Shootaround Notes - 5/16/18

Steve Kerr Speaks With Media Ahead of Game 2 in Houston


After taking the first game of the series on the road, the Warriors know they've put themselves in a good position. However, they're not resting on their laurels. They know a desperate Rockets team is a scary Rockets team, and they're ready for that challenge later tonight:

"I think our guys have always played well when they've felt threatened," said Steve Kerr following Wednesday's shootaround. "We did that last year in the playoffs, took care of business on the road quite a bit, and especially key games. And tonight is a key game, obviously. So, I liked how we played in Game 1, but I think we have to play better. We know that they're going to play better. And we'll just be ready for the force that they're going to bring."

"They're bringing their best," added Kerr. "We know that. They're coming after us, so we've got to be ready."


At his postgame press conference following the Warriors' victory in Game 1, Stephen Curry was already looking ahead to the next one, saying, "You've got to come back and get a little greedy in Game 2 and try to get another one." Steve Kerr reiterated that message on Wednesday:

"I think that has to be the mentality," agreed Kerr. "We have a great opportunity. There's a balance you have to find. You've got to be loose, but you've got to be disciplined. We should come out and let it rip, but do that in the context of taking care of the ball and defending with purpose."


From the opening minute of Game 1, it was clear the Rockets had a specific offensive game plan in mind, identifying certain Warriors' players that they would attack in isolation coming off a pick-and-roll. One of those players was Curry, and Kerr was satisfied with his ability to hang in there. Kerr elaborated on Curry's growth as a defender at Wednesday's shootaround:

"I thought right away, the first year, he really got better," said Kerr. "He took great pride in it. He told us right away he wanted to become a better defender. He's always been a guy who's forced turnovers, got a lot of deflections, used his speed, but he's also the guy that is going to get picked on in our lineup because, generally, the other guys are all long and athletic and great defenders. So, Steph's used to being picked on. He's used to being the little guy, his whole life, and he takes a lot of pride in what he does and how he defends. The other night, they came at him, which we expected, and I thought he held up really well."


The other Warriors player that often found himself being the target of a pick-and-roll in Game 1 was Kevon Looney, and he stepped up to the challenge in a big way. Looney faced 21 isolation situations in his 25 minutes on the floor, didn't commit a single foul, and had an overall defensive rating of 95.7 for the game, the best rating of all nine Warriors that played in the contest.

"He's a modern day defender," said Kerr. "He's a guy who can protect the rim, but also guard screen-and-roll, and that's the name of the game. We have a lot of guys who can do that, which is important, obviously, with Draymond and Kevin, but Loon gives us depth in that position. Jordan Bell can also do that. And against this team, it's imperative. You have to guard on the perimeter, because you know they're going to attack you in pick-and-roll."


In Game 1, the Rockets' James Harden and Chris Paul dribbled the ball a combined 959 times. Not too long ago, Klay Thompson once scored 60 points in a game in which he took a grand total of 11 dribbles.

When hearing this prompt, Kerr offered a stylistic comparison for Thompson:

"Klay is like the modern day Reggie Miller," he said. "Reggie didn't really dribble a whole lot. His game was coming off screens. We have a few guys that can do that. Klay, Steph, KD. So we play a lot more off the ball. That's just how our team is built."

Draymond Green was fairly succinct in his assessment of what separates Klay from other scorers:

"He can really shoot the ball, really good. He's a great shooter. One of the best we've ever seen."

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