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NBA FINALS: SPURS v HEAT


June 8, 2013


LeBron James


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. ¬†LeBron, based on the 2‑3‑2 format in the Game 1 loss, how important is a victory in Game 2?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I mean, at the end of the day it's a Finals game.¬† Every game is important.¬† Game 1, Game 2, 3, 4, no matter 2‑3‑2 format or it could be a 3‑2‑2 format.¬† No matter what the format is, it's The Finals; every game is important.¬† It's the playoffs, actually.¬† Every game is important, no matter if you're at home or on the road.

Q.  So no extra sense of urgency?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, I mean, I think the importance of a game, the urgency should already be there.  That's what playoff basketball is all about.  You can't afford to, you know, not play with a sense of urgency in a playoff game.

Q.¬† Fourth quarters in the playoffs probably take more out of you than regular‑season games, of course.¬† How can you find another gear, not just you, but the collective you in the fourth quarter of some of these playoff games?
LeBRON JAMES:  We have to dig down.  It's about will.  We're a team that expends a lot of energy on both sides of the floor.  But we have to figure out a way to have some in the fourth quarter for sure, when it's closing time.

Q.¬† LeBron, how much of that is just maybe getting Dwyane‑‑ he was talking about how he didn't wear down because of the knee.¬† He just said he was less aggressive in the second half than he was in the first.¬† How much of that is just giving him maybe one or two easy ones and sort of seeing everything open up for everyone?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I think it's more important for him than anyone on our team.¬† Then CB and probably me would be last as far as getting him an easy one, seeing the ball going in and pick up his aggressiveness.¬† When you're a scorer, the best thing for you to do is to get an easy one, a dunk or a lay‑up, and it makes the game much easier for you.

Q.  LeBron, is there a different style of basketball when you play a Western Conference team that may take a game or two to get used to or is that overrated?
LeBRON JAMES:  No, I think each team is different.  You have to game plan each team differently.  It's going to take a game, maybe two, to get rhythm of things.  The Milwaukee series was different from the Chicago series.  The Chicago series was different from the Indiana series.  And now this Spurs team is going to be different from all three of those teams.
It's just the personnel, how it works, how the coaches prepare those teams.  It's a little bit of everything.  And then each round gets harder and harder, too.
So it takes a couple of games, more preparation in the films and in the books, to get to a point where you are comfortable with everything that's going on out on the floor, both offensively and defensively, and the ways you can exploit those challenges.

Q.  LeBron, what do you expect from your teammates in Game 2?
LeBRON JAMES:  I expect them to suit up and be on the floor and ready for a game.  That's what I expect out of them.

Q.  I guess before Game 1 you said this is 2013 and you can't make me do what I don't want to do.  And then yesterday you talked about Game 1.  You kind of suggested they made you pass more.  You said you like your passes, but you suggested you could be more aggressive.  Did they make youdo something maybe you didn't want to do?
LeBRON JAMES:  I was waiting for one of you guys this year, the literal journalists.
No, when I decide to pass, I feel like as a teammate hoping I can make a play.  Offensively I attract so much attention that if a guy is open on my team, I will pass the ball.  And the Spurs did a good job of shrinking the floor and not making me pass the ball, but I've seen guys that were open.
So if that's their game plan, we're going to continue to exploit that.  And I believe our guys will be there to knock those shots down.  But it's also a few plays I could have been more aggressive as well.  But Game 1, I think I improve as the series goes on as well, seeing ways I can be more aggressive from possession to procession on in the series.

Q.  No one has played more minutes than you the last three postseasons, plus Olympics.  What kind of toll has that taken on you?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, I would love to have rest, but not at this time of the year.  I wouldn't substitute sitting down in my house right now watching The Finals.
It is what it is.¬† It's a toll.¬† It's a toll for myself to go through what I've been through the last two‑and‑a‑half years.¬† But I've been blessed, I've been blessed to be able to be in three Finals.¬† I've been blessed to be a part of a great Olympic team and to play basketball, the game that I love.¬† I'm not going to be able to do it forever.¬† The opportunities that the game has given me the last couple of years, I wouldn't substitute that for rest.

Q.  LeBron, of all the teams that you've faced with this Miami team in the postseason, how does this San Antonio team compare to all the other tests you've had?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† It's a tough test.¬† It's going to be a tough test for us.¬† But I think we've had some tough tests in our three years.¬† I thought Dallas was‑‑ Dallas beat us and they were very tough.¬† They were very smart.¬† They were a veteran ballclub.¬† They had some great players.¬† I thought some of the Chicago series that we've had, even though we've won 4‑1 against them in both our playoff series, those were some tests.¬† We've had some challenges.
Oklahoma City gave us a scare a little bit in Game 1 of last year's Finals.¬† But we were able to figure that out.¬† We've had some pretty good battles, and I think‑‑ let me not forget this, being down 3‑2 going into Boston last year.¬† I think that was a huge test for us, too.¬† For them to come here and they beat us in Game 5, and we had to go out and beat two in a row just to advance.¬† So we've had some pretty good tests and we've been able to overcome.

Q.  Secondly, a lot of people when they watch you in a game where your team falls short, maybe you don't score at the end.
LeBRON JAMES:  I should have done more, right?

Q.¬† Should have done more.¬† Triple‑double not quite enough for you.
LeBRON JAMES:  Right.

Q.  When you hear that, do you think, I need to be more aggressive or do you know you need to be more aggressive?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† No, I can't get involved in that honestly, because I've done more and lost before.¬† I mean, we played Orlando‑‑ when I was in Cleveland we played Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals and I think I averaged 38‑‑ 36, or whatever I averaged.¬† I guess I should have done more in that series as well.¬† But I can't.
I can't really get involved or care‑‑ I don't really read too much.¬† I know what I say to you guys and I know the questions you guys ask me, but I don't really read too much of what people say.¬† I do what's best for the team.¬† What's best for the team, it doesn't always result in a win.
I wish we could go 16‑0 in the playoffs.¬† That would be awesome.¬† There's challenges that come from the game.¬† You learn from game to game in ways that you can get better.¬† I want to win just as bad as anyone.¬† I'm going to put myself and my team in a position to win.¬† I have to try to make the plays.¬† I can't worry about if people are saying, you should have done more, you should have been more aggressive, because you got a loss.¬† Winning and losing is part of the game.

Q.  LeBron, how does the Danny Green that you saw in Cleveland compare to the Danny Green you saw in Game 1?
LeBRON JAMES:  Is that a serious question?

Q.  Yes.  How have you seen his game grow?
LeBRON JAMES:  I think, first of all, opportunity.  That's what it's about in this league.  It's about a coach believing in you, giving you the opportunity.  And it's about your teammates believing in you and giving you the confidence, and then about yourself just going out and doing it.  I think it's the same thing with Paul George and the same thing with Danny Green on different levels because Paul George gets more of a burden offensively from his team.  But Frank Vogel gave Paul George the keys this year, and allowed him to grow and his teammates gave him confidence and he started believing in himself.  And I think that's what Pop about with Danny.
In practice Danny would play well for us, but he was behind some veteran guys, myself and Sasha Pavlovic and Delonte West and Mo Williams and Boobie Gibson.  It was very tough for him to get on the floor.  Also being a rookie too.  But I've seen the talent he had.  He showed the talent when he was in North Carolina.  Once he got to Pop, Pop gave him confidence.  You get the opportunity, you go out and make the most of it.

Q.  You were saying earlier about trying to get Dwyane some easier opportunities and get him into the flow.  Your teammates were talking about how it's not so much about Dwyane's health game to game but just his energy level.  In addition to getting him easy opportunities, are there conversations you have with him to make sure that he's continuing to fight through it the way he needs to fight through it?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† What I tell D‑Wade is when he's most in tune with the game, I can see it on his face.¬† I think his face just shows where he's at in the game.¬† I don't know if it's maybe his knee or maybe frustrated at times or maybe he's just not in the rhythm.¬† But I can see it on his face when he's there.¬† That's what I told him, even if sometimes you're not in the rhythm, I need to see your face that you're in tune and you're ready for the next possession and ready to move on from whatever is going on.
For me as one of the leaders of the team who has the ball in his hands a lot, I have to do my part as well to help them, I guess, get that face, where he feels like he's involved, and where he feels like he's a part of everything that's going on, both offensively and defensively.¬† And it helps us out.¬† When his energy level is high, his motor is going and his face is‑‑ he feels like, he looks like he's in tune, we're a really, really powerful team.

Q.  LeBron, I wonder about the 24, 48 hours after a playoff loss and how the team responds to that, how the coaches respond to that, specifically in terms of the adjustments that you make from game to game.  How receptive they are to things that you may suggest and how on point they are with the adjustments that they make from game to game.
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, there's pros and cons with having 48 hours in between games, especially after a loss.  You think about it a lot and it eats away at you.  But at the same time it allows you to really pinpoint ways you can get better in the next game.  We had yesterday, we had today, and we will also use tomorrow, shootaround to continue to, I guess, get more familiar with what the game plan will be tomorrow.
So the time definitely helps.  And the communication, like you said, the communication between the players and the coaches has to be receptive and open and honest in order for the game plan to work, because we have to have everyone on page from the coaching staff to the players once we get on the floor because the game is kind of so fast.
I think it's been great for us, these last I don't know how many hours it's been since Game 1.  But we've used the time, I think, wisely in this case.
Q.  Do you recall the most brutal film session after a playoff loss that was just really bad?
LeBRON JAMES:  We've had a couple.  We've had a couple where, you know, the players didn't like the coaches.  Coaches didn't like the players.  And I think that's very healthy.  It happens.  The coaches want the players to do everything right, and sometimes the players want to do it or believe that they're doing everything right.
So we've had film sessions where we both left out of it, I guess, not liking each other, but agreeing on what happened and owning it and seeing the ways we can get it better in the next game.  And it usually happens during the playoffs.
I think everything is just magnified.  It's more emotions, more everything in the playoffs.  For a veteran ballclub, we shouldn't sugarcoat anything when it comes to wanting to get better and improving.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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