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May 22, 2009

LeBron James

Mo Williams


Cavaliers – 96
Magic - 95

Q. Sorry, Mo, LeBron, could you take us through --
MO WILLIAMS: Wait, wait. Go ahead.

Q. LeBron, could you take us through not so much the shot but the moment after the shot. The MVP chants, your fans adoring you, is that something that you will soon forget?
LeBRON JAMES: Wow. I mean, the reaction from the fans and the teammates, the loudest it has ever been in this building was the first time I made the playoffs in my third year and we faced Washington and we ran out on the court on that game, the towels was out and it was unbelievable. I had lost my wind as soon as I ran out on the court.
Tonight surpassed that by ten times. I mean, it was unbelievable. I mean, you couldn't -- I mean, you couldn't hear anything but just a roar of those 20,000-plus fans. And they deserve it. They deserve it.

Q. I heard you say the other night for the Magic to go for a dagger. Was it perhaps giving the Magic a taste of their own medicine, and was that perhaps your greatest highlight of all times?
LeBRON JAMES: The first option was for me to fake up and go for the lob. Two things happened. We had a 16 of Rashard Lewis on Mo, so it was going to be a difficult pass. When I went to go for the lob, Hedo had never been on it. I told Mo, whatever -- whatever it was going to take for me I was going to come get the ball, no matter what happened. If the first, third, second, if all options run, I'm going to come get the ball and I'm going to knock down the shot. It is the biggest shot I have made in my career.

Q. Turkoglu said that the way that you were celebrating and the Cavs and the bench was good. He says that means that Orlando is in your head now. Don't you think it is quite the opposite?
LeBRON JAMES: Orlando is not in our head at all.

Q. Right. You can use this as a momentum booster.
LeBRON JAMES: We respect that team a lot.
This is a very good team we are playing. These are the four best teams in the game right now, you know, and they are battling. We are battling. We are going up big and they are making runs. It is going to happen.
They are not in our head at all. We don't look at it as that. It is just two really good teams just going at it and having a pretty good series so far.

Q. Mo, LeBron said that's the greatest shot for him. Is that your greatest assist?
MO WILLIAMS: Oh, most definitely, most definitely. I told -- in the locker room after the game, I walked in and I said this is what I have been missing. Five years I have been missing this. This is what the playoffs feel like.
And it's an exciting feeling. I'm enjoying it. The first couple rounds, we was winning pretty handily. So it kind of felt like an intense regular season game. It was a play-off night and you are playing against a talented team. It is going to go down to the wire every game. It is about making plays.

Q. Did everything slow down? How long was that second?
LeBRON JAMES: I just took my time. I just took my time. For me, a second is a long time for me. You know, for others it is very short. I mean, those are -- as a kid, you practice those type of moments, as a kid. As a basketball player, you are sitting in your backyard, you are in the gym and you are five, four, three, two, one (buzzer sound). Those are the moments that as kids -- you don't have to be in the NBA to know what I'm talking about. Everybody know those type of moments.
And to hit a shot like that at the buzzer at home, wow.

Q. You grew up in this area, so you know in the past the shot has meant something very different.
LeBRON JAMES: Well, that guy is not in the League anymore. The other 23 is now on the good side now. That other 23 is gone, so we don't have to worry about that no more. (Smiling).

Q. Mo, you said Option A was the lob play to LeBron. In your mind, what was Option B? What was Option C?
MO WILLIAMS: Okay. Option B was LeBron. Option C was LeBron. Option D was Big Game James. And that was Option D that you saw.

Q. LeBron, since there was only one second left and there really wasn't time to get the ball back to the inbounder, are you surprised they didn't defend you with two guys the whole time?
LeBRON JAMES: No. For one, I think they seen that set before. We ran it one time earlier in the season in Indiana right before the All-Star break, and I was able to get a foul on Danny Granger. Rashard Lewis played it perfect. He stood tall, got in Mo's way and dropped it.
If you watch the replay, Rashard Lewis even got a contest on the shot when I got up, but just a little bit too late. I mean, they played it perfect. It is just a good shot. It is a good shot. (Smiling).
The same way we guard Rashard, when Rashard hit that 3, we guarded it perfect. Good players or great players just make good shots, man.

Q. A couple years later, people still talk about the 25 in the fourth quarter at Detroit. How does this compare to that? Would you put one ahead of the other?
LeBRON JAMES: I wouldn't say put one ahead of the other. That was a great performance also from us as a team, from me as an individual.
Tonight was another good performance by me as an individual and us as a team. That's a shot that you will see for a long time, you know? You watch classic games and you see Jordan hit game winners and you go all the way back, Jerry West hitting game winners, and Mattie Johnson going across the lane and hitting the jump hook against Boston. You see all these type of shots, man, always be played even when the game has left you as an individual.
Hopefully I can stick my foot in that category with Magic and Jerry West and Jordan and all these other guys that made spectacular plays on the biggest stage in the world.

Q. LeBron, you just talked about Jerry West and Magic and what have you. You're a self-aware athlete. You recognize that you're building a legacy. Have you already or will you at some point take stock of that shot in terms of what it does for, you know, your career?
LeBRON JAMES: It's something I will probably do after I'm done playing the game of basketball, man. I don't take time to look at what I do as an individual while I'm still playing this team game.
When I'm done and retired and I'm gone away from the game, I'm by myself, my family, my kids, I can look back on what I did as an individual. As long as I have 14 teammates, I will never look upon what I do as an individual. That's not how I approach the game.

Q. Mo, I enjoyed your reaction, the fall to the knee. You took your head band off. It was almost like you were delirious. So I'm just interested to know, once that shot went through and the buzzer sounded, what made you react that way? What was going through your head?
MO WILLIAMS: I was punch drunk. I really was. I was stuck. I couldn't move. And my reaction, I just -- I just fell down, fell down. Because the whole time I was walking even before he handed me the ball, I was praying. I was, God, please, please, God, something, something.
So when I passed it to him, my whole reaction was I knew he got it off. I knew he got the shot off. I knew he got it off. My whole reaction, it felt like it took so long to get to the rim. The whole time I said the whole -- a prayer, like, ten-minute prayer during the whole time.
LeBRON JAMES: I never seen this side of Mo before either.
MO WILLIAMS: I was praying, I was like God, please, please.
LeBRON JAMES: I've seen him before, I know him.
MO WILLIAMS: So it went in. It went in. That was my reaction.
One thing about shots like that, I know we always talk about -- a lot of players on our team, we always say we got swag.
LeBRON JAMES: Swagger.
MO WILLIAMS: We got swag. Everything we do, we do it with swag. We do it with swag. When we are struggling, we say, "let's get our swag back". A shot like that swag goes out the window.
LeBRON JAMES: You lose all your cool points.
MO WILLIAMS: You lose all your cool points. That's what happened tonight. You go with your reaction.
LeBRON JAMES: You know what to do.

Q. LeBron, when you caught, squared and let it go, was there any doubt in your mind? As you are watching it and Mo answered, too, was it in either of your minds that was going in? Can you tell when you released it was going in and did you think it was?
LeBRON JAMES: Honest answer, when I caught it square, it felt great. It was in the air, it even looked like it was going in.
But the breaks we have been getting so far --
MO WILLIAMS: Oh, oh, my God.
LeBRON JAMES: There was a great chance it wasn't going in. Hedo hit a tough shot over Sasha to take the lead. It was -- I just didn't know. I mean, it was like, you know -- I didn't pray as much as Mo did. (Smiling).
MO WILLIAMS: I was praying.
LeBRON JAMES: It felt great. It felt great.
If it came out -- it is possible I could have missed that, too. But it felt great.
I practice those type of things, man. You guys see me every day. You guys see me after the practice. I'm catching, shooting things that may not happen in a game, but, you know, it happened tonight.

Q. Mo, from your angle?
MO WILLIAMS: I don't know. Like I said, I knew he got the shot off and I knew it had a chance. You never know. Sometimes, just like my shot in game 1, it looked good, but, boom, rim, boom, boom, it's off.
So when he released it, I knew it had a chance. I was just like, please, please, please, please, and it was a great shot.

Q. As a kid, when you took that shot, did you always make it or usually make that shot?
LeBRON JAMES: No, you didn't. (Smiling). No. As a kid, you wouldn't leave the gym until you made it, though. As a kid, you would do the five, four, three, two, one. And if you missed 20 in a row, you wasn't allowed to leave the gym until you finally made that shot.
I was always Jordan when I made that shot, because in my era growing up Mike was always the one who made those five-to-one game winners, the light goes off and the crowd goes crazy. I wanted to be Mike when I did those things.
I got that out of my bag of Michael Jordan tricks, I guess.

Q. Mo, how were you able to, one, be so patient with the ball and get the pass to LeBron? And then a question for LeBron, when it left your hand, did it feel good right off the top?
MO WILLIAMS: Just keep your poise, keep your poise. Don't try to think too fast, just wait for it. Just wait for it to happen.
We got a saying we always say, "wait for it, wait for it." I just had to wait until he got -- it is one second. So I couldn't give it to him too early and make it a tough shot. That's a difficult pass to make when you have no time-outs. I think the ref did a great job of counting out loud. I let him know before he took it out, let me know because we have no time-outs. He said I will scream as loud as I can.
And I still didn't hear him. So it was a tough pass. I was just locked in, locked in, making sure. It is just like him coming off a pin, you want to give it to a position where he can be successful and make the shot. It came off and it was a tough shot. People don't understand he came into the ball and fading away with one second left. That's a tough shot.
LeBRON JAMES: It felt good. I was able to square up and just lock in. It wasn't like a desperation shot. You know, sometimes you see desperation shots for one second or 7/10 of a second. You see those desperation shots where you have to catch and flick it up there. I was able to square up and knock it down.

Q. In one second you went from down 0-2 and having to hit the road to a brand-new five-game series. How big of a momentum swing is that mentally for you guys? Both of you.
MO WILLIAMS: It's big. It's big. It is different going on the road down 2 or 1-1. Especially when you are playing a good team, there is two good basketball teams playing.
LeBRON JAMES: Very good team.
MO WILLIAMS: With that being said, you take a win how you took it. They took Game 1. With that shot, you know, even though we played well the whole game, we were up basically just like today. One thing that we know that even though we go up 10, 15 points, that's a good basketball team, they are going to make runs. When they make runs and get in two, three points, we can't get down on ourself just like we gave up the lead. We are used to putting it away and putting our foot on the pedal and leaving.
That's a good team. They keep their poise and do a great job of playing on the road, and we witnessed that here. To head back to Orlando 1-1, it is a new ball game. Every game is different. Every game is different.
LeBRON JAMES: You want to try to protect your home court the best way you can. In a seven-game series, you say you have home-court advantage, but in the Eastern Conference Finals and Western Conference Finals, is there really a home-court advantage? These four great teams out here competing at the highest level, we are the four best teams in the League for a reason at this point. To go on the road, one second from being down 0-2, going to Orlando and from zero seconds the shot goes in to being 1-1 going on the road, it is a good feeling for us. We can carry this momentum.
One thing about us, we are not going to carry Game 2 to Game 3. It is over and done with. It is a great game. We are a next-game team. We have to figure out a way to play better basketball in the second half.

Q. You guys have pretty much flowed through most of the play-off series you had. It seemed like this is one of the most challenging series you are going to have. What do you think you guys have to do in order to get ahold of these next couple games? What modifications do you have to make to the offense or defense?
LeBRON JAMES: The first thing we need to do is realize that we are not going to blow this team out. When we get leads and they make a run, we just can't get down on ourselves. We have to continue to play.
The best thing Orlando has, they have matchup -- they have matchup problems. They create matchup problems with Rashard being at the four, they create matchup players. Very good player, very talented.
We have to understand that every possession matters. We cannot take a possession off, and if we have a scheme, we cannot break down because every time you break down against a really good team, they make you play.
Just like we would do if a team breaks down against us, we are ready to hit the road. It has been a while. We look forward to it.

Q. Mo, I think Z was wide open in the corner. Did you see him and were you at any point tempted to --
MO WILLIAMS: Are you trying to start something?
LeBRON JAMES: You are supposed to be our man, Chris.
MO WILLIAMS: Yes, he was open. I should leave it at that.
LeBRON JAMES: Thanks. (Laughter).

End of FastScripts

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