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May 17, 2017

LeBron James

Kevin Love

Boston, Massachusetts: Postgame

Cavaliers - 117, Celtics - 104.

Q. Right now would you say this is the most comfortable you've felt in your entire career?
LeBRON JAMES: It's too hard to say. Just trying to make plays for myself, make plays for my teammates, keep the defense off balance throughout the course of a 48-minute game. The coaching staff and my teammates do a great job of putting me in a position to succeed, and I just try to come through for them every night.

Tonight was another one of those games where I made a couple plays to help us get a win. But it was definitely our two bigs that set the tone. Kev [Love] and Double T [Tristan Thompson], they were phenomenal.

Q. Kevin, you've obviously played here a bunch since Game 4 of 2015, but just because it was a playoff game and you played so well, did you have any flashbacks to that night?
KEVIN LOVE: No, I was just mentioning, I didn't even think about it. It wasn't something that really crossed my mind.

Having been hurt a couple years ago in the playoffs in the first round, I didn't get a chance to play in the Eastern Conference Finals when we were on the road. So tonight we really got off to a great start. It was a great atmosphere, and more than anything else, focused on that and our game plan.

Q. Social media is making a big deal of this. I was wondering your thoughts: It looked like Isaiah tried to grab your ankle there when he was kind of laying on the baseline. Did you see that, and if you did, did you think it was malicious in any way?
KEVIN LOVE: On what play?

Q. There was a play where he was on the ground and it looked like he tried to grab your ankle as you were going away.
KEVIN LOVE: Yeah, I mean, I didn't see it, truthfully. I don't know the play.

Q. Kevin, what does it do for you to get featured the way you were to start the second quarter? You told us in the off week that the numbers don't matter as long as you guys win, but when Ty says he's going to go to you and then he goes to you, what does that do for you?
KEVIN LOVE: He just inserted me in a different lineup. Whether it was Bron, Tristan on the short roll or Kyrie, those guys playing downhill, they were finding me. But it was really a group effort. Bron said it, we wanted to come in and set the tone and dictate the game, and we felt like we did a good job of doing that.

As far as that second quarter, I thought I got a lot of great shots and was being aggressive in the first, so it wasn't just me. I felt like everybody was moving the ball, passing the ball well and, like I mentioned, on both ends of the floor our game plan was pretty tight.

Q. LeBron, by my count they put about eight different defenders on you. When you're having success no matter who they're putting on you, do you think that does anything for you momentum-wise or does it defeat them when they're trying so many different options and none of them are working?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't think it's no momentum. I pretty much know how many guys I'm going to see throughout the course of a game. I know the guy that's going to start on me. I know the guy that's going to shift off onto me if a sub happens or if they go small or if they go big. For me, the only thing on my mind is how we can execute the best way we can and get a bucket in this possession, either if I can get myself a shot or if I can drive, get my shooters a shot, or if I can get a double-team in the paint or get to the free throw line.

It's not an individual matchup for me, no matter who's in front of me. My mind is always racing on how I can make this the best possession at that particular time.

Q. LeBron, I know you study the game the way you do; are you setting up Kevin to get the best out of him from perhaps back to his Minnesota days? And Kevin, is this as good as you've felt in terms of your comfort zone, year three with the team?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, for me I saw that in Kev this morning. I knew what type of game he was going to have. I mean, he came through for us. We want the mentality of Kevin from Minnesota, but his usage rate don't have to be as high as Minnesota. Obviously we all know that he was a featured guy pretty much every possession going down the floor, and here that's changed a little bit because we have other guys. But his mentality needs to stay the same as Minnesota, and I think as he continues to get even more comfortable and comfortable -- tonight was one of those instances where every time he got the ball, it was a small guarding him or somebody was in the post, he was aggressive. He grabbed every rebound for the most part with him and Tristan in the paint, and he was very aggressive with his shot. He also got to the free throw line 10 times -- well, nine. So definitely that mentality from Minnesota is what we all love.

Q. LeBron, how did you manage with all the days off kind of keep the discipline day in and day out, and Kevin, too, with all the time you guys had off and making sure the momentum was still there?
LeBRON JAMES: We put in a lot of work. We put in a lot of work. Coach gave us a couple days off after we closed the series in Toronto, but after that we've been on the practice court or in the weight room training as if we were playing.

There's no way you can substitute a game. We all know that. But the work that we put in this week, we just tried to be as up to speed as possible when the game did come. Tonight was just another opportunity for us to implement our scheme. Our coaching staff gave us a great game plan, and it was up to us to go out and execute it.

Q. LeBron, you've had a lot of playoff moments here in this building, some great moments for you, some disappointments, as well. There seemed to be a relentlessness or a ruthlessness in your game and in your approach tonight. Is that for you? Is that for your teammates? Or is that for the opponent?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I think it's the mindset that you have to have when you go on the road for a Game 1. You can't start the game off lax or shooting a bunch of jump shots. That's my mindset. We've got guys that can shoot the heck out of a ball, and obviously Kev showed that tonight. But for myself, I have to be in attack mode and just put the pressure on the defense and see what happens. I was able to do that and kind of just set the tone early on what we needed to do. Once I started to see the defense start to crack in, then I started to find my shooters.

I don't even think we played that great tonight. We definitely didn't shoot the ball as well as we're capable of shooting. I know Kyle had three or four very, very good looks that he missed when we had a good stretch. But I think the energy and the effort and the mindset was where it needed to be starting on the road, especially in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Q. Ty said before the game that with the strategy that you're using defensively, you're going to give something up, and sometimes it's going to be open shots, and you have to be okay with that. How do you get to a point or what does it take to be okay with giving up uncontested shots at times?
KEVIN LOVE: I think that's kind of been our blueprint is we're just taking the ball out of -- whether it's the first option or second option's hand, and making other guys make plays. We know that they have a number of guys, that they're well-coached as well, they've got that next man up. They have a lot of skill guys, a lot of guys that can shoot the basketball, a lot of guys that can score in bunches. We felt like, as Bron mentioned, we came in with a great mindset on the road, a great game plan, and just tried to make other guys make plays, maybe put them in uncomfortable situations. But more than anything, defensively we have the next-man-up mentality. We always have our brothers' backs, and second, third and fourth efforts for us.

Tonight we were pretty good on the defensive end. As Bron said, we felt like we could have played better, and there's some things we'll look at tomorrow that we'll be better for Friday.

Q. Kevin, I was just wondering if you could answer his question about how you feel about being comfortable after three years, and now you're healthy; seems like it's all coming together at this point.
KEVIN LOVE: Sure. As I mentioned to Ty [Lue] last week and throughout these playoffs, it doesn't matter to me if I'm getting five shots or 25 shots, I just want to win. I know I can impact the game whether it shows up in the stat sheet or not. I think that has allowed me to be comfortable out there on the floor, knowing that my mindset is really there, still being aggressive and making plays, as I mentioned, whether those are showing up or not. But just having all these guys' back and being there for them is huge, and I embrace that.

Q. You can't say what you saw this morning out of him, can you?
LeBRON JAMES: I like you, though, Marla; I really do.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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