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September 18, 2020

LeBron James

Los Angeles Lakers

Game 1: Postgame

Los Angeles Lakers 126, Denver Nuggets 114

Q. With you and AD and then in the lineup when Dwight joined you in the frontline, what are ways you can impose your physicality, athleticism, size, how can this play out in this series?

LEBRON JAMES: We just tried to follow the game plan. Try not to foul and put teams on the free throw line because those are easy points and we just trust our game plan. We trust our, what we've been doing all throughout the course of this whole year. We have a lot of length out there with myself, AD, Dwight, KCP and Danny at the start of that third quarter, and we were able to get some deflections, get some turnovers and get out and do what we do best on the break.

You know, just having that type of size and that athleticism helps tremendously.

Q. You've talked about using Game 1 as a feel-out game. Was there anything even after the first quarter that you guys identified when things seemed to switch for you defensively starting in the second quarter?

LEBRON JAMES: Well, yeah, we knew the first quarter definitely wasn't Laker basketball, Laker defense. We just had some break downs. We had some break downs, took a quarter for us to kind of figure it out. Not saying that we fully figured them out because it's too early in the series to say that but started to get a better feel and rhythm defensively and started to get some stops in the second quarter and build that lead up going into halftime.

Q. We spoke about the MVP award with you in March and you said it's not something that's ever motivated you and your true motivation is to be considered the best ever, but when you see the results come out today, knowing you've won it four times but now you've come in second four times, what's that feeling like for you, and what did you think of the results?

LEBRON JAMES: Pissed me off. That's my true answer. It pissed me off because out of 101 votes, I got 16 first-place votes. That's what pissed me off more than anything. You know, not saying that the winner wasn't deserving of the MVP.

But that pissed me off. And I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship, and now four times as an MVP. You know, like I said, I never came into this league to be MVP or to be a champion. I've always just wanted to get better and better every single day, and those things will take care of itself. But some things is just out of my hand and some things you can't control.

But it pissed me off.

Q. Did you surprise yourself by the reaction you had when you saw those results? Did you know that -- I'm just wondering if you knew that you would have this strong of a reaction to seeing those numbers.


Q. Do you feel like the MVP criteria is something that rewards the Most Valuable Player in the league?

LEBRON JAMES: I don't know. I'm not going to sit up here and talk about what the criteria should be or what it is.

It's changed over the years since I've gotten into the league, I know that. You know, it's just changed. It's changed a lot. You know, sometimes it's the best player on the best team. Sometimes it's the guy with the best season statistically. Sometimes -- it's changed over the course -- over the course of my career. I mean, you don't know. You don't know.

But you know, Giannis had a hell of a season, I can definitely say that.

Q. In the past when you've had, call them slight or whatever, when you've finished second in the past, did it bother you as much? And the next question would be, how much of your strong reaction do you think has to do with the fact that you've done what you've done in year 17 at 35 with a new team? Does that factor into your kind of emotion here?

LEBRON JAMES: I mean, I'm fine. Don't get it twisted. I'm going back to my room. I'm perfectly fine. We're 1-0 in the Western Conference Finals. I'm absolutely fine. So don't -- like I was pissed off at the reaction earlier when I saw it. I'm absolutely great now. I'm going back to my room, drink some wine and sleep very well tonight. Let's not get it twisted. I'm great.

It's just the voting scale is a little weird to me sometimes. I mean, it you take 2012. If you just stick with me -- or 2012-13, I had a chance to be Defensive Player of the Year and also MVP in the same season. And that year [Marc] Gasol was [voted] Defensive Player of the Year, but he made Second Team All-Defense, okay.

So that doesn't make sense. It's like being MVP of the league but you make Second Team All-NBA. That's when I really started to look at things kind of like differently. I was like, how does that even make any sense. It's like being Rookie of the Year but you make Second Team All-Rookie.

And then I looked at the Most Improved this year, and rightfully so Brandon Ingram was amazing and I thought he should have won it. But did you see the vote that Devonte' Graham got? He averaged four points last year compared to 17 and a half. If that's not improving, what is?

And it's a weird thing sometimes that you just have -- I don't know how much we are really watching the game of basketball or are we just in the narration mode, the narrative.

Q. Given all this team has been through and all you've had to lead them through, how would you compare this to years you've won MVP?

LEBRON JAMES: I don't even remember. I don't remember, actually. I don't know. I don't remember. I don't remember to be completely honest. It would be hard for me to answer that question.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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