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June 11, 2012

Dwyane Wade


Q.  A lot of places you guys are being listed as the underdog, and I'm just wondering if you could have imagined with this team you have, LeBron and you and Chris forming last year, that it would be a series you guys would not be the favorites?
DWYANE WADE:  Well, when the team got home court advantage, they're normally the favorites.  OKC is a very good team.  They played well all season obviously until the end, until San Antonio kind of came and got them.  They were playing the best basketball all year from the standpoint of consistency.  They're the home court team ‑ advantage.

Q.  What are the similarities between the two teams?
DWYANE WADE:  I guess in the sense of athleticism at times.  They have obviously very athletic guys at a lot of positions.  You talk about transition, you talk about getting out, making‑‑ from turnovers to baskets as quick as anybody, I think both teams do that very well.

Q.  How do you think that's going to affect the series?
DWYANE WADE:  Well, obviously it'll play a key part in the series.  I mean, who's quicker to the ball, who's faster to the ball.  But, you know, you've got to play some basketball in between there, as well, who's going to execute the best and who's going to be the most efficient team, etcetera.  It'll be a part of it, but it won't be the deciding factor, I don't think.

Q.  How is it different going into The Finals the year after you've lost one and had to walk off the court like that?
DWYANE WADE:  That's a great question.  You know, I think we're just approaching this one different.  First of all, it's an honor to be back in The Finals for the second year in a row.  This year we're starting on the road, we're not starting at home, so it's a different feel for us.  But I think as a team we're more comfortable in this Finals so far than we were last year at this point, even though we were starting off at home.  I think we're a little bit more tested, battle tested.  Obviously we'll never forget losing The Finals, but that can't be the only motivation.  It's okay because we lost.  We need to win this.  You've got to take it game by game, possession by possession, minute by minute, until you finally get to where you want to be.

Q.  And although losing was very difficult for all of you, you know being so close with LeBron he shut himself in a room for two weeks and all of the criticism the way he played in The Finals, what do you think for him this opportunity is to maybe go back, and it's his third time, still trying to get it?
DWYANE WADE:  Well, that's exactly what it is, it's an opportunity.  It's another opportunity.  You know, third time in The Finals in nine years, there's a lot of guys who don't get there once.  Of course that right there in itself is an honor.  But you want to win one.  You want to get there and win one.  Obviously LeBron wants to win a championship.  I can't say he wants to win more than the next man, than anybody on OKC.  I can't say that.  But obviously he wants to win and get another opportunity.  I'm sure he will try to seize it a little bit better than he did the first two times.

Q.  What specifically do you think you guys did learn off that Dallas series that can help you in this series in terms of maybe finishing games?
DWYANE WADE:  Well, I mean, yeah, Dallas, we had a lot of leads in that series in the fourth quarters, and we didn't close them out.  But, you know, we're just a different team now.  I remember, I think Game 2 versus Boston, and we was down, I think, 15 in that game or something and we came back and won it in overtime.  I remember me and LeBron telling Shane last year, I don't know if we would have won that game.  I don't know if we would have had it to come back and win that game.
That's how much we've grown in a sense.  We learn how to stick to it no matter what the situation is looking like, no matter what the outcome may be.  We've learned now to be able to stick to it a little more, and last year we kind of let it go for whatever reasons.  We just wasn't the team that Dallas was, there wasn't a team that we needed to beat, and you're going to be challenged in The Finals.  There's going to be a lot of moments where teams are challenged, and it's how you respond.

Q.  There's been a lot of talk about experience coming into The Finals or Finals experience.  You were 24 years old, I believe, in your first Finals.  Experience didn't seem to be a big factor in the way that you performed in that series.  Is there anything to it?
DWYANE WADE:  I mean, there was something to it.  It might be a little overrated.  I mean, obviously I did have experienced guys around me, but I didn't have many experienced guys playing in The Finals.  I had experienced guys in the game of basketball.  But besides Shaq at the time, I don't think no one else had really been to The Finals.  Gary, he went to The Finals?  Yeah, that's right, he did lose.  (Laughter).  No, he did.  So besides Shaq and Gary, we really didn't have anybody else that was really experienced in The Finals, but we had experienced basketball players.
And I think both teams have that.  Both teams have experienced basketball players.  So I think it might be a little overrated.

Q.  What do you anticipate out of the Durant‑LeBron match‑up, and is there any way that this thing can live up to the hype?
DWYANE WADE:  What is the hype, two good players?  Two of the best in our game getting the opportunity to match up in their prime of their careers?  I think it's going to be a great match‑up.  I think it's going to be two players that's going to be tough to guard each other, that's going to have to guard each other.  I don't know, I look forward to seeing what my teammate has going against one of the best players.  I'm glad that he has that challenge because it's going to make him focus more, it's going to make him play a little different.
I'd rather for him to be guarding Kevin Durant than to have to guard Deshawn Stevenson like last year, where he wasn't as involved.  And also Shawn Marion, he wasn't as involved.  Kevin Durant, you've got to have your antennas up at all times.  I think it's going to bring the best out of both of them, and it's going to be the best for the game, and it's going to be a great show, and it's going to be a good match‑up.

Q.  You'll certainly see a share of Russell Westbrook like you did Rondo.  Why have you been able to keep him in check the last two years?
DWYANE WADE:  We have?  Westbrook?  That's news to me.  He's a phenomenal athlete, man.  He's only getting better and better.  Obviously we've got to be different guys to guard him, to give him a different look.  I always say this is a very good team, but Russell Westbrook is what makes them very special, because there's no one else like him in the NBA.  I think he's‑‑ personally I think he's the most athletic guy in the NBA for what he does and how he does it and how quick he does it.
We're going to have our hands full, and I'm going to have to guard him a lot and just try to give him different looks, and whoever else has to guard him, as well.  But very tough cover, man.

Q.  How different or what differences have you noticed in LeBron's game this season from his change in approach?  Apparently last year he embraced the villain role, this year he's more himself or self‑assured?
DWYANE WADE:  Yeah, I think that's the biggest thing.  Last year there was a lot to deal with, a lot for him to handle, and I thought he did a decent job of it.  But sometimes it takes away your focus of being able to play the game because you've got to deal with so much other stuff.
I think this year he doesn't have to deal with that much, whether it's his family now being more comfortable in Miami, whether it's him being more comfortable there, him being more comfortable with his role on his team and understanding what we need him to do.
So it's a lot that comes into play.  I think he's just a more comfortable person and player in Miami, and rightfully so, because he's spent so much time in Akron, Ohio, and Cleveland for so many years, the change of scenery was tough, amongst everything else that was thrown at him.  So I think he's done an unbelievable job.  He's playing some of the best basketball that anyone has played, especially in these Playoffs.  It's phenomenal what he does, and we're going to need him to continue to do that for all of us to reach our final goal.

Q.  How would you describe how this postseason has been for you, your game in particular?  You've had some high highs, some low lows, some struggles in the Indy series in particular, the knee.  Somehow you got things going again in the Celtics series, but it's been tough to get back on track.  What's this postseason run been like for you?
DWYANE WADE:  I mean, individually it's been ups and downs, just like any other game.  I had it last year, as well, had a tough Chicago series, had ups and downs.  That's the nature of the beast.
But for me and for my team, we found a way to win, and that's what it's all about.  As I continue to say, I'm not going to be defined by how many points I put on the board every night and be defined by what I'm able to bring to my team overall as a complete player on the defensive end and the offensive end.
It's a fresh start, another start.  All those series is over with, now we enter a new one, and we'll see how this one‑‑ the outcome of this one.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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