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June 13, 2007

LeBron James


Q. Peyton Manning was in the crowd last night, and he's always reading defenses at the line and trying to figure things out. How much do you feel kind of like Peyton Manning with what you've seen so far and what the Spurs are doing to you defensively?
LEBRON JAMES: You know, definitely they're doing a great job. You know, I was definitely trying to read to see what they're doing at a particular time of the game. You know, you see one guy, you might see two and now you can see another one. So it's definitely a collective defensive attacks that they're putting on me and putting on our team.

Q. Just to follow up, in the low post yesterday, it seemed a couple of times you had one-on-one coverage and you kind of waited to see where that second guy was coming from. Any thought of maybe attacking earlier as opposed to waiting?
LEBRON JAMES: You know, I've got to read the defense first. I've always done that. I'd go on two dribbles and they'd go on the double-team. We had some great looks, we just didn't knock them down. All the shots we took from the outside was good looks. We've just got to step in and make them.

Q. You had a lot of good looks that just didn't fall and it's been happening throughout this series, other than just obviously your luck changing, what can you do to make those jumpers go on?
LEBRON JAMES: Just got to continue to take them, feel confident about it and go up there and take that shot. You know, I know I can make them, I think my teammates know they can make outside shots, we've just got to continue to take them.

Q. That last shot, the three-pointer, the coach said we talked to the official afterwards and Bruce didn't touch him. You were on the replay saying I was fouled. Can you talk about what you thought happened in that shot?
LEBRON JAMES: Definitely I thought there was some contact, but we don't want to try to make that as an excuse of why we lost the game or if it could change the game. We had opportunities where we could have made shots before that and not put ourselves in a position to be down three with five seconds to play. I think we all know there was some contact, but that's neither here nor there, so we don't get involved in that.

Q. In San Antonio in two games you did not play your best, did not score the points you're used to scoring and the team lost. Last night you scored more, more active, got more things done but the team lost. You talk about reading defenses. Is it time to just let your talent and instinct take over in Game 4, backs against the wall, and drive more or try to impose your will more on this game?
LEBRON JAMES: I play my game. My game is what I've been doing. I see a double-team, I get a ball up. If I don't see a double-team I try to attack and get into the lane. If I've got an outside shot, I'll take it. I can't change my game, what got us here. Everything I've been doing is the reason why we're here, and our team, everything we've been doing, is the reason we're here. We don't want to try to change anything but we know our backs are up against the wall and we have to try to win Game 4.

Q. Following up on that, obviously everybody knows the history of being down 0-3, but how do you guys have to approach the game tomorrow? Do you have to come in just like it's one game, we win this game, and anything can happen?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, you have to. We have no choice but to win or the season is over and there's a new champion. We have to come out with the mindset to take one game at a time and just continue to try to win four in a row. Hopefully we can do that.

Q. Can you just describe what it feels like and what you see when Bruce Bowen is on you? Essentially what is it like to be defended by him?
LEBRON JAMES: I think individually he's great. I think what also helps him is the guys that's behind him. You know, it's not one guy in this league that can play defense on an individual by himself. I think as a team they're very good, which allows him to pressure, which allows him to do a lot of things that some other defenders can't do because they don't have that back line behind him. When you have a seven-footer in Tim Duncan and Oberto and Robert Horry, and you have Manu that closes in when they try to drive, it allows his one-on-one defense to be a lot more pressure, that much more physical because he knows he has that help behind him. Individually he's great, but those guys behind him also helps him.

Q. Can you describe the differences in the coverage schemes that you saw with Detroit and what San Antonio is trying to do to you?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I think Detroit, they tried to drop a lot of pick-and-rolls and tried to weak me left on the top. I wasn't as aggressive around the perimeter, which allowed me to get into the lane a little bit. I think San Antonio is not allowing me to come off screens without seeing another body, simple as that. I'm seeing one or two, and if I'm getting around two I'm seeing another third guy. They definitely have picked up in intensity, and we have to be able to exploit that. If they're going to put two guys on me, we have to be able to do something on the backside, and if I get a ball, I have to be even more aggressive on trying to get it back when we're swinging from one side to another.

Q. Especially in that case, weak side ball movement is critical, isn't it, against these guys?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, definitely. We've had opportunities where I've kicked it out of the post and nobody has had an opportunity to swing, swing or we took that first look. Maybe we needed to swing it from one side to another to get something on the backside and therefore rotate. I think that would help.

Q. I watched you shoot for 31 minutes early yesterday, around 6:10, 6:15. Is there ever an indication of how your perimeter game might be in the course of a game?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, it's just kind of a mental thing trying to get ready and get prepared for the game. You know those shots are not going to be there during the course of a game because you have defenders guarding you, of course, but I think just getting a warm-up, just getting a workout before the game mentally prepares you for the game definitely.

Q. To piggy-back off an earlier question, only one team has been swept in The Finals the last 11, 12 years. How much does pride kick into that distinction?
LEBRON JAMES: We gave ourselves a chance to win last night, and I've always said, and I said all year and all throughout the postseason, you give yourself a chance to win you can't feel down about it. Defensively we were very active last night. Offensively we got some great looks, we just weren't falling. I was able to get into the lane a couple times and missed a couple bunnies. We don't want to get swept, of course. We're not even thinking about that. We're thinking about winning a game and continuing to try to win and win a championship.

Q. You're finding out how difficult it is to win a championship. From a player's standpoint, how do you view what the Spurs have been able to do over the last nine years?
LEBRON JAMES: It's awesome. I think they have a dynasty already at work, and I think Coach Popovich and that staff and being able to get the No. 1 pick in Duncan has really helped their franchise and the pieces here and the pieces there to make that team a championship team. They don't have the greatest athletes in the world, they don't have the greatest shooters in the world, but they have probably the greatest team in the world, and that's what this sport is all about. It's not about an individual. It's not like tennis, it's not like golf. You have to have one unit. You have to have everybody on the same page at the same time to win basketball games.

Q. How often does Coach Brown kind of reference them and bring them up as a model with whatever you guys are doing?
LEBRON JAMES: With him being a part of that franchise, why shy away from it? When you want to be the best, you want to try to mirror image the best, and they're definitely the best team in our league at this point in time. You want to try to do as close or exactly to what they do. And it's going to be tough because they've been together for so long, but at the same time, you want to try to just take a little bit of something from there and try to input it into your system, definitely.

Q. 72-70, you guys have the ball. Did you not hear Mike Brown, the video showed him jumping up and down screaming at the top of his lungs for a time-out. With the noise and everything, did you guys not hear him at all?
LEBRON JAMES: No, if they would have heard him we would have called a time-out. The time-out looking back at it when we got the ball, didn't seem like he was calling a time-out. I think he was trying to communicate more to the refs than to us, you know, and it's -- it's no one's fault but we didn't know. Look at that, we call a time-out there, then we don't have the two to try to tie the game up at the end, so it kind of worked in our favor.

Q. Just to follow up, the Detroit series, the two you lost there, you came away with some confidence because you played them down to the wire and had a chance to win. Even though you're down 3-0 are you taking some positives away from yesterday?
LEBRON JAMES: We took some confidence from Game 2 to Game 3. We played with that last night. We had a lot of energy, defensively we played extremely well. We didn't allow them to get whatever shot they wanted like in San Antonio. At the end we gave ourselves a chance to win. We still feel confident. It's all about the first team getting No. 4. They're definitely closer than we are, but at the same time, the series is not over until somebody hits four.

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