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NBA FINALS: HEAT v THUNDER


June 17, 2012


LeBron James


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Three

Oklahoma City Thunder - 85
Miami Heat - 91



Q.  That driving dunk with a little bit less than four minutes to go in the fourth, can you describe what you saw as you were heading to the basket and took the pass from Mario.
LeBRON JAMES:  I don't remember that play.  What happened?  I'm serious, which one?

Q.  You gave Kevin his fifth foul on that one.
LeBRON JAMES:  Oh, yeah, yeah, on the break.  Just trying to attack.  We got a great block.  I think we got a block, and Rio got the ball, and I started to call for it then and there, but I told him to go middle, so I just filled the lane and Rio hit me and I was able to finish.  I seen KD going for the charge, so I kind of went away from him a little bit and was able to get the block.

Q.  How would you describe the way you're playing in the fourth quarter right now the last couple games?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I don't know, just trying to make plays.¬† I told you guys, last year I didn't make enough game‑changing plays, and that's what I kind of pride myself on.¬† I didn't do that last year in The Finals.¬† I'm just trying to make game‑changing plays, and whatever it takes for our team to win, just trying to step up in key moments and be there for my teammates.

Q.  How did you feel when you guys were down by 10 in the third quarter?  And how would you characterize the comeback?  Was it just kind of a grind it out, not pretty but get the job done come back?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, how I was feeling down 10, we weren't playing our game.  They made us stagnant and they came out in the third quarter and attacked us, and we didn't attack back.  We did that the last minutes of the third quarter and we was able to cut the lead, I think even taking the lead with D Wade's free throw.
We didn't play good to start the third, and we can't do that.  We can't do that against an explosive team like that.  But it just shows our character, how we was able to come back from that and make plays and regain the lead.

Q.¬† Was it kind of a grind‑it‑out mentality?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Well, that's our mindset, period.¬† That's just how we play.¬† We always feel like we want to grind out games.¬† No matter how well we may be shooting the ball from the outside, no matter how many lay‑ups or dunks or fast‑break points we get, we always feel it's going to be a grind‑out game especially since we're playing against a great opponent.¬† So it was that.

Q.  Everyone knows that everyone on the Thunder is like 22, 23, except for Derek.  How do you guys guard against the next couple days thinking that you've broken a young team and this might get easier going forward?
LeBRON JAMES:  It's not.  We don't have that mindset.  Our mindset right now is coming into tomorrow we try to get better.  We have to get better in Game 4 because everyone makes an adjustments, everyone comes out the next game and does a better job.
In the fourth quarter we had an opportunity to extend the lead, and we turned the ball over.  We turned the ball over nine times in the fourth, I believe, and that's not winning basketball.
We know they're not broken.  For us, we just want to improve.  We want to improve each and every game, and we look forward to the challenge of Game 4.

Q.  Chris was in here earlier sort of talking about what you said about the series last year in Dallas, that this year you're not leaving anything on the table, you're putting it all together.  At the end of the fourth quarter it was you, it was Chris, it was Dwyane getting it done.  How much is there resolve now that while you have nice supporting players, we have to step up, we have to step forward, us three, we have to get it done?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, we've got to make big plays.  You know, we understand our supporting cast is going to be there for us no matter what's going on throughout the game.  But if the game gets tight, one of the three of us, or all three of us, have to make plays to bring home the win.
You know, it was great to see us able to close this game out tonight.¬† We had a comfortable lead, but they made a run.¬† They made a quick run, cut the lead to one, and then I was able to hit Chris for a lay‑up.¬† He got fouled, made two free throws, was able to get a stop, and that's what it's about.¬† It's about us just trying to step up when our teammates need us the most.

Q.¬† You talk about wanting to attack.¬† It just seemed around the rim tonight that you were very physical from the very beginning, taking the ball from Perkins in a couple situations, going up with put‑backs.¬† Again, your mentality tonight played into that?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Well, we felt like they were going to come out aggressive, so I wanted to counter their aggression with aggression.¬† Put pressure on the rim offensively or get offensive rebounds, I was able to get five offensive rebounds to give us extra possessions and get some second‑chance points.¬† Looking at the stat sheet, we had 46 points in the paint, 11 second‑chance points.¬† So that's good.¬† And also we had 35 free throws.¬† That's a really good number for us.¬† When we're getting to the free‑throw line, even when we don't shoot the ball well, that's a plus for us.¬† Just always trying to be in aggressive mode and do whatever it takes to help our team come out with a win.

Q.  Can you explain how you guys continuously overcome a size disadvantage even as your team rotation kind of seems to get smaller.  And also, at this point are you just used to being a big basically for this team?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I mean, size doesn't matter.¬† It's about just will and determination.¬† It doesn't matter if someone is taller than you or bigger than you or weighs more than you.¬† You just try to put yourself in a position to get rebounds or make plays to help your team.¬† That's what it comes down to.¬† We don't care about teams being taller than us or I guess, quote‑unquote, bigger than us.¬† Every last one of our guys plays bigger than what their height is, bigger than what their weight is.¬† As a team we don't feel like it's a disadvantage whoever we're going against.

Q.  How did Durant's foul trouble affect the dynamic of the second half?
LeBRON JAMES:  Is that a question for me or for them?

Q.  For you.
LeBRON JAMES:  It doesn't change me.

Q.  How did his foul trouble affect the dynamic of the second half?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, I don't know.  I mean, if he's on the court or he's off the court, we have to still be aggressive.  We have to continue to do our play, play our game.  I think he got it going in the third.  He made some big shots in the third quarter, gave them the lead.  His fourth foul on D Wade, we kind of got the momentum from there.  But he's a great player.  He's going to make shots.  But for us, we have to be aggressive no matter if he's on the floor or not.

Q.  For the unprofessional eyes, it seems as if you can score whenever you want, just a matter of a decision of yours.  What do you think about it?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I wish it was that easy.¬† You know, that's a great team we're going against, and defensively they have some very active players, so they kind of bring the double‑team sometimes when I'm in the post or if I'm in the perimeter they kind of put two on the ball.¬† I just try to take what the defense gives me, try to get into the paint.¬† If I can't do it with the ball, just try to be active on the weak side or cutting or getting offensive rebounds or getting put‑backs that way, just try to do a little bit of everything where I'm not just isolating on the post or on the elbow.
You know, it's a good mixture of what I have right now, and my teammates do a good job of finding me when I don't have the ball.

Q.  Chris said you guys talked about the pain from last year all the time.  Is that true?  And if so, how can you avoid it this time?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Well, it's absolutely true.¬† We talk about it all the time.¬† We understand that it's been a great teacher for us, just the experience.¬† We don't take things for granted.¬† We understand that we accept each challenge as its own, and we know Game 4 is going to be a different game.¬† No matter what happened in Game 1, Game 2, Game 3, Game 4 is its own, and we will approach it like that.¬† We understand that there's going to be a team that's going to come in and try to get the home‑court advantage back once again, try to win on our floor.¬† But if we do what we need to do defensively, we make them make tough shots, we rebound, and we don't turn the ball over, we give ourselves a good chance to win Game 4.¬† Looking forward to it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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