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NBA FINALS: HEAT v SPURS


June 4, 2014


Kawhi Leonard


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Practice Day

Q.  Do you expect, from a feel standpoint, do you feel you have a better grasp on it?
KAWHI LEONARD:  Yeah, the second time around, but it's not going to be easy at all.  It's going to be a very tough series.  I have to make sure I play defense.

Q.  What's the hardest part of this wait, all these days and all this stuff leading up to that first game?
KAWHI LEONARD:  What's the hardest part?

Q.  Yeah.
KAWHI LEONARD:¬† Just being patient, just letting‑‑ just waiting for the game to come.

Q.¬† Do you embrace the best defensive match‑up, or would you prefer to have somebody who is maybe not as proficient offensively because that helps you out more offensively or do you prefer to have the defensive match‑up?
KAWHI LEONARD:¬† The team plays their style.¬† I don't adjust anything.¬† I just take what the defense gives me.¬† I don't know how many‑‑ I never thought of it that way.¬† Whoever plays me, I really don't feel no difference.¬† I just feel the team, team‑wise you get around your guy, somebody is there to help or the team is in the passing lanes.¬† It's not a one‑on‑one game.

Q.  What about when you have a tough cover yourself?  Do you like that?
KAWHI LEONARD:  Doesn't bother me.  It's part of basketball.

Q.  Kawhi, Second Team All Defense when you get that recognition, not just talking about it but it's actually there.  Does that mean anything to you?  Does that say, hey, I deserve that?
KAWHI LEONARD:  Like I say, it's just that people are starting to know that I give my effort out there on the floor, on both ends and just finally starting to get noticed and that's what I pretty much feel about it.

Q.  You're a quiet guy, obviously off court, I don't think you talk a whole lot.  Some of the Pacers didn't really follow that type of game plan against LeBron.  Do you ever get vocal with an opponent on the floor?  Do you ever talk to a guy and try to get in his head, so to speak?
KAWHI LEONARD:  No.  No, I don't.  I talk to my teammates and tell them "help side" or something like that, but not really a conversation trying to get in someone's head.

Q.  What do you take into the series having played LeBron last year in The Finals?  Do you feel like you know his certain tendencies more, or do you feel like you have a better grasp on his game?
KAWHI LEONARD:  Just a better grasp of the Miami Heat.  LeBron James is an elite player.  Knowing his tendencies, it's still going to be hard to stop him.  It's going to take more than that.  It's going to take a team effort.

Q.  What about you, Kawhi?  How much better are you since last Finals?
KAWHI LEONARD:  Just a little bit more experienced, smarter, and that's about it.

Q.¬† How much last summer did you sort of think about the free‑throw that you missed in Game 6?¬† Is that something that has stuck with you for a while?
KAWHI LEONARD:  No, after summer I was focused on getting my knee healthy.

Q.  Just the experience of going through what you guys did in such a great series, can you learn a lot from that as you guys get ready?  Is there anything to be learned from your team about the Heat?
KAWHI LEONARD:  Yeah, a lot to be learned.  Time makes you better and just going through the experience made everybody on the team better, that was there. 

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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