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NBA FINALS: SPURS v HEAT


June 7, 2013


LeBron James


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. LeBron, you guys are 4‑4 in your last eight, which is kind of unusual with the runs you guys have been on through the season. Obviously a terrific series against the Pacers. Do you guys feel you've dropped off from some of the great runs you have had? And is there any reason that there was unbelievable efficiency at some times during the season and now not as much? Or is it just the opponents?
LeBRON JAMES: No, I think as the rounds go on and on, the opponents and the teams that you're facing become better, and we know that. We've been able to get better as well. We're in the NBA Finals, we can't worry about we're 4‑4 in the last eight games. We're in the NBA Finals and we have to try to make the most of it.

Q. LeBron, Kawhi Leonard thinks you could come out more assertive in Game 2. Do you think there's going to be times in this series where you're going to have to, maybe as you phrased it a week or two, go back to your Cleveland days?
LeBRON JAMES: I play every game‑‑ I don't really predetermine what I'm going to do. I kind of let the game flow for itself. We'll see what happens.

Q. To follow up, can you just talk about your general fatigue level now? And how much does it take out of a player when you've got to work on the boards so hard as you did, 18 rebounds the other night?
LeBRON JAMES: It is tough. But it is what it is. I put myself in a position to try to do everything for this team, a little bit of everything, and put myself in a position to win. It's very challenging mentally, physically. But you have to figure out a way to just have will at this point of the season. There's not too many days left. There's no room for excuses.

Q. LeBron, you've gone through it three times, four times now, losing Game 1s. The first three times you won in five every time. When so much spotlight is on you guys, so much pressure on you guys this time of year, why do you make it look so easy to overcome these 0‑1 deficits?
LeBRON JAMES: It's not easy for sure. It's definitely not going to be easy versus this team we're going against now. But we've been able to get better. We've been able to make adjustments going from one game to the next. We kind of just bounce back after a loss. No matter if it's on the road or at home. We've been able to bounce back.

Q. LeBron, Tony Parker played 39 1/2 minutes last night without a turnover. Erik just called him clever. What makes him so smart?
LeBRON JAMES: He's been in this position multiple times. He's a very, very smart player. High‑engine player. I think it's very unique for him not to have any turnovers last night versus our defense. I think Pop‑‑ they've been on the same page for so many years, they know the system more than anybody.
He does a great job of running their offense and putting himself and putting those guys in position to succeed.

Q. LeBron, their strategy to kind of load up the paint on you and force you to maybe make a pass when you get in‑‑ I know you've seen that before, but as you watch or review it, are there things you can do to counter that?
LeBRON JAMES: I had some more opportunities where I could have maybe been a little more aggressive or look for my shot. But I don't to take away from any plays I made last night. I was able to still find my guys for some shots. We missed some shots. We had some wide‑open clips where I had two defenders guarding me. Two plays in the third quarter I was able to find Rio for two open threes that he just missed, two great shots. I found CB for four really good looks that he missed, that he's capable of making.
My guys are open. I've got this far with them, I'm not going to just abandon what I've been doing all year to help us get to this point. So I know those guys will be ready to shoot again once they're open.

Q. LeBron, Erik was talking about whatever it takes. Obviously that's where we're at in this point of the season. What kind of appreciation do you have though for what D‑Wade is going through trying to get ready, getting the uncertainty that he has to deal with?
LeBRON JAMES: It was a tough situation. He spends countless hours of treatment and whatever you can do to try to just prepare for one game each and every night. I've never been in that position, so I can feel for him, but I can't really understand exactly what he's going through. You appreciate when someone like that puts their body on the line each and every night when they're not even close to 100%.

Q. LeBron, you've taken on the challenge of guarding Rondo in past playoffs. You took on Tony late in the game last night. How much of the game is it realistic for you to go head to head with him and guard him? And what are the pluses and minuses of asking you to take on that challenge for more than just a few possessions at a time?
LeBRON JAMES: I think the game will present whatever the game presents itself, opportunities for me to guard Tony. If it's early in the game, late in the game, it won't be the full game. I think we have confidence in our two point guards. There will be times where I match up against him.
So defensively he does a lot of running, comes off a lot of pick‑and‑rolls. So I have to be ready for that. Offensively it presents a little challenge for me once I get back on the other end, chasing after Tony and going through all the screens that he goes through. But I'm ready for it. I'm ready for the challenge. It's something I live for.

Q. LeBron, maybe besides the missed shots, what was your review of your fourth quarter offensive execution last night? And maybe what are some of the things that needs to be done?
LeBRON JAMES: We just had some very empty possessions where we didn't get to anything. Got to some random sets and we had a couple of turnovers that we're not really accustomed to having. We played a very efficient game, but in the fourth quarter we kind of got a little sloppy when we're usually really good.
So we watched film today. We watched an hour of film, an hour and a half of film. We know where we can get better and be better in Game 2.

Q. LeBron, Erik came in and talked about how one of the most important priorities going forward is to get Chris more touches in the paint. What do you think about that? And how difficult will that be? And do you need him to go down there more often?
LeBRON JAMES: It won't be difficult. I think if he accepts the challenge to want to put pressure in the paint, he'll have it.
We run our offense through CB mostly. I get a few sets, but I get a lot of mine off of rebounding, defensive rebounding and D‑Wade gets a few sets. Mostly our offense goes through Chris, either in the elbow action or we run situations where D‑Wade will come off a flare and CB's manwill drop and help, and CB gets that action where he catches the ball at the elbow.
Wherever CB demands the ball in the post, we'll give it to him. We love when CB comes out because we know he's being aggressive. We need that paint attack from him.

Q. Did their defense dictate that you play distributor last night or was that a conscious decision? And will you make that type of decision in Game 2?
LeBRON JAMES: They shrunk the floor a lot and they put five, four, at times they triple‑teamed me in the post. Do the math. If I have three guys on me, four against three or four against two on the back side. So guys are open, and I believe in my teammates that they're going to make the right play after that.
My job is to draw attention from those guys. Once they get the ball, they can be in attack mode or do what they need to do to help our team.
Every game presents different challenges. I'm not sure what the game plan they'll have tomorrow. It may change. I knowSunday, I know we're going to make adjustments as well going into Game 2. We'll see. We'll see what type of game plan I come out with on Sunday. It will be dumb of me to reveal it today.

Q. LeBron, Coach said he used the word "painful" when watching the film for the fourth quarter. What word would you use to describe watching the film of the fourth quarter? And you said that you can get better in the fourth. What are those areas where you can?
LeBRON JAMES: Obviously, we had some empty possessions where we didn't get into any of our sets. We had a few turnovers which‑‑ some of them were just unforced. We can't have unforced turnovers, especially in The Finals, especially versus a very good Spurs team that's going to come up the other end and execute really well.
It was painful. It's always tough watching a playoff loss and see how many mistakes you made. But that's what you learn for. That's the good thing about this team, we own it and we watch it and then we try not to make the same mistake the next time.

Q. LeBron, one last tough memory: That Parker shot, has that run through your mind since? And is there anything you would have done differently?
LeBRON JAMES: No, I mean I've seen it today on film. But it didn't run through my mind too much after the game last night. It was a tough shot. He came off a pick‑and‑roll. He bobbled it, he backed up, he tripped, he fell and he got up and went under my arm and made a tough bank shot. That's not why we lost the game. That's a huge shot, but it's not why we lost the game.
No, didn't really bother me too much.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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