September 20, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers
Game 2: Postgame
Los Angeles Lakers 105, Denver Nuggets 103
Q. Last time you were in the playoffs, you made a couple game-winners, and that seemed to be something that has become such a big part of your skill set and persona on the court these days. What's it like to see a teammate that clearly you have great chemistry with that you wanted to have be in L.A. with you be the guy to make that shot and win this game for you guys?
LeBRON JAMES: Did you see my reaction?
Q. It's all smiles.
LeBRON JAMES: No, did you see my reaction after he made it?
Q. I didn't get to see it.
LeBRON JAMES: I tried to chase him down just like every last one of the teammates and staff that we had out there. Special moment for a special player. Happy to be a part of it.
Q. What does it take to want to take the pressure to take on a shot like that, and the fact that he was able to have that kind of moment, what will it do for his confidence going forward in situations like this?
LeBRON JAMES: It's not about making a shot. It's about having a belief of just taking it, for one, and living with the result. I think right back to our game right before COVID hit. We played Brooklyn at home and he had a similar shot right on that left wing in front of their bench to win the game and he missed it. He was down on himself, but at the end of the day, I told him, if you're open, and I was able to drive that particular game and find him wide open and he just missed it.
But it's just the confidence to take the shot. You're not going to make them all, but the belief to just take it and live with the results is what it's all about. Tonight was his moment. Tonight was his moment to find a space, hunt the ball down and one of our top 10 assists leaders, Rondo, found him and he knocked it down. A big-time play.
Q. Even before that, he and Jokic were trading buckets. Were you getting the sense that he was sort of rising to that particular duel, even before that game-winning shot?
LeBRON JAMES: No, it's not about an individual matchup. It's about us trying to execute and him just coming through for us. That's what he did. It wasn't, okay, your turn, my turn. It's about playing the game and trying to find ways to make an impact.
Obviously, those two big shots that he had at the end, one was the floater to take the lead. Joker was able to get the tip-in, and he comes back in with the three. Just big-time plays, like I said, for a big-time player.
Q. AD is the kind of player that has had the skill set to do that for a long time but he is now with a team that is at a championship level competing for a championship, being in the Conference Finals. What do you think that's like for him to finally get to be in the big moments?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't know. That's actually an AD question. Just happy to have him. I know what he brought to the table. I know what he's about. I know his skill set. That's why I wanted him here so badly.
Q. You didn't have a timeout on that last play. Were you able to talk about scenarios in which something like that could have happened?
LeBRON JAMES: That's what this floor right here that we're all on right now is all about. It's the practices; it's the shootarounds. We talk about every single scenario possible: up three; down three; up two; down two; do we have a foul to give, do we not; do we have a timeout, do we not; are we going full-court; half-court; BOB, which is baseline out-of-bounds; SOB, sideline out-of-bounds. You talk about all those things. You want to be a championship club, you have to be able to do that on the fly.
So knowing we didn't have a timeout, we were able to get into a situation to a set that we worked on in practice and get right to it. The first option, for me if Do [Rondo] saw me over the top, and if not, AD flashes. And the rest is history.
Q. You said it's not making the shot; it's taking it. Caruso similar, took it right away. He's been really vocal in huddles and stuff like that. Where does he fit on the leadership hierarchy on the team and how important is his confidence to step up and take a shot?
LeBRON JAMES: When you are trying to play high-level basketball, you have to have high-level IQ players, and he's one of them. And not only does he have high-level IQ, but he also plays with high energy. We know what we're going to get out of him every night.
It's not about him making shots. We know he's going to defend and he's going to play at a level that he's capable of playing at, and we all know that once he checks into the game every single night. We know what to expect out of him. To be honest, when he makes shots, it's extra credit for us. But he puts that work in on his offensive skill set to get better and better. We love everything about him.
Q. If I could jump off the court for a second, if I read the sweatshirt correctly, it said, "Change isn't made from watching on the sidelines, you're more than a vote," a sweatshirt that you wore on the way in. I wanted to ask you about that and where your mindset is as this one continues, and where your mind is outside of the court, I should say.
LeBRON JAMES: For sure. I know we're here playing the game, but I'm not losing the fact of what's important, as well. More than a vote, it's about protecting black voters and voter suppression that goes on in our communities.
Like you said, change isn't made by sitting on the sidelines. That's one of our slogans and we're very proud of that. Getting the people that want to join us, getting them gear and wearing the T-shirt and wearing the hats and wearing the hoodies, because when they go in their community, that's something that they can continue to enlighten, continue to educate, continue to make people empowered about this movement.
We always talk about change in our communities, and now we have an opportunity. We have an opportunity to really create change for the better and we look forward to this opportunity.
Q. Going back to 2009, do you remember the bank shot against Orlando? What was it like going to sleep to, hit a shot that you dream of growing up, isn't that what that situation is?
LeBRON JAMES: To be completely honest, man, it was probably one of the greatest moments of my career up until that point. Just knowing the situation, we were about to go down 0-2 and we had home-court advantage. We knew how powerful that Orlando team was, playing against actually my teammate now in Dwight. So for me to be able to hit that shot was a huge moment for me. I was still a young kid at the time, so big-time.
The one thing I wish AD had tonight with the shot that he made, I wish we were playing at Staples. We miss our fans so much and I can imagine in -- I probably would have blue the roof off Staples Center, AD hitting that shot with our crowd. I would have loved to have that moment -- I know what it felt like for me when I was able to hit that shot that you mentioned against Orlando, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals at the buzzer.
Q. AD has talked about how much he's leaned on you throughout the playoffs, and obviously he's played outstanding in the Western Conference Finals. Curious what's the biggest thing that you've tried to instill in him during that time?
LeBRON JAMES: I think just staying even-keeled. That's what it's all about. The playoffs and the postseason, the more you advance into the postseason, the emotions and the adversity, it's going to be a roller coaster at times. No matter if you're up, no matter if you're down, being able to keep your composure and your mindset on the main thing is very important. This is the furthest he's gone in his career up to this point, and.
I'm just happy to be here with him to give him any advice and lean on me. To be completely honest, in the second half, I leaned on him, and he brought us home. So I just tried to set the example early on, and we leaned on him, especially in the fourth quarter, and he brought us home.
Q. Anthony came to L.A. asking for this pressure and asking for this burden to be a great player in the playoffs. This is obviously a process that you've gone through. What is the challenge for an athlete both to ask for that, to seek that out, but then also to perform when that moment comes?
LeBRON JAMES: I don't know. I think for me, it's always been about the man in the arena, the quote from Theodore Roosevelt. It's about the guy that's in the arena that's gone through everything -- the blood, the sweat, the tears and, in our situation, the competition.
I's about the work that you put in and the belief in yourself. It's not about the doubters or the naysayers or the people who are going to try to talk to you and slander you and bring you down every single day. It's not about them because they have never been in the arena. They don't understand.
AD, he knows how special he is and when he doesn't, I'll be the first one to tell him how special he is. He wanted to be here. I'm happy he wanted to be here, because if he didn't, we wouldn't have a moment like tonight. That's what it's all about.
You put that pressure on yourself when you don't really care what other people think, because what other people think doesn't really matter because they don't understand. Anybody can talk from outside, but if they got into the ring or they got into the arena, probably 10 times out of 10, they [expletive] their pants.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports