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NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: HEAT v PACERS


May 30, 2014


LeBron James

Dwyane Wade


MIAMI, FLORIDA: Game Six

Indiana Pacers - 92
Miami Heat - 117


Q. ¬†LeBron and Dwyane, for you guys, it's just hat and T‑shirt day, but for the Miami Heat, it's their fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals, first time since the '87 Celtics.¬† Has the magnitude of the moment hit you guys yet?
DWYANE WADE:  Yeah and no.  We don't take this for granted, and hopefully our fans in Miami, our supporters don't take this for granted neither.  This is not something that happens every day.
But we've worked as a unit.  We sacrificed as individuals to be in this moment, in this position, so we understand where we're at right now, but it's still crazy, too.
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Just to piggy‑back off what D‑Wade said, we don't take this moment for granted.¬† We're going to celebrate tonight because it just doesn't happen every year.¬† We've been fortunate enough to be a part of this four straight times, and you just can't take these moments for granted.
It hasn't really hit us that much yet because I think we're in it.  I think it will once we're done and we're able to look back at what we were able to accomplish as players, as a franchise.  I think that's when it will really hit us.
We definitely don't take it for granted to be in this position.

Q.¬† LeBron, when did it sort of dawn that this could be a special night that you guys would maybe have your ultimate game?¬† Was it yesterday in practice?¬† Was it the walk‑through and shootaround today?¬† Was it just when it got going?¬† When did you sort of know that you absolutely hit your stride in this game?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† I mean, I don't know.¬† I would say it had to be at the end of the first quarter we started to get a good groove, started to get a good groove, and we were down 9‑2 to start the game.¬† From that point on, they only scored four points.¬† It's crazy.¬† They scored four points from that point on.
We just locked in and got a good groove.  I think it started with Bird coming into the game.  His rebounding, his effort that he gave us when he came into the game gave us six defensive rebounds, gave us three buckets from drives from Norris and guys, and his dunk and his layup, I think that's what picked us up.
And then Rashard was, obviously, the key to everything.  His ability to stretch the floor, shoot the ball, and play the way he played tonight.  Once those guys got it going, I think we all fed off of it.

Q.  LeBron, you took a lot of lumps earlier in your career from teams like Boston that were determined to kind of mentally shake you as part of their game plan.  How much, if any, did those experiences help you get past all the goofiness of Lance Stephenson and the other stuff they were trying to do to you in this series?
LeBRON JAMES:  I always believe, a really good friend of mine told me that the best teacher in life is experience.  When you go through so many things, you're able to learn from it.  You're able to know how to go about it.  Next time you face those trials and tribulations or whatever the case may come, and you're better prepared for it.
So being around a group of guys like this, me being in positions that I've been in the past where I've failed, but I was never defeated.  That was, for me, to be able to come back from failure and continue to come back and mentally be able to stay strong, it defines who you are as a man more than anything.

Q.  LeBron, to use a word that Spo often coins, there was noise all year about Indiana's drive to win the East, and you look at the standings at one point, they were obviously comfortably up most of the year.  Did doubt ever seep into the room at all that you guys would end up being in the position you're in right now?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Not at all.¬† Not at all.¬† I felt like‑‑ I told the guys before the Eastern Conference or whatever, before the season even‑‑ before the playoffs started, that this was going to be our path.¬† It's different.¬† We're going to have to win on the road.¬† We're going to have to start on somebody else's floor in order to be able to represent the Eastern Conference in The Finals.
The guys, we all responded.  We all took that challenge.  Obviously, we had the first two rounds on our floor, but we knew, if Indiana took care of business, we had to start on their floor, and we just had that mindset.  We had that mindset, if we want to ultimately represent the Eastern Conference in The Finals, we had to win on the road, and we were able to accomplish that.

Q.¬† Dwyane, for you, you're going to have another rematch, whether it's OKC or San Antonio.¬† Anything you learned‑‑
LeBRON JAMES:  Not for me?  I wasn't here?

Q.¬† You weren't here‑‑
LeBRON JAMES:  No, I wasn't?

Q.¬† ‑‑ when they beat Dallas the first time.
LeBRON JAMES:  I don't get a rematch?

Q.  Dwyane, anything that you learned from that, Dwyane?  After you played Dallas twice and now going into playing a team you're going to eventually play again.
DWYANE WADE:  Hopefully, it's not the same outcome as it was the first time around.
Whoever we meet in the next round, it's going to be a big challenge.  Obviously, we beat them in The Finals.  Whether it's San Antonio from last year feeling they had us, whether it's a young OKC team we beat two years ago, they're going to feel more prepared for this moment.  It's going to have its own challenges.
But wouldn't want it any other way.  Wouldn't have it any other way.  I think having the four best teams in the NBA all season to represent the Western Conference and Eastern Conference is ideal and perfect for this league.  The two best teams will meet.
We're just happy and excited that we're one of the best.

Q.  LeBron, you mentioned that you knew your path would be different.  You told the guys this.  But did you think, as you were kind of going through uneven stretches in the regular season, Dwyane being out for long periods of time, that you would be able to get to this level, particularly defensively?  Did you think it was still in this team to get here?
LeBRON JAMES:  I believe, if we ever got to a point where our whole team was able to be available for Spo and for all of us, that we could compete with anybody.  Never concerned about that.
Obviously, going through the week and week and week and grinding months of a regular season, it was a toll on all of us.  But I felt like down the stretch, if we could get healthy, we could get everyone in uniform and have our full strength, it didn't matter what seed we were.  I felt like we can represent the Eastern Conference again The Finals if we had the health, and we were able to accomplish that.

Q.  LeBron, how did you restrain yourself when Lance put his hand on your face?  And what was your reaction to his foul on Norris Cole?
LeBRON JAMES:  I don't know.  I have no idea how I restrained.  I don't know.  I guess I just understand what the bigger picture is.
It was uncalled for, for sure.¬† That was‑‑ I don't know.¬† I'm at a loss of words with that, but it was uncalled for, and I was able to move on from it.¬† I let him know how I felt.
I felt it could have been‑‑ the fact that it was Lance that hit Norris, it was a little bit‑‑ you could have your own assumption of what it is.¬† If it was C.J. Watson hitting Norris, we'd have said he went for the ball.¬† The fact that it was Lance, we can say he went for his face.¬† So wrong place at the wrong time‑‑ or at the right time for Lance, in his case.

Q.¬† Dwyane, a fifth time in nine years for you and U.D. to go The Finals, five in eight for LeBron‑‑ I don't want you to feel excluded from another question now.
LeBRON JAMES:  Appreciate it.

Q.¬† Does it even seem real, particularly with a 15‑67 thrown in there as well?¬† To go there with five‑‑ I mean, more than every other year on average.¬† Does it seem real yet that you guys are going to do that?
DWYANE WADE:  No, man.  You know, you get drafted, and you're just happy to be in the NBA.  You want to make a name for yourself.  11 years later, you've gone to The Finals five times, and you've won championships.
You just never know how your life and your path is going to plan out.  If you just do things the way that you should do them, the way you feel that it should be done, live with the mistakes that you make, get better from them, and just be who you are, great things happen to you.  That's a prime example for all of us.
Me and him meeting in Chicago, sitting in a room getting tested by teams, getting tried out, didn't know that this relationship that we was going to have was going to turn into this.  You just never know.
I think we've all put ourselves in great situations, and we're just going to continue to try to enjoy this moment that we're in because it's an amazing moment.  It's something that, for a lifetime, is going to fulfill us as athletes.  Even when we can't play this game, we're going to always be able to talk about this.  So we just want to continue to add to what we're accomplishing.

Q.  LeBron, earlier Frank Vogel came in here.  I know you've dealt with your share of comparisons over the course of your career, but he said he felt like you guys were the Chicago Bulls of this era and that you're the Michael Jordan of this era.  When you hear something like that, how does it make you feel?  And do you feel this team is at that level?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Me and D‑Wade grew up watching the great Chicago Bulls team and the great Michael Jordan and the rest of those guys.¬† Any time I hear my name or our team in the same breath with legends and great teams and franchises, it's so humbling, man.¬† It's like‑‑ I really don't know.¬† Just two kids from the inner cities, respective cities where they're from.¬† We never thought we'd get to this point.
So to be able to play the game that we love at a high level for one another, for our teammates, it's the ultimate.  When you hear the comparisons, you respect it, you're humbled by it, and you just feel like while you're in the moment hopefully, while you're playing the game, that you can make an impact enough to where you move on and people will start comparing you to ones that's in the game at the present time.
So it's very, very humbling.

Q.  LeBron, there was a lot of energy in this building from the opening tip.  How much were you guys able to feed off of that right from the get go?
LeBRON JAMES:¬† Not so well.¬† We were down 9‑2.¬† Obviously, we didn't do our part.
But we knew our fans were going to come out.  It's a Friday night in Miami.  We have an opportunity to close out, and our fans have been amazing thus far.  We just want to try to do our part.
Obviously, the first couple minutes wasn't the start that we wanted, but we were able to get back into the game, and we just fed off the energy from our fans, fed off the energy from one another, and just kept it going.

Q.  Question for both of you:  Three years ago, when you guys beat the Chicago Bulls in five games to advance to The Finals, what do you remember from that?  Does it feel like just three years ago?  How do the emotions, how do they change from then until now?
DWYANE WADE:  We were just talking about this the other day.  We remember being down like ten going into the end of the game, and next thing you know we were looking at each other like we just won.
It was a bizarre, bizarre ending.  It was like, wait, we're in The Finals?  It happened so fast in that series.
I just remember being kind of a young team and still figuring it out.  Still figuring out at the end of the game where the ball was going, how it was going to get there, what we were doing defensively.  But we did our job, and we got to The Finals.
It seemed like a long time ago.  We were still kids, it seemed like, and now just being more prepared for this moment.  Seizing a moment like tonight.  Not a moment, I don't think inside none of us, that we felt we were going to lose this ballgame.  We knew we were going to impose our will.  We didn't know the outcome, but we knew we were going to impose our will here at home.
I think we were a little unsure years ago, kind of in the Chicago series.  So that was the difference.
LeBRON JAMES:  He got it.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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