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NBA FINALS: HEAT v SPURS


June 14, 2014


LeBron James


SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Practice Day

Q.  Look at your numbers in these Finals, 28 points, 60% from the floor, 61 from three.  I know you're harder on yourself than anybody else, but has there been a point in the last couple days where you ask yourself what more you can really do at this point?
LEBRON JAMES:¬† I haven't even‑‑ I haven't looked at my numbers because it's meant one win, and that's what it comes down to for us and for me personally.¬† I feel like I haven't even looked at the numbers.¬† I had no idea what I was shooting from the field or what I was averaging.
I've been telling myself I need to do more.¬† Is it too much to ask myself?¬† I don't know.¬† I don't know.¬† I need to do more because what I'm doing isn't enough.¬† You know, it's just what I put on myself.¬† If you told me I was averaging 28, shooting 60% from the floor and 61 from the three‑point line and we'd be down 3‑1, I would never give you another interview, Tim, and I like you (laughing).
But that's what the team is all about.  It's team basketball.  But I put a lot more.  I need to get to 32, and 65 and 65 from the field and three.  It's just the pressure I put on myself, man.  It's what I've come to.

Q.  So what has your message to these guys been over the last 36 hours then?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, just we need to win one game.  That's all we can think about.  We can't think about forcing a Game 7.  We have to win one game.  Game 5, being here in a hostile environment, we know if we lose, the season is over.
For me, it's like you either don't make the playoffs or you win a championship.¬† There's no in between.¬† I don't want no first‑round victory, no second‑round victory, no Eastern Conference Finals.¬† Either I don't make the playoffs or I would rather get my two months off, get my body rested or win the Finals.¬† I don't want no in between.
Obviously, we have a tall task, a tough task, but we're here, we're in the moment, and do your best.  Just go out and perform, play basketball at a high level.  Something you've been doing your whole life.  Live with the results, man, and go from there.

Q.  You mentioned team basketball.  You haven't been the problem in the series, obviously.  What more do you need out of your teammates?
LEBRON JAMES:  I just want my teammates to be themselves, man.  You know, I feel like I need to do more too.  It's how I am.  My teammates are everything.  Obviously I wouldn't be sitting up here with this, the NBA Finals thing behind me, without them.  You know, and they've been there all year, and I still believe in them.  The guys that are struggling, I believe they're going to have a big game tomorrow.  The guys that haven't been in a rhythm, I feel like tomorrow's going to be the best rhythm they've been in.
Tomorrow might be the game where I need to be picked up like I was in Game 1 where I caught a cramp.  I believe in them, and I ride with them no matter what.

Q.  Dwyane just came out and said yesterday he went to the gym by himself to get a feel for the ball and smell the gym after what happened in the last game for him.  What do you expect from him in the next game, and how motivated do you think he is right now?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, you expect everyone to be great.  This is the biggest moment of the season.  But the game has to play itself out.  I expect for him to be great.  I expect all our guys to be great or put themselves in a position where we can succeed.
But that's why you also have to play the game as well and see what happens throughout the course of the game and then after the game.  We can all wonder what may happen tomorrow or whatever the case may be, but you have to live in the moment.

Q.  You talk about how you guys all get together well and talking about that for three years.  You do emote at times on the court.  Are there times when a star teammate maybe doesn't get back on defense, isn't doing the right thing, where you might be more vocal than we see?  And might there be a need to do that more often amidst a period of desperation like this?
LEBRON JAMES:¬† It's easy to say that now being down 3‑1 in a series.¬† How I'll lead is how I believe a guy should lead.¬† How I believe is how I think I should lead.¬† I mean, you may be different, someone else may be different how they lead.¬† So I won't change my approach.
I hold guys accountable.  I don't let things slide.  I hold guys accountable and I want guys to be great while they're out on the floor and do what's best for the team.  If you do that, you put the team before yourself, then I can live with that.  So my leadership approach is different from others and I live with it.

Q.  As the Finals have progressed, a lot more speculation about the future of the big three has occurred.  Knowing that major decisions need to be made this summer, does that add to the motivation of getting the job done knowing that the team may not be the same as it is right now?
LEBRON JAMES:  No.

Q.  And do you think about your decision that needs to be made over the summer as well?
LEBRON JAMES:  No, no, not really.  I don't need any motivation about the summertime or whatever something that's going on after the fact.  I live too much in the moment.  I can't worry about what goes on after this series is over with.  Win, lose or draw, I live now and worry about the future once it's upon me.

Q.  What have you done to get the problem with the cramps under control?  I know you're drinking coconut water right now.  What have you done since Game 1 to get a handle on that?
LEBRON JAMES:  I just try to stay hydrated.  I haven't changed much.  I've got the two and a half bags of IV after Game 1, and that got me above the curve, so I just kind of stayed in the same regiment.  I drink a lot.  I drink a lot of fluids, water and drinks, and hydrate all day long.
So I haven't done anything that was kind of like out of my character or anything of that nature.  It's just something that I've had a few times in my career, and something that may happen again in the future.  Hopefully, it's not the near future.  I can't have it happen tomorrow.  Somebody's going to have to really come get me tomorrow if that happens.  So I'm just staying above the curve, that's all.

Q.  Was it really just an issue with the temperature inside the arena?
LEBRON JAMES:¬† Well, I don't know.¬† I don't know.¬† Both teams were playing extremely hard.¬† It was obviously something I've‑‑ I haven't played in conditions like that since I was a kid where you had no choice but to play in conditions like that.¬† But I caught cramps in the Finals game in our first time we won against OKC in Game 4.¬† That took me out of the game for a little bit.¬† I don't remember it being extremely hot, but it is Miami, so it could have been a little warm in there.
So it was extreme conditions in Game 1.  But nothing I could have done about it.

Q.  What's been the main problem for you guys defensively when it comes to fighting through or sorting out their screens?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, it's not the screens.  I think it's the motor that they're playing with.  It's the second situations, the third situations, the fourth situations, and we've watched film where we've been on top of exactly what they're doing and they've still made shots.
We played ‑‑ I think it was Game 3 at the end of the first quarter, we played the pick‑and‑roll, the second situation extremely well.¬† Manu got the switch on Bird, we played exactly how we wanted to, he shot a step back three and it went in off the glass.¬† So it's the ones where you actually don't play it exactly how you should, and they still make you pay.
You know, this is the No. 1 team in the league that they'll make you pay when you're right on top of what they're doing, and they'll make you pay when you make a mistake, and we have to limit the times that we're making mistakes when we're on defense.

Q.  You mentioned your ankle the other day.  When did that happen and what is the status of it now?
LEBRON JAMES:¬† I turned my ankle in Game‑‑ it happened Game 2.¬† I fouled Manu, I believe, in the third quarter, and I kind of fell on the ground right in front of our bench.¬† Yeah, I think that was Game 2 in the third quarter and I turned it at that point or in the fourth quarter, and it's kind of been "ahh" for the rest of the series.

Q.  Is it a sprain?
LEBRON JAMES:  I don't want to say a sprain.  I turned it.  It's a little sore, but it hasn't limited me much.  As the night goes on, it gets a little worse and worse, but I'm okay.

Q.  Energy has been a problem it seems like later on in Games 3 and 4.  Is there anything you guys can do differently to conserve energy other than not falling behind so quickly?
LEBRON JAMES:  I actually think the energy has been bad from the start.  From quarter 1 we haven't matched their intensity.  Second quarter we've played some okay ball.  Third quarter our energy has been the best in the third quarters where we've tried to work and work to get back.
When you exert that much energy versus a team like this who continues to move, who continues to get into their sets, continue to use the 24 seconds and move the ball, and move the ball, and move the ball, and they make those shots at the end of the shot clock, it takes a lot of energy from you doing that.
We haven't played even basketball.¬† We haven't played good basketball since Game 2.¬† So they've taken a lot of energy away from us because we've played catch‑up.

Q.  Is there any major adjustment at this point that can be made?
LEBRON JAMES:  I'm not the adjustment guy to ask.  That's not my question (laughing).

Q.  You seem to be in a pleasant mood.  Are you angry, disappointed over the last couple days?  What is your frame of mind like?
LEBRON JAMES:¬† Of course, of course.¬† I'm extremely‑‑ I was extremely upset, sad, very emotional to myself after 3 and 4.¬† I mean, you ask me, all the bad emotions you could have.
Today is a new day.¬† I have another opportunity to help this team keep our season going.¬† But I also know that‑‑ I don't know, man.¬† I'm in a good place in my life.¬† It's basketball.¬† I understand it's the media and the sport is the greatest sport in the world.¬† I love it.¬† It's done so many great things for me, but it's just basketball.¬† It's just basketball.¬† So I let it‑‑ I go all into it.¬† I give everything to this game.
But right after Game 4 I was in the ice tub in the locker room, and my two boys coming running in there talking about let's play some more basketball.¬† I was like, If y'all don't get away from me‑‑ it's the last thing I want to do right now.¬† But it puts things in perspective, and I'm able to have a clear head about it.

Q.  You seem to have a peace of mind maybe more than you did a few years ago about taking losses and the ups and downs.
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, I mean, two championships helps that.  It helps it, for sure.  But understanding what means a lot to me.  Understanding what's important and understanding what's not important allows me to kind of just live in the moment and not focus on what's happened in the past.
I can't control the past.  I can't redo it.  I can live in the present, try to affect the future and live with the results while I'm in it.

Q.  You talked about sometimes you guys play good defense and they score, sometimes you don't and they score.  You guys had some defensive slippage this season in the regular season.  Do you feel like bad habits have come back to bite you at all in this series, or do you feel like even if you were playing your best defense in these last few years you'd still be in this hole?
LEBRON JAMES:  Well, I mean, in the regular season I got frustrated a lot, but it was a lot because we have guys in and out of the lineup.  I'm all about chemistry and habits, and it affected our team.  There were guys that didn't know if they were playing, did know they were playing, and it affected our team a little bit.
I don't believe‑‑ I believe when we got into the playoffs we got everything that we needed to happen.¬† We got guys healthy, and we got defensively exactly where we wanted to be.¬† Great offense beats great defense any day.¬† But at the same time, we've had some mistakes, you know.¬† And if we limit our mistakes, we give ourselves a good chance to win it.¬† If we don't, then it will be over tomorrow night, if we don't limit our mistakes, and it's just that simple.

Q.¬† Ever since I guess maybe throughout the entire playoffs it seems like you've always been the last voice that the team hears before they come out for warm‑ups and with a million TV cameras around, we see some of those.¬† What will you end up saying tomorrow night, or is it always totally organic off the top of the head?
LEBRON JAMES:¬† Yeah, it is.¬† I have no idea.¬† It would be in the range of:¬† Why not us?¬† Why not us?¬† History is broken all the time.¬† And obviously we know we're against the greatest of odds.¬† No team has ever come back from a 3‑1 deficit in the Finals, but there was a point where no team came back from a 2‑0.¬† There was a point where no team came back from a 3‑0.¬† There was a point where no team came back from a 3‑1 deficit in the Western Conference Finals, and then Phoenix did it.¬† One of our teammates was on that team, James Jones.
There is a point where no team came back from a 3‑1 or 3‑0 deficit in the ALCS, and then the Red Sox did it against the Yankees.
So history is made to be broken, and why not me be a part of it?  That would be great.  That would be a great story line, right?
But we'll see what happens.  I've got to live in the moment, though, before we even get to that point.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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