The Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James answered media questions after his team went down against the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the NBA Finals.
Q. What’s your Finals experience over the years taught you about how to respond to a game like this and how to put that out to the rest of your teammates?
LeBRON JAMES: I mean for me, I’ve always stayed even keeled. You know, throughout the highs, throughout the lows, you stay even keeled and get better with the process. You stay in the moment, which I am, and understanding that we can be better. And how we make the adjustments and how we learn from tonight, tomorrow in our film session and when we get together and prepare ourselves for Sunday, will show the difference.
Q. I was wondering if you could take us through that last minute of the game, the ups and downs, and your mentality when you were driving in. Frank described it as you were ready to take on the whole team and then you saw Danny open at the top?
LeBRON JAMES: Obviously it was back and forth, big play after big play. A couple, you know, questionable calls that swayed their way and put Jimmy to the free-throw line. Obviously, we can’t do that. He’s been damn near perfect at the free-throw line in the series.We just needed to get one stop. We felt like if we could get one stop, we could do something on the offensive end. But we got a hell of a look. We got a hell of a look to win the game, to win the series. Didn’t go down. And then we got the offensive rebound, we turned the ball over. I thought we had a lot more time than I think we even thought after the offensive rebound, and a pass wasn’t executed as we would like. But we’ve got to be better. We’ve just got to be better in Game 6 and close the series.
Q. You’ve obviously been on the other side of this coming back from a 3-1 deficit. Is there something about that experience that helps you understand what it will take to slam the door on Miami now that it’s been somewhat left ajar for them?
LeBRON JAMES: Listen, at the end of the day, you don’t predetermine anything and you take the game as it’s going and you play. You play each quarter, you play each possession and you live with the results. You don’t think about what could happen at the end of the game and things of that nature. You don’t get caught up in the aftermath. You have to live in the moment and prepare yourself each and every possession, because if you start to wander and your mind starts to go, you make a mistake. One thing about this team that we are playing, they make you pay for every mistake. It’s the same as when I was playing against Golden State all those years, you make a mistake, they make you pay. So we have to understand that.
Q. Two vets, Danny and Markieff were involved in that play. Is that a situation where you talk to them after a game like this or do you feel they have experience and they kind of know what it is and they will come ready for Game 6?
LeBRON JAMES: I mean, they’re vets. They’re vets. I don’t think too much need to be said to them. I believe they will be much better and I’m not saying they even played bad tonight. Everybody in the lineup tonight that got minutes gave the effort. We just had some mental breakdowns at times, and they make you pay for it, like I said. We’ve got to look at the film tomorrow and see how we can be better.
Q. From I think 2:52 remaining to 0:46 remaining, you and Jimmy went back and forth; there was six straight possessions where one of you scored for your team. And even with the questionable calls, you talked about Jimmy and his competitive nature, something that you relish. Can you take us inside what it’s like being in that battle with the game on the line?
LeBRON JAMES: That’s the beauty of the game, being able to compete at the highest level. You take those opportunities and you live in the moment. You’re trying to make plays for your team and be successful on both ends, and we were both just trying to do that and trying to will our team to a victory. You know, he was able to make one more play than I was able to make tonight and come away with a victory.
Q. Talking about calls, not trying to get you in trouble, but just from your vantage point on the last foul that got Jimmy to the line, AD looked like he went straight up. What did you see from your vantage point? I know you didn’t have a challenge but what was it like from your view.
LeBRON JAMES: I thought AD made a heck of a play at the rim. I felt he was chest to chest with Jimmy, making him change the trajectory of his shot and the call didn’t go our way. I felt like, you know, at that point in time, I think it was a tough call, but they made the call. We still had an opportunity to win. But we feel like, you know, with AD and with him at the rim and him contesting things like that, it could have swayed our way, but it didn’t.
Q. You talk about focus being so crucial down the stretch, AD seemed to hurt that left foot a little bit. For you, is it tough in that moment when you’re trying to figure out, you know, what can I do with him, what can’t I do with him, as he’s trying to fight through that?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, if he’s on the floor – I mean he’s a warrior, man. Just him being out there, hobbled, just brings a lot more confidence to myself and our team. We know the nicks and bumps and bruises he’s played through throughout the whole season. We have to pick it up for him and pick it up for any one of our brothers if they are hobbling or lobbying or not at their full strength. Just the makeup of our brotherhood.
Q. You’ve been in so many of these all over the years, going all the way back to throwing the ball in the corner to Donyell, Ray makes a three, Kyrie makes a three. Tonight Danny got a great look but didn’t make it. How do you live with make or miss at this stage of a season to determine winning and losing when you’ve put so much into it?
LeBRON JAMES: I’ve always played the game the same way since I was a kid and I’ve had success doing it. And I won’t let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game and how I play the game. I mean, if you just look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free-throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide open three to win a championship. I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn’t go. You live with that. You live with that. It’s one of the best shots that we could have got, I feel, in that fourth quarter, especially down the stretch with two guys on me, Duncan Robinson and Jimmy, and Danny had a hell of a look. It just didn’t go down. I know he wish he can have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You know, but you just live with it.