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May 17, 2016

Kyrie Irving

LeBron James

Cleveland, Ohio: Game One

Cleveland - 115, Toronto - 84

Q. You guys combined to shoot 22 of 30. Why were you two able to be so efficient tonight with your offense?
KYRIE IRVING: I think we just settled into the game really early. We got Bron an easy two in the post and they were kind of running us off the line, and we were just taking what the defense gave us. It was as simple as that. And I think that we were getting to our sweet spots as much as possible. And the play calls by Coach Lue were great coming into timeouts. And coming out of those timeouts we knew what we wanted to run and we played at an unbelievable place. I flipped two easy buckets in transition that got us into a great rhythm. At one point I looked up and Bron was 7-for-7, just an unbelievable pace and unbelievable rhythm.

We wanted to just stick to that game plan.

Q. Kyrie, Kyle Lowry finished with eight points, and you guys made a big deal about keeping him and DeRozan in check. How big was that for you and how do you feel you played on him?
KYRIE IRVING: It was big for our team because the game plan going in, we know how great DeMar and Kyle can be and how much they mean to their team. It's a one-two duo that they put up a lot of points for their team. So we just wanted to make them take some tough shots, but also just our defensive game plan almost dictated that going into the game, and we wanted to be really aggressive on the pick-and-rolls. I credit a lot of my teammates just helping me out throughout the course of the game and us being in the right spots and us doing whatever it took to limit those guys to the easy shots that they were getting almost last series and getting into a good rhythm. So we just wanted to make it a little tough on them.

Q. Kevin Love likened you two to the old USC Trojan backfield of LenDale White and Reggie Bush, LeBron being LenDale and Kyrie being Reggie. I wanted to get your guys' thoughts on that comparison.
KYRIE IRVING: Thanks, Kevin. That's all I've got to say about it. Thanks, Kev. No disrespect to those guys, either. But thanks, Kev.

Q. LeBron, we spent the last couple days talking about the way the Raptors like to shrink the floor and clog and take away the paint. Tonight they seemed to do the exact opposite. Is that a sign that you are forcing teams to get out of their comfort zone and do things they're not accustomed to doing?
LeBRON JAMES: I think for us, it's never -- our game plan is never dictated. I think for us, we want to push the tempo. We want to move the ball from side to side, and we want to attack. With myself and Ky, we love to live in the paint. We love to attack, and then when the defense collapses, we're going to spread out to our shooters. Tonight they wanted us to be in the paint, and we just tried to take advantage of that. We had 56 points in the paint, and everyone was still in a great rhythm.

I think probably the least amount of threes that we've shot and made probably in the postseason so far, but as I keep telling you guys every single day, we're not a jump-shooting team. You guys kept looking at me crazy about it. We're not a jump-shooting team. We're a balanced team, and whatever the game dictates, we're able to adjust to that.

Q. LeBron, you guys knew that they would try something different. They didn't want to give up that three ball. But were you surprised a little bit that the single coverage they had -- looked like there was no help once you got past your defender early on. Did that surprise you at all to that extent?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't predetermined what is going on or how they're going to defend me. I read and react. They played me straight up in the post. I just tried to make quick, solid moves to get into the paint. If they brought help, I was still going to be able to find my guys.

You know, whatever the defense is doing in that possession, I'm able to read and react and know what's going on. I've seen every coverage, so definitely we have to be better in Game 2 because we know they're going to have some changes, and that's what the series is about, being able to adjust from game to game, and they're going to make adjustments, and we have to be ready for whatever.

Q. You guys came in and we talked all week long about not being rusty. Dwane Casey mentioned that the Raptors seemed to be a step slower than you guys. How much did the nine days' rest really help you guys, and how much did you feel that the extra step and that you wouldn't be rusty coming out tonight in Game 1?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, we didn't rest. We just didn't have a game. We didn't rest. Coach Lue gave us one day off. Other than that, we was in the gym working, keeping our rhythm, keeping our legs ready for whenever the game was -- whenever we was going to play, so we didn't rest. We just didn't do -- we didn't have a game in front of cameras.

Our whole mindset was whenever our game was going to present itself, we was going to be ready to play our game and do it the same way we've been doing that all postseason, and we were able to accomplish that tonight.

Q. LeBron, you like to say that there isn't anything that you haven't seen, but what's going on right now, you actually haven't, nine in a row to start a playoff series. Is there any point where you begin to get concerned about just some waning focus? When the wins keep piling up, at some point you might be challenged and caught off guard by that?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't think we have complacency in our minds right now. We have a goal, and our goal was not nine wins. It's just not my focus. I've won nine games in the postseason before, won 14 games in the postseason before. It's not my goal, and as the leader of this team, I'm going to continue to make sure that these guys understand what our goal is and they know. They know what our goal is, and tonight was just another step in the direction that we want to head into.

And we will face some adversity. We will. And we have to be able to handle that, which I think we'll be ready for.

Q. I've got one for each of you: Kyrie, people talk about how demoralizing three-point shots can be for a defense. How demoralizing are all the straight line drives that you guys got tonight for a defense?
KYRIE IRVING: We just played with unbelievable pace, and we just kept demanding it out of one another, just to keep pushing yourself until you're dog tired, and we did an unbelievable job over the last eight days of just really conditioning ourselves preparing to run, and I think the fresh legs had a lot to do with it. But we just continued to hammer home, let's run, let's run, let's get out and run. When you're doing that, there's a few mismatches in transition, a few post-ups where you've got guys in their sweet spots. We want to continue to stay in attack mode, and it worked for us tonight, especially those straight line drives.

Q. LeBron, there was a moment middle of the second quarter where you chased down a rebound, blew past Carroll on the baseline, you slammed it hard, and then you had a reaction that was pretty memorable. Can you talk about why you enjoyed that moment so much?
LeBRON JAMES: Just having the opportunity to play the game that I love in front of some unbelievable fans and unbelievable teammates. When you make plays like that, you know, it's the passion that came through. It was the excitement that my teammates was getting, looking over at the bench, the other four guys on the floor and the 20,000-plus fans that was cheering it on at that point in time, so that's where it came from. You don't know when it's going to happen. Sometimes it just happens. So yep.

Q. Considering what Kyrie went through last year in The Finals, is this exactly the Kyrie you thought you would see in these playoffs?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I think no gas, the Kyrie that I see on a daily basis when you guys are not around is the Kyrie that I envisioned. He's grown every single day, every single week, month, and over the course of these last two years or year-plus, becoming a leader and becoming a staple of our team. We all knew how talented the kid was and how talented he is still today, but his growth and what he demands out of all of us, you know, as the point guard, as one of the leaders of the team. That's what's the best part about it. I mean, you roll out a ball any single day of the week, and he'll play. When you're that age, you can play as long as you want to anyways, but his growth, his mentality, and it's what's great about him right now.

Q. The lineup that you used to start the second quarter, not one that you used a lot during the regular season. How has that lineup been able to come together so well in such a short time, and can you sense the growing confidence with that group?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, the game ball definitely goes to our bench tonight. I mean, you look at plus-24, 20, 18, 17, all the way down, those guys gave us a boost in that second quarter, and I was out there with them. But Channing, Shump, Delly and R.J., at that moment they pushed the tempo.

You just got to work at it. In practices we do a lot of work together, but we've got some very smart, cerebral players. Coach Lue is able to mix and match some lineups that he feels best fits, and that's one of the lineups that's been working pretty good for us throughout this postseason that we did not -- like you said, did not use in the regular season. So we've got to continue to work our habits. It's not going to always be as great as it was tonight in the second quarter, where we outscored them 33-16, but we've got to continue to work at it and continue to see ways we can help each other, and if we do that, we'll be fine.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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