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May 28, 2007

LeBron James


Q. How do you follow up the biggest game of your career?
LEBRON JAMES: Just mentally try to prepare ourselves to be focused today and try to hold down home court, make it a three-game series. We've got to try to do our best to try to win the game. We know they're going to come out strong, and we've got to try to match the intensity.

Q. You talked yesterday about not wanting to go down 3-0 because that's almost trying to do the impossible, where does going down 3-1 rank? Does that also feel like --
LEBRON JAMES: No, it's not doing the impossible when you go down 3-1. It's definitely going to be a challenge, but we don't even want to think about that. We want to try the tie the series up 2-2 and make it a three-game series.

Q. Why was the difference when you looked at some film today that you guys were able to close it down in the fourth quarter as opposed to the fourth quarter of the last two games?
LEBRON JAMES: It was about execution. We've been able to get stops in the fourth quarter. That hasn't been our problem. What's been our problem is we haven't been able to execute offensively, we've turned the ball over, not even getting looks at the basket. But we had a lot of great looks, we moved the basketball from one side to another, made a defensive shift, and we connected on it.

Q. Given the spectrum of that game, does that make you want to go home and rewatch it all?
LEBRON JAMES: For me I watch film all the time, so I got an opportunity to watch it twice already. It was definitely a great performance by our team. We definitely took the challenge and we answered the call. We did a great job of keying up our crowd's intensity, and we showed why we're one of the best teams in the NBA.

Q. Did you feel like you really needed to pick up the scoring slack, just try to do more?
LEBRON JAMES: That wasn't much of me trying to score more, it was trying to be more aggressive, and if that had to do with me getting to the basket and scoring or making the winning play for our team, to try to make a good shot at the basket. One thing we want to do in the second half was just try to execute, especially down the stretch, not turn the ball over, at least try to get a shot at the basket. We knocked them down.

Q. It seemed early in the game you were taking the ball off the rim and just going to the basket right away and not giving Detroit a chance, how much of an importance is that going to be tomorrow?
LEBRON JAMES: It's very important. Like I said before, their defense is very good when you allow them to set up in the half court, and we try to want to get up the court as fast as possible, try to get some early offense opportunities, where we can get to the basket without their defense being set. It's also important for me to catch a rhythm and it's important for our team at the same time, and we took advantage of it.

Q. The Western Conference, you've seen the teams starting to run away with it by the middle of the second half and the fourth quarter isn't as important, what is it about the type of basketball in the Eastern Conference that makes that fourth quarter just so do or die?
LEBRON JAMES: We definitely defend. You know, we take pride in the Eastern Conference about defending, and that's not saying that Utah and San Antonio don't, because they're very great defensive teams, but we rely more on our defense in the Eastern Conference, and we know it's important.

Q. How does that change the importance of the fourth quarter in this series?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, it's all about execution down the stretch. We know the fourth quarter is definitely going to be some hard fouls, there's going to be a lot of things going on in the fourth quarter because we know the game is going to be tight. We have to do a good job of executing offensively and defensively and try and take what's there.

Q. Even when you finish off those two deep post catches, you sit here and don't you think it's key for you to keep doing that?
LEBRON JAMES: Definitely. I definitely felt comfortable yesterday by just trying to attack the defense early. I got a few early post catches, didn't convert them like you said, but it felt pretty good to get down there, and it definitely helped the team.

Q. What about the electricity coming from the fans? Do you sense it here in the locker room?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, last night we did. Today is definitely -- everyone is ready to eat some barbecue, I guess, and forget about last night, but we'll get ready for tomorrow night.

Q. "Execute" is a broad word. What do you actually do or what did you do last night to make those shots fall in?
LEBRON JAMES: What we did was almost everyone touched the basketball. It wasn't just give the ball to me and let me make a play and see if I can get it to somebody else. I caught the ball in the post one time and we did a great job on the backside of flood and Daniel Gibson got a wide open three. The next time we ran our offense I was able to come off a pick-and-roll and hit Z, and then Z hit Drew for an open jump shot. So it's important for us to continue to move their defense because it allows us to get better shots on the backside.

Q. There were a fair number of dunks last night that were very difficult, what changed out there? What did you do differently and what did they do differently that opened up some of those lanes?
LEBRON JAMES: I'm not quite sure. Those lanes were definitely there. I just wanted to try to attack as much as possible, and some of the small lanes that I was able to find, I wanted to be able to take advantage of. I definitely took advantage of them and my teammates did a great job of spacing the floor to allow me to get into the lane and do the type of things I was able to do last night.

Q. How early are you coming to the arena tomorrow?
LEBRON JAMES: I don't know (laughter). I don't know.

Q. What kind of adjustments do you see Detroit making in Game 4?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, as always, you need to be able to adjust -- they're definitely going to try to keep me out of the lane in the fourth quarter and the whole game, but that's been the emphasis the whole series is to try to keep me out of the lane and try to make my teammates beat them. I think my teammates are focused, they know they're going to have to do a big part of contributing, and that's going to allow us to win.

Q. Depending on how Larry feels, talk about the role Gibson plays in Game 4.
LEBRON JAMES: He's important to our team. Hopefully Larry is healthy enough to play tomorrow, but we don't know at this point, and if he's not, one thing that -- we've played without him. We don't like to, but we have done it, so it's something that's not new to us. "Boog" has started a lot of games this year, so he knows the role. He knows how big he is, and he knows how to play in front of a big crowd on a big stage.

Q. The performance he had last night, do you think that would help him should he have to step in?
LEBRON JAMES: He's mentally prepared to play, whatever role is given to him. It's not about what he did last night or what he's done in the past. He's mentally prepared to go out there and be a big player on our team. We need him out there on the court just because of the way he can shoot the ball, the way he defends, and he's going to be big for us.

Q. He said that he earned your trust and he could keep it by knocking down shots, how much trust do you have in him?
LEBRON JAMES: I have a lot. I believe every time he catches the basketball on the perimeter, he can make a basketball play, and I'm not just saying that he can cast up a three. I believe he can do a lot of things off the dribble, he can shoot the basketball extremely well. On the other end, he plays with a lot of heart defensively, and he showcased that last night.

Q. This may be over-thinking it, but is there any danger of giving him too much respect because of their history of bouncing back after losses?
LEBRON JAMES: No, it's not all about history here. It's about us trying to hold down our home court, and it's just like us, we've been a very good team after losing ballgames, too. I think they're going to make a lot of adjustments, we're going to make a lot of adjustments, and we'll be ready to play tomorrow.

Q. Can you explain Mike's comment to us last night about random offense? Just explain how random is random?
LEBRON JAMES: You know, it's a different type of random offense. Last night we got to a lot of random offense but we were able to be comfortable with it. What he doesn't like is when we come down and we take early jump shots, maybe one passing shot or just come down and not get into our sets and not getting our spacing. Last night we had a lot of random offense but it was successful because we had a lot of spacing, we had a lot of ball movement, we had a lot of player movement and it worked in our favor.

Q. Is that a groove that you maybe weren't able to get into the first two games, that you kind of found a balance?
LEBRON JAMES: Oh, definitely. You've got to try to attack this team early, as much as possible, and I think it works in our favor at times.

Q. Larry just said that he doesn't think he's going to play tomorrow. What does that do to you guys?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, it definitely hurts us. If Larry is not able to play tomorrow it definitely hurts us because he's experienced and how well we've been with him at the point guard and how well he defends and how well he's able to shoot the ball. It definitely will hurt us, but at the same time, the best thing about it is we've played without him. Like I said, we don't like to, but we've played without him so guys are going to have to step up. It's something we can't control.

Q. What do you like about playing with Gibson?
LEBRON JAMES: His intensity. I think offensively and defensively he's very in tune, and his ability to knock down open shots. That's definitely a gift for me. It makes sure the defense stays on us, especially with him out on the court, that he can make an open shot and he can get to the lane, also. And then on the other end he's not a liability. That's important for us.

Q. You changed your routine before Game 3. What about changing your routine at halftime to get over these third quarter lulls?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, we didn't start out too good last night in the third quarter, but we definitely ended it the right way. We didn't get too down on ourselves. I don't know, we have to put our finger on it soon, getting better in the third quarter.

Q. Is there anything Daniel Gibson has done at a practice or something about knocking down however many threes in a row, where you were like, yeah, he's got it?
LEBRON JAMES: No, I just think his before-and-after practice workout, that he definitely stays before (and after). I'm there before practice and he's always there, and after practice I'm shooting and he's always shooting. When I'm off the court, he's still shooting. He has a lot to prove, being a second-round draft pick and people saying he shouldn't have come out of college, he was too young. He has a lot to prove.

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