEVE KERR: It was an excellent defensive night overall. You know, we had the second-ranked defense in the league this year. We take pride in our defense. Everybody sort of leans on Draymond. Draymond sets the tone for us. We had a good defensive night. But we can't let our guard down.

Q. There was that play, the third quarter, where Steph got trapped in the corner, threw the looping pass to Draymond and Draymond hits him back for three. Given the troubles you guys sometimes have with turnovers and looping passes, what did you see when that play developed? Obviously, there's the chemistry between Steph and Draymond, too, but the whole package, maybe the anxiety but the fun that went with it?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, we work on that play. It's called Looping Pass 2.

You know, those guys have a synergy from playing together for a decade. Klay, as well. So there's a lot of value in that, and Draymond has always been sort of the fulcrum of our offense as a passer, screener. He sees the floor so well. He sees those guys working off the ball. He sees the back-door cuts.

So that was an example of those guys just knowing each other well and Draymond knowing exactly what Steph was going to do.

I think, if I'm not mistaken, Looney set a pin-down for him after that pass came back out to Draymond. So you can put Looney in there, too. There's a lot of continuity with our team that's important and guys read each other well.

Q. You talk about Andrew's defense on Luka but nobody else on the Mavericks got going. What was the key to the rest of your defense and when he gave it up, not letting anybody else get wide open looks, like they have in the past?

STEVE KERR: They spread you out dramatically. They took 48 threes and it's hard to cover all that ground. So it requires a ton of effort, and for the most part that effort was there.

We really contested shots well and tried to challenge everything we could. So it was a matter of just playing with a lot of force and really bringing the effort.

Q. You mentioned defending their three-point shooting. Draymond held them to 0-of-9 from three. What do you think of his defensive performance in particular?

STEVE KERR: As I said, Draymond, he's the key to our defense. He's kind of our middle linebacker. Against a team like this that spreads you out, you have to make good rotations and good reads. So he is one of the best in the world doing that and kind of getting everybody organized and talking.

Q. During the regular season, we talked a lot about how an assertive and aggressive Andrew Wiggins is a better, best version of him for this team. Is there a different spark in his eye before the game that's telling of, oh, he's just going to absolutely go for it tonight?

STEVE KERR: I just think that Andrew is in a really good groove. You know, he's had an excellent playoff. He's played well in every series so far. He's comfortable. He's confident. He believes in himself. He believes in the team and what we're doing. So this is who he is. He's been just really, really consistent at both ends.

Q. Klay had zero at halftime. Did you notice that or sense anything was coming? Were there any issues with him offensively in the first half or did any of that really matter to you or did you just know it was going to come in the second half?

STEVE KERR: I just thought both Klay and Steph were in a rush early in the game. We just needed to slow down and move the ball a little bit better and once we started to do that, the game started to open up for both guys. That's how the playoffs are, everybody is so amped up and you've got to settle in and it just took those guys in particular a little bit of time to settle in.

Q. You've talked many times in the past about Curry's ability to forget things or to have no conscience or whatever. He has a bad shot, a bad streak, a bad quarter to just completely forget it and move on. Was this an example of that tonight maybe?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, the best players all have that knack for turning a bad game into a good one. It's a really difficult thing to do. But when you have that kind of confidence and that kind of experience, when you've been through everything and you've been through a lot of games where you have a slow start and you're able to find it, then you know, you feel comfortable in that setting. I thought that was the case with Steph.

Q. You have said the last couple of days just how much this means to the guys after the last two tough years. You missed a few games. Did it feel pretty good to be back on the bench and just in this atmosphere? It was loud and much like Game 6 here the other night, just a pretty great atmosphere.

STEVE KERR: Yeah, it was great to be back. I missed back out there with the guys, and amazing atmosphere here at Chase and we're excited to keep going.

Q. You shot like 70 percent inside the arc and getting kind of what you wanted. Is that kind of like your ideal game when the execution is that high and you can get kind of the looks that you want inside the paint?

STEVE KERR: My ideal game is to shoot 70 percent from three, actually. But I thought we took what the defense gave us. They did a good job taking away a lot of our threes and a lot of our guys made those mid-rangers that I think you have to make in the playoffs. I just feel like teams are going to take away layups and they are going to take away threes. If you can step in and knock down some 15-footers, I think you have to be able do that.

We've been lucky to have great shooters over the years that have been able to knock down that shot, whether Steph, Klay, Kevin, now Otto is a really good mid-range shooter. If it's there, that's the shot you've got to take.

Q. Jordan did a ton for you offensively but this series will probably be about how well he can survive defensively. What did you think of his overall night, but particularly on the defensive end?

STEVE KERR: Yeah, I thought Jordan had a really good night. They were definitely attacking him. He got five fouls. I thought he had a couple of tough calls but he can do better showing his hands. Sometimes you get your hands out like this, and a player, you know, bowls into you, you're the one that gets the call because it looks like you're reaching. If you can show your hands, then you're more likely to not get called for a foul and I think that's something he can probably do better next game.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
120387-2-1043 2022-05-19 03:52:00 GMT

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