CLEVELAND -– Not a big believer in the fiery pregame speech, Steve Kerr had a very simple message to the Warriors before Game 6 of the NBA Finals Thursday night.
“No heroics necessary,” the coach said 90 minutes before tipoff against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.
“Just be rock-solid,” he added. “Defend like we know we can, with a purpose, with physicality.”
This has been the theme for the Warriors ever since they lost Game 5 in Oakland on Monday, putting a sour taste in their mouths and forcing a return trip to Cleveland. Assistant coach Ron Adams, the defensive specialist, was even more candid about what’s necessary in regards to defense.
“They never felt us,” he said of the Cavs in Game 5. “And we didn’t do anything to make them feel us. To play good defense in this league, you have to make the other team feel you. We didn’t do that.”
The return of Draymond Green, who missed Game 5 while serving a league-mandated suspension, will help that. He’s not only a fabulous defender – first runner-up in Defensive Player of the Year voting in each of the last two seasons – he’s also willing to throw his body into action.
He’ll have to be smart about that, but physicality is part of his game – and something the Warriors need to be effective.
Offensively, Kerr is urging his team to be aggressive but not reckless, to be precise and to shoot with confidence.
“It’s nothing more than that,” he said. “Sounds very simple. But for whatever reason, we’ve had a couple games in this series where our defensive focus wasn’t there and where our attention to detail handling the ball wasn’t there.
“Those are the things you can control. You can’t control if the ball goes in or not all the time. We had a lot of open shots that we missed the other night. I have no problem with that. But the defensive lapses or the careless turnovers, you’ve got to take care of that stuff.”