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June 8, 2007

LeBron James


Q. How much did championship experience play a factor in last night's game? Is there anything you can do to kind of close the gap the rest of the series?
LEBRON JAMES: It definitely played a lot, us never being a part of it, but that's not an excuse for us, because we've been in games in the Eastern Conference Finals we've never been apart of and we didn't make an excuse. It's something we've been able to adjust throughout the course of a series. That's going to be the biggest thing to try to, adjust to Game 2 from Game 1 and get better.

Q. Tony Parker last night had 12 buckets, 11 were in the lane. Why is it so hard to keep him from getting to the rim even though you know that's his intention?
LEBRON JAMES: I guess if every team in the NBA knew the answer he wouldn't be able to lead the league in points in paint all the time. He's very good, he's very quick, and he knows where he wants to get on the court. It's very difficult, but basically we're going to have to challenge ourselves to keep him out of the paint. But at the same time, I think their team does a great job of executing some of the defensive schemes against him which allows him to get to the paint. We'll have to contain him a little bit better.

Q. I preface this by saying I know you're 22 and your focus is basketball, but on the larger issue of social issues, what does your gut tell you when you're done playing basketball, do you think you're going to be more Muhammad Ali or more Michael Jordan?
LEBRON JAMES: I'm going to try to be more of LeBron James. When I say that, I just want to hopefully end my career the best way that I want to end it and then just try to be more of a businessman, which I can try to set up things for my family and try to pass the word on to younger kids and to older adults, I guess, in the business side of things. I've definitely been working that right now to try to brace myself for when the NBA career is over because I know it doesn't last forever.

Q. You talked the other day about being a quick learner. What do you do between games to get better and study and make the adjustments that you need to make?
LEBRON JAMES: For me, I watch a lot of film. I watched the game last night when I got back to the room, and I'm probably going to watch it again tonight to see throughout the course of the game what they tried to do defensively against me, and offensively, also. I think I'm going to make little adjustments today at practice because they're probably going to -- Coach is probably going to simulate some of the things they did against me today at practice and I'll be a better player tomorrow or Sunday.

Q. In the Detroit series one of the things you talked about adjusting was being more aggressive to the hoop. Is there anything --
LEBRON JAMES: Sometimes it's about being more aggressive and then sometimes it's about reading things and mentally trying to prepare yourself the best way to try to counter some of the things they do defensively. You know, they may have caught some of our guys off guard, including myself at times during the course of Game 1, and I think we've played enough playoff games to know how to make the adjustment the next game.

Q. I just talked to Z. He said he was happy with the looks he got last night, he just didn't make them. Do you feel the same way? Was it just missing shots you normally make?
LEBRON JAMES: I think it was a little bit of both. I think if no one is on the court you make those kind of shots but you've got to give their defense a lot of credit. But at the same time, we definitely struggled from the field last night missing a lot of shots that we normally make. I think Z missed a lot of lay-ups that he usually makes, I missed some pull-ups that I normally make, but we don't take nothing away from their defense.

Q. How much of that was due to 21 standing back there and he's kind of the eraser if somebody gets by their guy?
LEBRON JAMES: He's definitely a good defender. It's easy to -- I don't want to say it's easy, but it's great insurance when you have a guy like that behind you that protects the lane like he does. It gives them the opportunity to get out and run.

Q. What was the similarities and differences for the Spurs' defense that they did on you?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, the similarities, that's been happening to me all playoffs, they've double and triple-teamed me at times and made me give the ball up and tried to deny me from getting it back. I'm going to have to make the easy pass and rely on my teammates a little bit more, which I'm going to do and have done throughout the postseason. I think it wasn't anything different that they did, I just think they did a great job of rotating once I gave the ball up to some of my shooters on the backside, not to allow them to set their feet and get off good looks.

Q. There's been a lot of talk of lack of scoring, but how much about the turnovers bother you?
LEBRON JAMES: That bothers me more than anything. The six turnovers that I had is very uncharacteristic of me throughout these postseason. I've been able to take care of the ball. I think there was a lot of unforced turnovers, a couple slams from behind, one went off my leg. So no, the scoring doesn't matter to me. I think the fact I was able turn the ball over as much as I did which allowed them to get extra possessions hurt me more than anything.

Q. At 22 years old there's some things you haven't gone through. I noticed the last three opening games of the series you did not have your game. Do you see yourself kind of feeling your way through every series as you get through your first Conference Finals and in our your first NBA Finals?
LEBRON JAMES: I think so. The first game I kind of feel my way through it and kind of make an adjustment. I don't plan to go out there and not shoot the ball well or not score. I do a great job of adjusting from game to game, and I think my teammates do the same.

Q. Have you learned from the past two Game 1s and the way you've rebounded? You've kind of been there, done this by now, right?
LEBRON JAMES: Yeah, I guess (smiling).

Q. Under normal circumstances if you struggled in a game you'd come out aggressive the next game, try to establish yourself a little quicker. In your case, you're coming out against one, two and three guys eye-balling you all the time. How exactly do you handle that?
LEBRON JAMES: You know, when you say you want to be a little more aggressive, that doesn't mean aggressive to shoot. That just means try to be aggressive getting to the lane and making a better shot for your team, or if you have a better shot then go for it. Aggressiveness doesn't mean you have to shoot every time you get into the lane or you want to force some things. But it's definitely going to be a point of emphasis for me to try to be aggressive in Game 2, try to get better shots for my teammates where they don't have to worry about a hand in their face and try to get better shots for myself.

Q. You guys have had a world of playoff experience the last two years. How would you describe the mindset of the team coming off last night going forward into the second game?
LEBRON JAMES: We're very confident. You know, that's why it's a series. I said last night, it's not the NCAA tournament where you lose one game and you're going home. This is a series, and we're down 1-0. We've been in this position before. We've been down 2-0 and came back and won a series, so it's nothing new to us, but this is definitely a different beast we're playing against. We don't want to go down 2-0 against this team. We have to come out and prepare ourselves the best way Sunday and come out and try to win the ballgame.

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