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May 23, 2016

LeBron James

Toronto, Ontario: Game Four

Toronto - 105, Cleveland - 99

Q. LeBron, we were talking a little bit about it back there, but you score 14 possessions in a row, and it's not enough to put them away. How frustrating was it from a defensive side that as well as you played offensively it wasn't enough there at the end?
LeBRON JAMES: It wasn't enough because we got off to a horrible first half once again in this building, and you're playing catch-up the whole game. So every defensive possession feels even more intensified when you've given up so many points in the first half. I think they've averaged 58 or something like that in the first half here, and in the high 30s the second half. It gets a little bit more intensified, but it just goes back to the first half. We're not starting off games the right way. The second quarter has been really bad for us here, so we've got do a better job of that where we can't dig ourselves such a big hole and now every possession feels even more intensified late in the game.

Q. You guys shot 14 threes the first quarter. A lot of them were open looks but they weren't falling. You seemed to move off of the line after that. Was that by design?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I mean, of course. We've got to be more well-balanced. We started the game, we had some great looks, but when they're not going, you've got to be able to try to switch it up and get into the paint and see what you can do. I was able to get into the paint a little bit, Kyrie [Irving] as well. But we just haven't shot the ball from the three-point line. That's part of what they're doing as well, but it's part of us being a little bit more conscious about, okay, if it's not going down, then we've got to get into the paint a little bit more and then kick out for threes as well.

Q. You said this morning you had a game plan for yourself. From the outside it didn't look drastically different the way you played tonight compared to the other series. Did you have something different in mind?
LeBRON JAMES: I think I played to the game plan that I wanted to play, both offensively and defensively. For me, I gave everything that I had in the 46 minutes that I played, both offensively and defensively. I felt great. Tried to get my guys involved, get myself involved. My individual game plan was pretty good.

Q. In the second quarter you mentioned you guys got outscored 30-17. Was it a matter of effort or execution or what was going on?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't know. I've got to watch the film to see the mistakes that we made. But they put it on us good in the second quarter, obviously 30-17. I think Kyle [Lowry] hit some huge shots in that second quarter. [DeMar] DeRozan hit some big shots as well. I've got to go over the film, but obviously 30-17 is not a good ingredient for a win.

Q. How difficult is it to overcome when two players on the opposing team both go for 30 plus?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, first of all you tip your hat to DeMar and Kyle. They did a great job. They're All-Stars for a reason. That's why they're here today. They've carried this team all season. But even at the end of the day, as well as they played, we still had a chance. We still had a chance to win the ballgame. That's all you can ask for. But what we can't do is dig ourselves the hole that we did in the first half.

Q. When you guys started executing like that in the second half offensively and everything was clicking, it was crisp passing. How can you transfer that same type of execution on the defensive end?
LeBRON JAMES: I think defensively when we made that run, we played some really good defense. I think we had a couple breakdowns that I know in my head that happened throughout the run, but they also made some tough shots. They made some tough shots. They made some tough shots while we were making that run. Cory Joseph made a tough runner over the top of me going right. I think Kyle made a couple tough ones. DeMar made a couple pull-ups as well. We followed our game plan as much as 95 percent of the time. I can remember two plays that I'm not going to say right now that I wish we had back. But while we made our run, our defense stepped up, and that was good to see.

Q. That fourth quarter, with that second unit group that you played with, that's when you guys started getting your mojo back. As the quarter came to a close, other players started coming back in. My question is is that lineup that you had right there, is that built to go the distance, or is it just a stopgap?
LeBRON JAMES: I think whatever lineup coach [Tyronn] Lue puts on the floor can go the distance. We're all professionals. We have a great group of guys, so no matter who's on the floor, we have to execute. We have to play to our identity. I think our second unit did a great job of giving us a boost and whoever comes in after that has to continue to play at a high level.

We do a great job as a first unit at times of picking up our second unit, and then at times our second unit does a great job of picking us up. At the end of the day, whoever is on the floor, we have to play with the same intensity both offensively and defensively.

Q. Can you talk about your passing ability? You do such a good job getting your teammates involved, and when you get the trap and double-team, you find the open man for good shots.
LeBRON JAMES: I've been blessed with a gift to pass the ball and to see the floor, and I just try to take advantage to help my teammates. I think that's one of my biggest gifts. I love getting my guys involved and making them feel a part of something special. Even me being in my 13th year in the NBA, it all started when I was a kid. My little league coach always said, There's no I in team. Obviously, we've all heard that, but when you get guys involved, it makes the game a lot easier. It's always stuck with me to this point today.

Q. There was a sense that you guys might not lose another game all season when you came here this weekend, and I saw the confidence in you this morning when you said, we've got this. What has happened this weekend, and when you look in the eyes of all the guys in your room, what do you see about the future?
LeBRON JAMES: I think it's a sense of the outsiders, which I've never really got involved with, saying we may never lose another game. I don't get involved in it, besides talking to you guys and when I see you guys, is all I know about it. I don't know anything that's going on outside because I don't watch. I don't watch sports TV. I don't read news clippings. I go home and I watch cartoons with my kids and watch movie channels and Man Vs. Wild and things like that because that's what really is important to me.

What the outside people say, I don't really get involved with. And I am a confident guy. I'm always confident in my ability and what I can bring to my team, whatever the case may be, whatever the circumstances are. Going back home, we have to play a lot better, and I think we will.

Q. You talked about that deficit. With as good a team as you are and as good of a player as you are, do you feel like when you took the lead by three, you had them at that point?
LeBRON JAMES: I definitely thought we had finally got over the curve of how we wanted to play here in this building. But you've still got to get stops, and they did a great job of just making shot after shot after shot, even when our run was happening. You give them a lot of credit with that. They withstand our run and us giving up 54 percent shooting, a lot of it in the first half. Like I said, when you dig a hole like that, I think we were down by 18 at one point. Again, when you dig a hole like that, like I said, every possession after that is so intensified. We got to a point where we were up, but we made a couple more mistakes and they was able to pull away.

Q. You started off on DeMar, and you guys were switching for the most part and it seemed like they were able to use a screen to get you off of him, get the shot that he wanted. Is switching effective with these two guys when they know that's what you guys are doing?
LeBRON JAMES: I think they did a good job of kind of moving him around. With me on him, they feel like trying to get me up off of him with a screen, either with a guard so they can force the switch -- that's part of our defense. But when they screen with a big, we have a goal that we want to try to attack.

I think we'll be a lot better on what we want to do and how we want to handle those two guys, because they're playing exceptional basketball. They're 28 for 43. I mean, that's top-of-the-tier numbers right there, and they both went for 30. We've got to be much better in our schemes and doing it a little bit harder as well.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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