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May 16, 2017

LeBron James

Boston, Massachusetts: Practice Day

Q. How happy are you that you finally know now who you're playing?
LEBRON JAMES: We put in a lot of work these last few days, and it's exciting for us to get back on the court. We're playing against a worthy opponent, great coaching staff, great players, and we're looking forward to the challenge.

Q. You've crossed paths a lot with the Celtics in the playoffs. What do you appreciate the most about that franchise and its place in our game?
LEBRON JAMES: The two winningest franchises are the Lakers and Celtics, and you know the history of the game. So you just respect that. You look up in the stands and see the banners and see the jerseys retired and things of that nature, you respect the history it's created to this point.

Q. Do you pause to kind of look at all that stuff?
LEBRON JAMES: I don't think I've paused, but I've actually looked up there and seen how cool it was. But I haven't paused in my career yet at all.

Q. We've tried to get you to say you have a rivalry with the Warriors a hundred times. Lots of times you say there's just not enough history there yet. With the Celtics, you have a history. Can you have a rivalry with a jersey? Because they don't have any of the players from the old days.
LEBRON JAMES: I don't know. It's not for me to talk about. At the end of the day, the Celtics are our next opponent, and like I said, they're a worthy opponent. We have to game-plan every game. We have to game-plan for what they bring to the table, and we have to mentally focus on our challenges that we have every game.

Q. During a long layoff, what are the challenges of staying with your mental focus or what is needed for the playoffs?
LEBRON JAMES: We've been focused this whole week. We got a couple days off Monday and Tuesday after we clinched versus Toronto, but since then, we've been putting in work mentally and physically. As far as our mental side, I'm not worried about that. It's always like the rhythm. It'll be 10 days tomorrow since we played a game. The rhythm is something you kind of like see if we still have it. But as far as the mental side, mentally we're focused.

Q. Is starting on the road a good thing along those lines? Does that help sharpen that focus?
LEBRON JAMES: It doesn't matter. It's the playoffs. It doesn't matter if you're starting at home or on the road. You should be focused, and if not, you shouldn't be a part of the playoffs anyway.

Q. What did you take away or learn from that early-April game against the Celtics?
LEBRON JAMES: Nothing. Two different teams. We're a totally different team and they're a totally different team at this point. So I take nothing from it.

Q. How amazed are you at what Isaiah [Thomas] has been able to do considering everything he's gone through during this postseason?
LEBRON JAMES: I think at the end of the day, basketball is the easiest way to get away from anything that you may be going through -- and I said that already. It's like a comfort. You see your teammates, you see the court, you see the excitement, and you're playing something that you've been loving and things of that nature forever. Even with him going through what he's been going through with his personal family and his sister, which is -- I can't put myself in his shoes. He's been unbelievable to be able to do that.

Q. You guys have played eight games out of about 40 days now. This time of year, what's that do for your body?
LEBRON JAMES: I feel worse when I don't play. I told you that. So it does nothing for me.

Q. Isaiah Thomas said he watched your Game 7 versus Paul Pierce to get fired up for this game last night. Do you think that's cool that a young guy would do that, or have you ever done that yourself to find inspiration from history or something?
LEBRON JAMES: No, it's always to each his own. It's whatever puts you in the mindset to get ready to go out and play. No, I've never watched previous games and things of that nature. But I think it's to each his own. Obviously it worked. He had a hell of a game last night.

Q. Is Isaiah's stop-and-go as tough as anybody's in the league, and what kind of a challenge is that defensively?
LEBRON JAMES: No, there's a handful of guys. Two of them were on the court at the same time, John [Wall] and Isaiah. Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Mike Conley. That's just to name five off the top of my head. There are some very, very good players that know how to do that. It's going to be very challenging for us defensively, but it should be. It's the postseason, and we shouldn't want it any other way.

Q. Kelly Olynyk has a history with you guys, and last series he had the thing with Kelly Oubre. Do you think he's a dirty player?
LEBRON JAMES: I'm not about storylines. We just come to play basketball. You guys are trying to create storylines. I'm not for it. The only storyline is Celtics versus Cavs and who is going to win this series.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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