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NBA FINALS: HEAT v THUNDER


June 14, 2012


LeBron James


OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA: Game Two

Miami 100
Oklahoma City 96


Q. LeBron, could you just talk about, again, the start your team got off to, 18‑2, and how important that was?
LEBRON JAMES: It was very important. Any time you get a lead in this series, it's important, no matter if it's a double digit lead or one‑point lead, because both teams are playing great basketball. Any time you can get a quick start and get a lead, it helps.

Q. Can you talk about your teammate Shane Battier and the series that he's putting together? He's had two great games and just talk about what Battier is doing.
LEBRON JAMES: He's been a huge lift. He's been a huge lift for us. He's shooting the ball extremely well from the outside. He's making plays both offensively and defensively. We're going to need it. We're going to need it. The series is going to be so tight that we're going to need guys to step up, and Shane has been there in the first two games.

Q. After winning Game 2, what do you guys feel is most important going into Game 3?
LEBRON JAMES: We've just got to continue to do what our staples are, try to get back in transition, level them off, make them take contested shots. They're very good when you miss a shot or you turn the ball over at getting out and getting early buckets. We've got to continue to be conscious about our turnovers, and then when we miss a shot we've got to have three guys back just to try to level them off and not allow them to get those transition buckets.

Q. LeBron, just the fact of can you address how important this game was, especially when it started slipping away, knowing you have a chance to go home 1‑1, regain home court in the moment there, how much did that mean to a potential championship run to hold on somehow?
LEBRON JAMES: It meant everything. We had played too well in the first 36 minutes to try to let this one slip away from us. We knew we were going to keep coming. We knew they were going to keep fighting. They've been doing it the whole postseason against all the teams they've played against, especially on their home floor. We just wanted to make one more or two more plays than they made and come out with a victory, and we was able to do that.

Q. What did you want to do early on inside the paint?
LEBRON JAMES: For me it's all about aggression. You know, I just try to get into the paint, make things happen, create for myself, create for others and put some pressure on their defense. For me that's what my game is all built around.

Q. Erik said that the decision for you to guard Durant with about seven minutes left was mutual. How did that come about in the huddle, and can you go through what happened on the final play with you guarding Durant?
LEBRON JAMES: Well, I mean, for me, I want to guard the best and the biggest point of the game. KD is an unbelievable talent. I think we all know that, we all see that. He can make every shot on the floor. Just try to keep a body on him, take contested shots. He got away from me a couple times, got a couple threes that I am not too happy about. So I'll watch the film and try to figure that out. On the last play they were down two and I figured they were going to go to him. He got a small step on me, I just wanted to try to keep a body on him, make him take a tough shot, and he's made tough shots all year, all series, and just that one he missed it.

Q. You were on the other side of the two‑three‑two format last year. What do you think of the format and do you think it gives an advantage to either side?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, when you get to the championship, teams got to win on each other's floor. The two‑three‑two doesn't mean much, I guess. I don't know, you've got to‑‑ these are the two best teams. They're confident no matter what building they're in. We're happy now that it's a 1‑1 series and we're going back to Miami and will take control of the home court. It doesn't mean that the series has changed. Both teams can win on each other's floor, and both teams are confident.

Q. Would you have been surprised to have heard a whistle on that last play? Would you have been angry?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, as a competitor, of course you would have been angry. Like I said, I just tried to keep a body on him and make him take a tough one.

Q. What has Shane Battier meant to you this season in terms of pregame preparation before every game and then guarding guys that you‑‑ relieving defensively, allowing you to get some rest?
LEBRON JAMES: Shane has been huge. Going against him in my career, I understood how smart he was, I understood how competitive he was, especially on the defensive end. I was very excited when we was able to sign him in the off season. He's a big part of why we're here today and competing for a championship. He's meant a lot for our team, he's meant a lot to me, being able to guard guys as well as the top scorers. He did it against Carmelo Anthony, from Carmelo Anthony to David West to Paul Pierce and Brandon Bass all the way down to Ibaka and Kevin Durant. He can guard multiple positions and allows our team to have so many options defensively. He plays a big part in that.

Q. When so much is made of you and your team's fourth quarter meltdowns and you hit 12 of 12 free throws, including four in the fourth quarter, is that a milestone, or is that just a game in which you've got a little confidence?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, I'm a confident guy. On a big stage like this in a big game like this, every point counts, every point matters. So you go to the free‑throw line, no matter how hostile the environment, and try to knock them down. You live with your routine, things you practice all year, and you live with the results. Like I said, I'm happy that I was able to go up there and make a few plays, go up there and make my free throws. We needed it. We needed every point tonight.

Q. But that's not like a larger statement about you guys in the fourth quarter, that's just one game?
LEBRON JAMES: That's just‑‑ we want to make enough plays to win basketball games, not to answer any questions about what people have to say about us.

Q. Talk about the pressure after losing Game 1. How did you feed off of that and utilize that as a motivating catalyst to come back and get this big win?
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, it's a huge game for us. We understood that we wanted to split. We had an opportunity in Game 1, but it kind of slipped away from us in the fourth quarter, they took control of the game. And Game 2, we wanted to come out and get the win. We didn't want to go home being down 0‑2 even having three games on our home floor. It was good to see the sense of urgency to start the game, and then late in the game make enough plays to even the series.

Q. As you were going to the basket and being so aggressive early, are you in that mindset thinking that there's nobody on this floor that can guard me?
LEBRON JAMES: You know, for me I always want to be aggressive, and I don't think there was just one guy that can guard me. You know, I'm always looking at the next line of defense and seeing the rotation coming. Sometimes it doesn't work in my favor. I got into the hole one time, Ibaka got me from behind, got a block. But I don't think it's just one guy. You can't just put one guy on me and allow him to be on an island and defend me one‑on‑one. It's about being aggressive and taking what the defense gives me. When I shoot double digit free throws, that means I know personally I'm being aggressive when I'm getting to the rim. At the end of the day, it's helping our team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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