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NBA FINALS: SPURS v HEAT


June 12, 2013


LeBron James


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Practice Day

Q.  LeBron, some of the Spurs players were saying that you're not necessarily struggling offensively.  They're just playing great defense.  How much of it is you struggling and how much of it is their defense?
LeBRON JAMES:  Some of it both.  They're doing a great job of putting bodies in front of me and not allowing me to have some of the creases I have had throughout the playoffs.  Some of it is me being out of rhythm.  It's a little bit of both.

Q.  When you're going through a difficult patch, do you confide in anybody or do you just figure it out yourself?
LeBRON JAMES:  No, I figure it out.

Q.  Danny Green mentioned last night, I don't know if you heard it, he said he thought they weren't stopping you as much as you were stopping yourself.   Does any part of that ring true to you that you may be in your own way?
LeBRON JAMES:  I'll be better.  I'll be much better tomorrow night.

Q.  And what would better mean for you?
LeBRON JAMES:  Better than last night.  I played like (expletive).

Q.  LeBron, I know you were upset after the game last night.  But do you still have the mindset that it's on you, that you want this on your shoulders, on your chest?
LeBRON JAMES:  Yeah.  Absolutely.  I take full responsibility for our team's performance last night.  Me as a leader, I can't afford to perform like I did last night and expect us to win on the road.  It's that simple.
So I'm putting all the pressure on my chest, on my shoulders to come through for our team.  That's the way it is.

Q.  And when you say that, the obvious thing that I think most people would think about is, is it going to be 40 like Indiana or 45 like Boston?  Can you afford to think of anything in those sort of terms?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I have to do whatever it takes.¬† I mean, 7‑for‑21 isn't going to cut it.¬† Zero free throws.¬† I had 11 rebounds, I had 5 assists, but 7‑for‑21 and zero free throws ain't going to cut it.
So I will be better tomorrow.

Q.  You guys have shown an ability to bounce back consistently this season.  Usually when you do it's in a pretty big way.  Is that just a collective mindset of feeling desperation?
LeBRON JAMES:  We've been at our best when I guess our backs are up against the wall.  And we're at it again.
We'll see how we respond tomorrow.

Q.  Dwyane said it has to be the Big Three, so to speak, of Miami to lead this team whereas the Spurs are getting more out of their role players.  Do you agree with that sentiment?
LeBRON JAMES:  We have to have a collective group to win, especially against this team.  And everyone has to perform at a high level.

Q.  LeBron, as much as we all know you can take it on, this was supposed to be three great players doing this together in Miami.  The other two aren't really playing that well either.  Are you kind of discounting that they can pick it up?
LeBRON JAMES:  No, I'm not discounting anyone.  We wouldn't be at this point without my teammates.  I have all the confidence in the world in my teammates.  But I am the star, I am the leader.  And they look at me to do things on the court, to make plays, and if I'm not doing it, I'm not doing my job.

Q.  LeBron, obviously you guys have a lot of will and a lot of pride when it goes to responding to losses.  The San Antonio Spurs have four championships, too.  They know what it's like to play in this moment as well.
LeBRON JAMES:  Absolutely.  We'll see what happens.  Something has to give tomorrow night.  They have a championship pedigree.  They have four.  We have two.  So something has to give.  We'll see what happens.
We've been able to bounce back throughout adverse times throughout the season throughout the years that we've been together, these three years.  We'll see.

Q. ¬†You said 7‑for‑21 won't cut it.¬† No free throws won't cut it.¬† Is it tough to make that kind of adjustment in the game?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† You can't have both of them.¬† If you can go 7‑for‑21, but you get to the free‑throw line ten‑plus times, you're being aggressive.¬† You have to be able to shoot the ball high clip from the field if you're not going to the free‑throw line.¬† You can't have both.
It's impossible for me to go 7‑for‑21, shoot 33% from the field and not have free throws.¬† You have to figure out ways offensively that you can make an impact.

Q.  LeBron, you had by far your best season from the perimeter shooting this year from three and inside the three.  You said you're not in a rhythm right now.  Does the ball feel good coming out of your hands?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† At times it has.¬† Last night a few of them did.¬† A few of them didn't.¬† But I know, I've shot the ball‑‑ my rhythm, I've been in good rhythm all year.¬† I've worked on it enough.
Mentally it's not a problem.  Mentally I'm not out of it, saying that my shot is gone.  I know what I can do.  It's just about going up there and knocking them down.  I will do that.

Q.  LeBron, what bothered you most about the team's defensive effort?  And secondly, what has allowed you guys in the playoffs to bounce back with such huge wins after losses?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† 19 offensive rebounds, 20 points in transition for the Spurs.¬† I don't know.¬† It's just something we've grown over the years, being able to bounce back in adverse situations.¬† And no matter the circumstances, this is going to be probably one of the toughest, because this is‑‑ like you said, we're going against a team championship DNA and championship pedigree on the floor and a must‑win.¬† We're going to be ready for it.¬† We're going to accept the challenge and see what happens.

Q.¬† LeBron, are you more disappointed that you didn't get to the free‑throw line, that you were settling, or the fact that their defense is kind of throwing you off your game?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I don't believe I was settling.¬† I think I took the shots that was there.¬† I had some really good looks that didn't go down.¬† But I just didn't get to the free‑throw line.¬† I can't allow that to happen.¬† I have to try to put more pressure on the defense.¬† Not saying the whistle is going to be blown, putting pressure on their defensive interior and for myself to kick it out for my guys to have to do that.¬† That's what I was brought here to do.¬† And it can't be anything less than that.

Q.  LeBron, you said a number of times that you'll be better and that you will figure it out.  What is it that gives you that confidence to know that that will be the case?
LeBRON JAMES:  I'm just confident in my ability.  And my teammates are going to put me in positions to succeed.  And the coaching staff will put us in positions to succeed.
I'm a positive guy.  I love the game.  I have fun with the game.  As dark as it was last night, can't get no darker than that, especially for me.
So I guarantee I'll be better tomorrow for sure.

Q.  Some people when they watch you play, the people that analyze these things, they say, he just has to go.  He has to impose his will.  He has to just get to the basket.  What don't those people understand about what you're facing?
LeBRON JAMES:  I don't know.  I don't know what they don't understand.  I guess they're not on the floor.  But for me, I don't really get involved in what people say that I should do.  I just do what I need to do to help our team win.  I can't worry about what guys are saying or writing.  I don't really get involved in it.

Q.  How much of what's been going on in The Finals and last night is in your head?
LeBRON JAMES:  Is in my head?  Right now?

Q.  Last night, just your struggles in general the last couple of games, how much of that is in your head?
LeBRON JAMES:  Well, I'm better today than I was last night, obviously.

Q.  I see what you mean.  What I mean is last night, how much of that was in your head?
LeBRON JAMES:  I mean, if you see my comments and you see my interview, it'll let you know it was weighing heavily on me, right after getting blown out in a Finals game.  So it was weighing heavily on me.  With my performance, I didn't particularly care for myself at that point in time.  So obviously it was in my head.

Q.¬† LeBron, you've seen every defense over the years.¬† You've seen teams try to build a wall against you.¬† But in this particular instance would getting the ball on the move as opposed to a static screen‑and‑roll be a better way for you to attack the defense?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I think that's one way.¬† Another way is for us to get‑‑ we have to get stops, too.¬† And defensive rebounding, where I'm getting the ball off the backboard and trying to create some early offense instead of playing against their half‑court defense.
But, yeah, I may use that adjustment.  Thanks, David.  Appreciate it.  My man.

Q.  One other thing:  Their ability to go from strong to weak passing the ball, moving the ball, is that leading to Leonard being as active as he is on the glass, kind of stretching you guys out a little bit?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† He's doing something they haven't done this year.¬† They're 29th in offensive rebounding this year.¬† And Kawhi has found a way to‑‑ I think he's made an adjustment to get offensive rebounds.¬† So it's part of my job, too.¬† It's part of my job, too.¬† I'm matched up with him a lot.¬† I get caught sometimes trying to help out our bigs and rebounding.¬† He's coming in flying in ‑‑ when I'm helping out with our bigs, he's coming in and getting rebounds.
I think in Game 2 he had eight offensive rebounds in Game 2.  He had a couple last night as well.  That's part of my job, too.  I'm okay with that.

Q.  LeBron, you mentioned you'll figure it out or you always figure it out.  We've seen that through the years.  What else have you figured out that you need to do?
LeBRON JAMES:  Specifically what do you mean?

Q.  You talked about there's getting the ball on the move.  What else have you figured out against their defense that you need to do?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Well, I mean, I think first of all, I think David said it well, getting the ball on the move.¬† Get some early offense.¬† Not playing against their set defense as much.¬† They're doing a good job of when I come off pick‑and‑rolls, they have a guy shrink the floor at the elbow and getting a big in front of my body and a guy guarding to pursue the ball as well.¬† They are putting me in a position where they can crowd me a lot.¬† If I can get the ball in transition where I'm facing my defender or maybe just one other defender, I can break their defense down.
But I will watch film today.  I'm going to break down the film.  We already watched a lot of film.  I'm going to break it down some more, and do a better job of attacking their defense tomorrow.  Thanks.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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