There is nobody who knows what an NBA finals game feels like better than Steve Kerr. During his playing career, Kerr appeared in 27 games during his NBA Final stint with the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs. Not only that, in his all five trips to the finals, Kerr returned with an NBA Championship ring.
After starting his coaching career with the Warriors, he was on the sidelines for 28 games during the team’s run of NBA Final appearances for a period of five years. He added three more rings to his name along the way as well.
So there is nobody who can disagree when Kerr says that the atmosphere during the Western Conference play-in game between the Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers felt like playing in the finals.
“Last night’s game honestly felt like a Finals game,” Kerr said on 95.7 The Game’s “Damon, Ratto and Kolsky” on Thursday.
“It was so much fun. Obviously losing, it made it so difficult, and we’re all just so angry that we didn’t get it done. But what the hell, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about competition at the highest level, and we can’t wait for another crack at it tomorrow against a really good, young team that we know is hungry for a win and a playoff berth too,” he added.
The Warriors lost to the Lakers, though. They will now face the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday in a ‘winner takes all’ game for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Although the play-in tournament has drawn criticism from individuals like LeBron James and Draymond Green, Kerr has said that he likes the idea very much. After experiencing its first game, he has started liking the idea even more.
“I love it, I think the format is great,” Kerr said.
“Even if we were to lose tomorrow, I would not walk away from this saying ‘This is ridiculous, we were the eight seed. We should be in the playoffs.’ I love it. I think it’s been great for the league, it created sort of mini-pennant races in the middle of the conference playoffs where teams are trying to avoid the [seven and eight seeds] so you have a race between four, five, and six. I think it’s great, it’s a little bit like European soccer, teams trying to avoid relegation, but less penalizing. The competition that it’s created over the last month has been great for the league and great for the fans.”