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NBA FINALS PREVIEW
June 1, 2015
Q.Â Your teammates have been talking lately that this may be the best basketball you've played in the postseason, just from what they've watched as a fan to now being your teammate.Â Where do you weigh in on that?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I don't know.Â They see me every day, and I happen to be alongside those guys, and I'm just trying to do whatever it takes to help our team win.Â It's great to know your teammates appreciate what you do, and I'm just trying to give it all back to them the best way I can.
Q.Â Do you feel like you're playing that way?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I don't know.Â I've had some great playoff runs before.Â I don't know if this is the top right now.Â We'll see in less than a month.
Q.Â You like to keep things lighthearted and keep things loose, but in the playoffs it seems like you're really focused and in tune.Â Is that something you feel like you have to have that type of zoned‑in mindset going?
LEBRON JAMES:Â It's a switch that I have during the postseason.Â The regular season is so long, being intense and stone‑faced during the regular season, it's too long.Â There are too many games, too many road trips, and it can make the game very stale.Â But during the postseason I understand it's a different season, and it's a different approach.Â This is how I approach it.
Q.Â Are were you able to figure out anything technical with your three‑point shot?
LEBRON JAMES:Â No, I just haven't been in a good rhythm and shooting the ball.Â But it hasn't stopped me from doing what I need to do as far as helping our team.Â The three‑point shot is something that if I was a player that needed that shot to be effective, then it would affect my game, but it doesn't.
I mean, if I make a few, I'll take them.Â But if I don't, I'll stop taking them.Â I'm able to do other things and still be effective.
Q.Â Your game has been scrutinized since you were in high school.Â Because of that experience, does that give you some empathy for what Coach Blatt experienced this year?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Well, any time someone is scrutinized really for nothing, I'm able to relate.Â For him in his instance, obviously, we knew there were a lot of people that were going to say things that didn't mean much, but that's just what they have to do.Â That's what helps sales.
People love reading the negative things more than the positive things, and I think he's handled the situation unbelievably being a rookie coach in the NBA and being able to take this team to the Finals, I think he's done a hell of a job.
Q.Â Does he maybe deserve more credit than he's gotten?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I don't think he cares about that.Â It shouldn't matter.Â Getting credit from other people?Â Who cares.Â It's all about how we credit each other that's on these floors every day in this practice facility, game, film sessions, things of that nature, so it shouldn't matter what everybody else says.
Q.Â You're shooting almost 50% inside the arc in the playoffs.Â Do you have to keep taking the three or they'll just zone you up or what?
LEBRON JAMES:Â No, you know, you keep your defense off guard.Â That's what I want to do.Â If I have‑‑ it's not like I'm taking crazy three‑point shots.Â If the shot is there, I'm taking it and shooting it with confidence.
Q.Â Short sometimes more than anything?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Oh, they've been short.Â They've been long, they've been left, and they've been right.Â They haven't been in.Â But I've gotten some great work in this week, so we'll see what happens.
Q.Â Over the course of your career most teams only have one guy that can realistically try to stop you and try to guard you.Â How do things change and does your approach change at all when guys throw multiple people at you that aren't matching you sub‑for‑sub and then kind of rotate?
LEBRON JAMES:Â It doesn't change.Â Still got the same uniform on.Â It don't change at all.Â My approach doesn't change no matter who is guarding me.
Q.Â Do you feel like when teams have done that‑‑ I can't think of too many opponents that have tried to do that‑‑ but do you feel like it's an attempt to try to fatigue you a little bit by throwing multiple bodies at you?
LEBRON JAMES:Â No, I think it's a luxury that can have multiple bodies that can defend any offensive player.Â In Golden State's case, they have multiple bodies they've shown this year and in the past, even when I was playing in Miami, to able to go to Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Draymond, Klay, to have multiple bodies that they would put on me.Â But it doesn't affect what I need to do.
Q.Â Do you feel like the league is shifting in that direction, in part, to try to figure out how to guard you and players of your strength and size?
LEBRON JAMES:Â If they are, the league ain't doing a good job of it (laughing).
Q.Â If you could go back to July with your letter and then August with the reception at Akron.Â What was your perception of how the fans reacted to you coming back?Â Was there anyway that you shared feelings with those fans, like you had the same feelings?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I think the letter speaks for itself or spoke for itself at the time.Â I understood what I mean to this community, what I meant to this State with northeast Ohio and the fans here and the people here.Â I just want to try to give it all back to them the best way I can, both on the floor and off the floor as a role model, as a basketball player, as a father, whatever the case may be.Â I think they recognize my passion, not only on the floor but off the floor, and I recognize their passion as well.Â So it's mutual.
Q.Â What do you think about Wade down in Miami and how that may change things?
LEBRON JAMES:Â What happened?
Q.Â Wade is talking about opting out down in Miami because they don't want to match whatever the contract was?
LEBRON JAMES:Â He said that?
Q.Â That's what people are saying.
LEBRON JAMES:Â Did he say that?
Q.Â That's what the reports are saying?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I'm not commenting on it.Â If Dwyane Wade didn't say I'm opting out, then I'm not commenting on that.
Q.Â The first time you saw Steph, I think in person, maybe you had seen him before, it was at Ford Field and you were pronounced in your belief that he would be a good player in the league.Â A lot of people thought he was too frail.Â What did you see even then?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I saw a kid who didn't care how big someone was, how fast someone else was, how strong someone else was.Â He just went out and played.Â He wasn't going to let anything, as far as the analytics when it comes to sides, power, strength, speed, stop him from what he was able to do.Â It was great to see someone like that who doesn't get caught up in people going after guys who can jump higher and run faster and run through a wall harder and things like that.
He was just out there playing free and loving the game.Â He had a bunch of guys on this team, I don't know if I can name one of them right now.Â I don't think you guys could either (No Audio).Â And that's something that I definitely caught on to.
Q.Â How is this team different from the team that went to the Finals in '07?
LEBRON JAMES:Â That's so long ago.Â You know, we were much younger as far as experience.Â We have a more experienced team.Â This is a much older group of guys.Â I think this team is probably a little bit more athletic, and probably a little more fire power offensively.Â What kept us in the game in '07 was how well we defended.
We defended very, very well, but we always got at some point throughout the game just half scoring lulls where we couldn't score the ball.Â Now we definitely have more offensive power here.
Q.Â The regular season match‑up with the Warriors you went for 40‑plus, and you hold Steph Curry to 15 (No Microphone).Â After you got that win, did you think of how significant that would be if you meet them later on?
LEBRON JAMES:Â No.Â There are a few teams in the West that I thought if we could take care of our business here, that we could match up with them.Â They were one of them, along with San Antonio and the Clippers.
So when we went against those guys here, and I wasn't playing at Golden State, obviously thoughts come to your mind if you face them in June how great it would be to compete against them.
Q.Â Along the lines of what you were asked earlier, when you combine where you're at physically and mentally, and all the experience you've gained, are you at the best you've ever been right now?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I think if you put it all together, yeah.Â If you put everything together.Â As far as my mind, my body, my game, you put everything in one bottle, it's probably the best I've been.
Q.Â Can I ask you about Mozgov's game since you've become teammates, and what was your impression of him before?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Not much impression of him before.Â He was too in and out of the lineup in Denver, so you didn't really get a full glimpse of him.Â In New York his stint was short.Â When he got here, the first thing I recognized was how mobile and agile he was from baseline to baseline.Â That is the one thing that impressed me from the beginning.
Q.Â When you went to Miami, how much attention did you pay to these guys with a 26‑game losing streak and all that was doing wrong?Â I know you had your own issues to worry about in Miami, but you're also a student of the game?
LEBRON JAMES:Â I paid attention to it.Â I saw what was going on.Â You know, you're just hoping at some point they'd be able to win some ballgames.
But at the same time, what I was going through my first year in Miami, I couldn't really pay too much attention to anything else.Â Just trying to get through the mud that I was trying to get to and figure out a way to be productive.
Q.Â How different is Golden State in terms of, I guess Atlanta is a good preparation for it, but in terms of recognition and helping and realizing who is left out there on the perimeter and who you can really leave?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Well, you can't really leave anyone.Â Coach Kerr does a great job of putting guys on the floor that can make plays no matter who it is.Â You can't really leave anyone.Â They're high‑motor guys, and you can't relax for one second defensively or they'll make you pay.Â It's almost like playing San Antonio.
San Antonio can shoot the ball as great as those guys did, even though Danny Green and Patty Mills, and even Kawhi got it going at times.Â But their motor and it starts with the point guard, Tony Parker and Steph Curry, their motor, getting the ball into early offense and getting those guys moving is something you can't coach and something you have to be aware of defensively at all times.
Q.Â Are you happy with the preparation this week and where you guys are at right now?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Yeah, absolutely.Â We've still got three days left.Â Two and a half tomorrow, Wednesday, and probably Thursday, and we'll be ready to go.
Q.Â Can you describe the mood of the team?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Restless.Â Yeah, we're restless.Â We're ready to go.Â But we're not going to discredit these next few days.Â We still have to get in the lab and go over our preparation and still prep.Â But we're restless.Â We don't like this much time off.Â I don't think anyone, the fans, you guys, I don't think you like this much time off.Â You're all writing the same things every day now.
Q.Â You're not supposed to read it.
LEBRON JAMES:Â I'm not reading.Â I'm just guessing.Â I'm just guessing.
Q.Â How much has the layoff helped Kyrie?
LEBRON JAMES:Â Well, I mean, every day helps.Â Whatever we can get out of him.Â I think he's going to play Game 1, whatever we can get out of him is a plus for us.Â He's been dealing with injuries throughout the whole postseason.
He's been working, getting some good work in, off to the side at times.Â He's played a little bit with us, but not much.Â So whatever we can get from Kyrie is a plus.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports