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May 22, 2016

LeBron James

Toronto, Ontario: Practice Day

Q. Obviously we talked about it last night, the night was not good for Kevin [Love] and Kyrie [Irving]. But it still seemed like you tried to play through them, try to get them going. Was that the case and why did you stick with that for as long as you did?
LeBRON JAMES: It's been a huge part of our success. We're not going to go away from it just because of one game. It happens; the ball doesn't go in sometimes. But we can't lose confidence in those guys. They helped us get to this point. We understand that in order for us to win every single night, we have to have our guys play well. It doesn't mean the ball is going to go in all the time, but we can't not go away from them just because it's not going in.

Q. Ty [Lue] said just now that he needed to do a better job in that situation of putting the ball more in your hands. Did you sense that at all, like were you on the border whether or not you should try to take that particular game over because your guys just didn't have it?
LeBRON JAMES: It's always a fine line, for sure. Obviously the ball, as far as me initiating offense, I don't handle it as much. With Kyrie kind of setting the offense and then Delly [Matthew Dellavedova] coming in, the ball has kind of been taken out of my hands a little bit. I'm okay with that. But there is a point in time where you say, Okay, some of the guys are not going, maybe let me see if I can get it going. But last night just didn't happen that way. We'll have a better game plan going into Game 4.

Q. I think half your shots were jump shots last night. You weren't in the paint as much as you have been. Did they do a better job at keeping you out of the paint, or did you change things up?
LeBRON JAMES: No, I had great looks from the perimeter. I was able to knock a couple of them down. My first two shots outside the paint, I was able to knock them down. I don't want to say it was nothing they didn't do because they definitely played a great game, but I wasn't in the post as much. I've got to look at the film. I haven't looked at the film really just yet. We have our session coming up soon. It'll be much better in Game 4.

Q. Later in the game you were on DeMar [DeRozan] a little bit more, kind of slowing him down. Was that just because you guys were switching or was that because you felt like you needed to be on him more?
LeBRON JAMES: No, I just felt like I needed to be on him.

Q. Is that something you think will be more of going forward?
LeBRON JAMES: Every game dictates different challenges. Yesterday was one of those challenges that I felt like I needed to take control of it. The guy has been shooting the ball extremely well, especially to open the game up, and he played a heck of a game last night. I just wanted to get my crack at him.

Q. Is meeting Toronto's physicality one of the biggest challenges going into Game 4?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't feel like that's been a problem.

Q. Ty said that he felt like the struggles on offense affected you guys' defensive effort. Is that a natural thing to happen, or how do you combat that from happening?
LeBRON JAMES: That could be the case. Obviously we're a team that's played so efficiently offensively that it's helped our defense out a lot as well. Last night not being as efficient as we usually are, it affected us.

Q. Richard [Jefferson] was joking a few minutes ago. He said the mood at dinner was a little disappointed for the first time in probably a month or so. How much does one loss impact your overall confidence level of where you guys are right now?
LeBRON JAMES: We understand that it's a very good team. They're the No. 2 team in the conference for a reason. They were chasing us all year for a reason. That's why I don't really get involved into what everybody else talks about, because I knew it was a tough team that we were playing. They won as many games as they won because they were a tough team. We have to be a much better team tomorrow, and I don't think our confidence is shaken at all.

Q. I know the regular season is one thing, but during the postseason, how do you have a game -- like if you have a close friend on an opposing team during a playoff series, how is that dynamic with you personally, your interactions throughout this?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I've never played Chris Paul, and I've never played D-Wade [Dwyane Wade], but I have played Melo [Carmelo Anthony]. We went at it and didn't have much interaction besides throughout the game, a little bit after a game. But at the end of the day, I don't think a friendship should ever be sidetracked because you're competing. You go out and compete no matter if it's your best friend or your brother. You compete against them, and then when the game is over, you move on.

Q. How much has T-Lue been responsible for bringing you guys together as a unit?
LeBRON JAMES: I just think everyone. It's the whole growth. I think naturally when you're around someone day after day after day, you automatically grow. I think with Coach Lue being here and being at the helm has helped. I just think everybody that has bought into what we're trying to do has helped as well.

Q. What do you have to do to neutralize [Bismack] Biyombo?
LeBRON JAMES: We shot 32 percent from the floor, and he grabbed basically every single one of those rebounds. He did a great job of getting some tip-offs, too, offensively. If he's going to get the defensive rebounds, we've got to do a better job of not allowing him to get the offensive rebounds, getting them other opportunities. Last game we had a couple rebounds that were in our hands and we let them get through and he was able to tap out for three-pointers. Defensive rebounds, we're okay with that because we need to start getting back on the regs when guys are shooting the shots. But the offensive rebounds, we've got to control it.

Q. When in your career did you realize that you're not going to get calls that maybe somebody smaller -- the hits that they would take, that you're not going to get those flagrant calls or get the benefit of the doubt?
LeBRON JAMES: I really don't get involved in it too much. I just play the game and let the referees decide what the call may be and just move on. I can't have my focus go somewhere else that allows my energy to be somewhere else where it shouldn't be.

Q. Knowing how valuable you are to your team, do you think opponents will take liberties getting physical with you knowing that there's no way you would retaliate?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't know. I mean, that's a question for an opponent. I think our refs do a great job, I think our league does a great job of protecting our players, and that's all that matters. I would hope it never gets to a point where it gets outside of basketball and competition, but you never know. I protect myself, my teammates protect me, the refs protect all our players, and the league protects all the players as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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