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NBA FINALS: HEAT v THUNDER


June 16, 2012


LeBron James


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q.  You've got two guys on the team in Shane Battier and Mario Chalmers who have won college national titles and have a chance to add an NBA ring.  How cool would it be for those two guys to win a college and NBA ring?  And do you think it also helps, you've got UD and Dwyane who are champions in the NBA, but having two guys who have won championships in college on the team?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, it would be cool, honestly.  Everyone likes to build and put championships into their résumé.  It would be unique, and it would be cool at the same time for them.

Q.¬† You guys, especially in the two years you've been here, have really tried to build a home‑court advantage, make this a special place.¬† How has that come around?¬† Do you feel that the home‑court advantage you have here was similar to what you had in Cleveland?¬† And based on what the Thunder have at home, how important is it you feel something similar to what their crowd gave them in the first two games?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, you always want to try to be dominant at home and protect home.  My days in Cleveland we was very dominant at home in the postseason and in the regular season.  You want to try to establish that.  When people come into the building they feel like they're at a disadvantage already before the game starts.  And our fans here are great, have been great throughout the whole postseason in the last two years, and in Game 7 of the Boston series that just ended, it was the loudest they've been.  They was very excited about us winning that game and moving onto the Finals.  So we look forward to seeing them tomorrow.  And they're going to bring that excitement that they've brought.
OKC definitely has a unique fanbase and a great fanbase in OKC.  It has that college sound, that college feel, and I've never played in a hostile college environment, but I've been to a few games and I know the type of excitement that goes around it.  They have something great that's there, and we do, as well.

Q.  There's been this theory about great scorers forever that, okay, you just concede a certain amount of points to them and worry about everybody else.  I'm sure that's probably been used against you a lot.  Is KD kind of at that point now where you just know he's going to get 30, and it's more about making sure that guys like Russ and everybody else just don't go off because you know Kevin is going to do what he does?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Well, I mean, like you say, you can't stop KD, you just don't try to give him easy ones.¬† You don't want to give him an easy dunk in transition where you didn't get back on defense, or you give him a transition D because you didn't communicate and gave up and things like that of course, but he's going to make shots.¬† He can make any shot the game has to offer, off the dribble, off the catch‑and‑shoot, off pindowns, he can make every shot.¬† You just try to wear on him, but he's going to make his shots and get his points because of the type of player he is.
And then you've got to control everybody else.  Russell is going to get his points, as well, because he's that good of a player.  He's that talented, as well.  You just try to make them score, but not score because you had a breakdown or messed up on something.  If they score over the top or in front of you, then you can live with it.

Q.  There was a lot of buildup around this series, when are you able to enjoy it?  Are you able to enjoy it, or is it just too intense to enjoy with the competition?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, when I'm out on the floor I'm enjoying it.  I'm having fun with these first two games.  I mean, this is a great opportunity for myself and for our team, for both teams.  It's a lot of fun being out there and competing at a high level, you know, the intense moment where every possession counts.  That's what it's all about.  As a competitor you have to enjoy these moments and you love these moments.

Q.  When you watch video, are you able to enjoy it as a basketball fan, or not?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Well, I think from a fan's perspective, I think it's been‑‑ the first two games have been great.¬† You know, I've seen some of the ratings, so that shows the excitement around the game of basketball, shows the excitement around the two teams, and what these two teams have to offer.¬† You have some great story lines and some individual plays.¬† I think it's been great.

Q.  Why does it seem like we've only seen your team at its best when behind, like Game 4 against the Pacers, Game 6 begins the Celtics, Game 2 in this series?
LeBRON JAMES:  I don't know.  I guess when we're behind and when we're down, that's the best time people like to see us at.  People like to see us when we're behind and see how we're going to react or make adjustments going into the next game.  I mean, we've played good ball even when we were up, even in the New York series.  We played good ball, we lost Game 4, but we was able to win Game 5.
I don't know.  We don't want to be behind (laughing), we're not trying to get down in the series, we can tell you that.  But it's good to see that we can come back after a little adversity, a little down.

Q.  What is the difference in your game now when a year ago?  Is it just a matter of being through this with this team one time and feeling more comfortable, or how much has that really helped you?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Me personally?¬† I'm just more comfortable.¬† I mean, I spent seven years basically ‑‑ the last five years in one system.¬† I know the ins and outs about that whole system when I was in Cleveland, so I was very comfortable with that situation.
A lot of things had to change in my one year here, and I never got fully adjusted throughout the whole year.
This year I've just been more comfortable with the team, more comfortable with the system, more comfortable with the city and everything around it.  Once I get on the floor, I just let my game kind of react for me and everything I've built throughout the years, just go out and do it, and I don't have to worry about anything else.

Q.  Sort of along the same line, so much of I'm sure how you play is between your ears.  Are you more ready this year?  You seem more ready.  Are you more ready to meet the moment maybe this year?
LeBRON JAMES:  Like I said, I'm going to go out and make plays for my team throughout the game.  I'm going to leave it out on the line, and at the end of the day, I'm going to be happy with that.
We want to win it, I want to win it, but I only can control what I can control, you know, and that's going out and being there for my teammates throughout the game.  That's all I care about.

Q.  Can you talk about the evolution of Erik Spoelstra, how he has adapted over the last two years, and just his coaching style and the way he responds to you guys?
LeBRON JAMES:  I think Spo has been great.  I mean, he's been challenged the last two years by a lot of people, but I think he's been awesome.  Two straight Finals appearances, and he's put us in position to win each and every game.  You know, and for me, our relationship has grown over the last three years because we've been around each other, we understand what we like, our dislikes, everything of that nature, but he's been great.  He's going to continue to grow, and I hope I can continue to grow around him.  But he's been great.  He's been a great coach.

Q.  Just to follow up, do you have a specific example of either an interaction that was very meaningful or an example of when he might have listened to you that was effective?
LeBRON JAMES:  No, I just think he's been more open this year, you know, allowing some of the players to voice their opinion on certain situations, either at practice or in a game, no matter what the magnitude of the game is.  We trust him and he trusts us.  At the end of the day, he has the last call because he is the head coach, but as a player you love that fact when a coach wants to hear or wants to feel what you may see out on the floor during the game or during the film session.  He's been awesome.

Q.  Erik Spoelstra talked of motivating and motivation.  Is there any speech he can give, any sentence he can utter, any bulletin board material that would motivate you any more than you're motivated right now?
LeBRON JAMES:  Yeah, absolutely.  He does a great job of doing that each and every day, keeping us motivated, keeping us ready for the taking, ready for the next game or just ready for the moment.  You know, every day, every game he comes in with something, and he gets us prepared, both by Xs and Os on the basketball court and also by other things to prepare us for the game.

Q.  All five guys on the floor are important on defense, but for you guys how much is team defense a big part of the concept that you throw out there?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, team defense is everything.  We understand as an individual you want to take the individual challenge, but you also have to have that team defense and that team concept behind you or in front of you or on the side of you.  You know, because it helps you out individually when you know you have help, if you get beat, which everyone does in this game, or something happens where there's a breakdown, you know that someone behind you is going to protect you.  That's always key.

Q.  What part of your game, if any, do you think needs improvement in this series?
LeBRON JAMES:  Everything.  Appreciate it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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