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May 24, 2011

LeBron James

Dwyane Wade


Chicago Bulls 93
Miami Heat 101

Q. LeBron, in the overtime, there was that play, you were fighting Noah for the rebound. You had to hit the deck to get it, saved it to Haslem, he hit the deck. Describe that play from your vantage point and describe it. You had been playing 45, 48 minutes to that point. How much did you have left?
LeBRON JAMES: First you missed the block on that play. D-Wade coming weak side and getting that block. It's whatever it takes at that point. Joakim got a hand on it. I wanted to try to fight him as much as possible. I was able to strip the ball away from him. Dove on the ball. The ball was headed out of bounds. Once I tipped it and I saw it rolling and I saw UD, I already knew we had the ball. Nobody is going to take the ball from him.
That was just a great all-around team possession for us. It came at a big moment in the game in overtime.

Q. I got two questions for both of us guys: What did you think of Derrick Rose' two dunks? And what's it like, you're out there, it's a really tough defensive game, and all of a sudden guys are making really spectacular plays and the level of play just seems like it's going up?
LeBRON JAMES: First of all, the two dunks were great. There's no point guard in our league I think -- besides, you have Russell Westbrook, he makes plays like that. But D-Rose on the break, he goes to a jump-stop and finish it with an and-one and then he breaks down our defense, split pick-and-roll and he gets in there against probably our best shot-blocker in Joel Anthony, and dunks the ball for an and-one. He's a special player. Those plays are spectacular. That's why he is who he is.
What was the second question?

Q. Did you know you were in a really special game? I mean, not only everything on the line, but like play is going up and this is really turning into kind of like some kind of an amazing performance by a lot of people.
DWYANE WADE: I think you could tell that neither team wanted to lose. Both teams was clawing. If you're a fan of the game, it was a great basketball game. It's not high-scoring. This is a defensive battle. This is will. And both teams showed that. We made the plays at the end to eventually pull away, but both teams really wanted it tonight. We came out on top.

Q. Dwyane, you were obviously laboring at times. You seemed a little bit like something was off at times. How do you stay in it mentally when very little is going your way for such long stretches?
DWYANE WADE: Well, I mean, I was struggling offensively. That's just one end of the court. I understand that. Just trying to do other things in the ballgame. And I eventually stayed with it because I understand, as I said at the end of the game, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. A lot of my teammates kept telling me, "You're going to make plays. You're going to make plays." Kept believing me. I believed it myself. I said I'm going to make something happen.
I think I was the only person in the arena that was happy we were in overtime. I was happy because I knew I had another five minutes to make up for the first 48. Just trying to do whatever I can to make sure we win the game.

Q. LeBron, can you talk about defending Derrick on the last play of regulation and just defending him in general for the last quarter and overtime.
LeBRON JAMES: With a player like that, you just try to keep him out of the paint as best as you can. He was attacking our defense a lot, getting to the free-throw line. The last shot all you could do is contest. There's not too many guys that are going to block his shot on the jumpshot. But I just tried to make it hard on him, get the contest. I made him take a tough one.
As far as guarding him throughout the game, I take pride defensively. It doesn't matter who it is, if it's Derrick Rose or starting off on Luol, it's whatever it takes for myself and for our team. If that means me playing extensive minutes guarding D-Rose, then I'll do it. I don't have a problem with that.
I play both sides of the floor. I love defense much more than I do offensively. I just take pride on that side of the floor. We were able to get enough stops. It's great when you have guys behind you that also love to play defense, also. So you know you got help if you get beat.
I got beat on the baseline, D-Wade got the spectacular block. So you take pride on that side of the floor and it pays off for you.

Q. Do you think as you guys advance, defense is what's pushing you through these playoffs and may give you a championship?
LeBRON JAMES: Defense is our staple. We know in order for us to win basketball games we have to get stops and we have to play at a high level. That's all we're about. We know offensively -- at times we have rough stretches where we don't score, but we give ourselves a great chance to win every game because we defend. And that's what it's about.

Q. You guys talked a lot this season about having a lot of help on this team, but in the regular season when one of you or Chris would play a poor game way below your average, usually you wouldn't win, especially against a quality opponent. What's made the difference that, Dwyane, you can maybe not play your top game for four quarters and you guys can still reach an overtime? And what's been the difference between going through the regular season and now when that's the case?
DWYANE WADE: We figured it out. In the regular season it was about figuring things out. We was always a good defensive team, obviously in the regular season, which gave us a chance to win. I don't think we were as good as we are now. It became in time, learning each other, understanding. At this time of the year, you know, when you're seeing great defenses, you're not going to have a spectacular night every night, but you know you can help your team, you know you can help win ballgames on the other side of the floor, whether it's rebounding or taking the charge, getting the blocks, just playing a tough defense.
So it's the mentality that you have to have. That's how Miami Heat basketball was invented. And we're trying to make sure we go out there and play that way.
Regular season was just figuring things out for our team. We love for all three of us to have a great game on the offensive end in the playoffs somewhere, but if it doesn't happen, we do have the other end that all three of us can have a great game on.

Q. For both of you: After the layoff you each had from being in The Finals, what does it mean for you to be this close now and what kind of focus is needed?
LeBRON JAMES: I mean, we're looking at a Game 5 as a must-win. We're going to every game saying it's a must-win for us. We take it upon that challenge, going back into the madhouse. We know it's going to be extremely loud. They're going to feed off their fans. We're going to try to play as desperate as we've played the last three games.
It's been since '06 for D-Wade, '07 for myself since we've been to The Finals and it's one game away. We're not taking anything for granted. We're just continuing to play our game and take one game at a time. It starts with Game 5.

Q. Kind of an off-the-beaten-path question for you, Drake was in the front row going nuts every time you made a shot. Just talk about his importance as a friendship you have.
LeBRON JAMES: We have a family bond. Drake has always been supportive of myself, and everything that he do I'm a supporter of his. So it goes beyond what you guys see at the game. We talk on a regular -- everything, about family and everything. What we have is a real family. It's not just because we are successful what we do. We really care about one another on a day-to-day basis.
Anytime you get a friend that can come and support you in what you do, I really respect that. He has a busy schedule. I respect that. Anytime I get some free time, I try to come and support him as well.

Q. Dwyane, LeBron kind of touched on it, but what's it going to take for you guys to close out this series in Chicago and not come back here for Game 6?
DWYANE WADE: Well, that same must-win mentality. We knew Game 1 we didn't play the way we wanted to, especially in the third quarter. I thought if we gave ourselves a chance to win, just playing tough, gritty basketball when things haven't been looking good. And we've been taking it one game at that time, one possession at a time. You know what, we did what we were supposed to do at home; we came home and won two. Now we have to go on the road and win one to win this series. That's our mentality. We try to play like there's no tomorrow.
We understand it's going to be a tough game. But we have the team and we have the guys that are capable of showing up and putting on a performance that we need to win the game. It's not going to be pretty, but that's not Miami Heat basketball anyway.

Q. LeBron, when Mike Miller was making his decision this offseason, I know obviously you have a relationship with him, was tonight, in terms of aggressiveness and everything he did, more what you envisioned for him? I know he's had a tough year with the injuries and everything else he's had to deal with.
LeBRON JAMES: Absolutely. Tonight he just played free. Everything that he gave us tonight was what we always expected out of him. He didn't think about it tonight. Every time he caught the ball -- what we've been telling him all year, "when you catch the ball, just shoot it."
He's probably the only guy on our team that can shoot any shot he wants to. Even me, D-Wade and CB, Coach gets on us sometimes if we take ill-advised shots and things like that. Mike Miller is a guy who can shoot any shot he wants. Tonight he did that. He caught the ball, he shot threes, made a pull-up, and then what he's always been doing when he gets minutes, he rebounds the ball extremely well. He had nine rebounds for us and they were all key.
Like I said before, that lineup we talked about this summer, myself and D-Wade and CB, Udonis and Mike is something we always envisioned, and it's coming together at the right time.

Q. Dwyane, are you 100% right now? Health-wise, are you 100%?
DWYANE WADE: No one is 100% right now. You know how many games we've played? I'm going to get some rest, get some treatment, come back and get it again.

Q. Are you hurt at all? The legs?
DWYANE WADE: I'm not sure, no.
LeBRON JAMES: That's a great last question.
DWYANE WADE: If I was, I'm not going to tell you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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