LeBron James NBA Finals Game 1 interview quotes
Game 1 of the Finals of the 2007 NBA Playoffs began yesterday and the San Antonio Spurs, playing at home, beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 85-76. Cavs superstar LeBron James struggled, shooting just 4-of-16 and finishing with 14 points, 7 rebounds and more turnovers (6) than assists (4). Here's what he said in the post-game press conference:
Note that Drew Gooden was alongside LeBron during the interview and was also asked some questions.
Q. LeBron, you've got one game out of your way. How much tonight was just your shot not falling, jitters? What was going through your mind tonight?
LEBRON JAMES: You definitely give a lot of credit to the Spurs. They definitely played well tonight defensively, offensively. Some of it was me missing a lot of the shots that I usually make and some of it was the defense that they put on me and on our team in general. It's like a half and half thing.
Q. Can you guys just talk about especially you, LeBron, their double teams and how you can't go anywhere with two guys on you?
LEBRON JAMES: We're going to have to make adjustments. You're coming to Game 1 you don't know what to expect. We don't know what they're going to run against us offensively. We've got to make adjustments in Game 2. A lot of credit to the, they played extremely well defensively. It's a series. Things happen. They're up 1-0 and we'll make adjustments and be ready for Sunday.
Q. Just individually what was it like for you?
LEBRON JAMES: It was definitely crowded. They did a great job of shrinking the floor. If I went by one guy, another guy stepped up, something I'm going to have to make an adjustment for for Game 2. I'll definitely be ready to counter some of the things they did defensively.
Q. Coach Brown used the expression "struggled mightily" for you. How would you describe how you played tonight?
LEBRON JAMES: I didn't play extremely well, definitely. Not just shooting the ball, but the six turnovers was uncharacteristic of me in the postseason, tried to force a lot of passes in there that looked open at times but really wasn't. I have to play better, and for us to win, me being the leader of this team, I have to play better in order for us to have a chance to win down the stretch, and my teammates know I'm going to bring my better effort in Game 2.
Q. How did it feel for you out there?
LEBRON JAMES: I feel good. A lot of shots I took is shots that I make. They felt pretty good, they just didn't fall for me. Things like that happen. You have one off night, but the thing like this is it's not like the NCAA tournament where you have one game and you're out. We've got to regroup and be ready for Game 2.
Q. As poorly as you played the first half, you're only down five at halftime, they come out and here we are a different series, same old story again. Their adjustments, your lack of adjustments? What is it about the third quarter?
LEBRON JAMES: Same answer I keep giving. We don't know. We haven't put our finger on the third quarter yet. We did a better job last year in Game 5 and Game 6 of playing great basketball in the third quarter, but once again it caught up with us again. We don't know what it is but we did a great job of figuring it out. We're going to do it pretty soon. We definitely want to get a win on this floor before we go back home.
Q. Seems like the deeper you go into the playoffs the more people they're sending at you and now it looks like basically you're being played by one, two and three people watching you all the time. Does it change the game for you?
LEBRON JAMES: No, it doesn't. I know I'm going to see a lot of double teams, at times triple teams. It's something I've seen before and it's something I've been able to adjust to from game to game and in different series of this postseason. It's not like I've never seen a double-team or triple-team before, I just have to play better, and I definitely have a better effort on Sunday.
Q. Drew, just curious, you guys beat them twice during the season. What do you see differently in this team and what they do defensively than maybe you've seen throughout these playoffs, even during the season? This is a team that's been here before and they know how to step it up.
DREW GOODEN: I think the scouting comes into play right there because the beginning of the year you're running sets, and this time of year you're not running those same sets. I think they did a great job watching us in all our series, knowing what we like to run and try and take us out of it and make us feel uncomfortable.
Q. It seemed like they did that in a lot of ways. There were some plays you ran against Detroit that they had an answer for.
DREW GOODEN: Exactly. That's the good thing about this series. You have time to make adjustments. We're going to look back at the tape and see what type of adjustments we need to make, go out there and execute for Game 2.
Q. Drew, where does this team stand in terms of other teams you've played on, on being able to adjust from series to series or game to game? Why do you think you guys are going to be able to do this?
DREW GOODEN: This is the best team we've faced, and we know that. I think from our roots, our coaching staff, rooting from the San Antonio, trying to simulate the same things they're doing, we kind of use them as a measuring stick to see where we're at. I think we are comfortable running our offense against them and our defensive principles, but at the same time, their experience I think kind of overcame us in this first game. Like I said, we'll make adjustments and we'll be all right.
Q. Drew, in addition to LeBron getting his hot hand a little bit in the fourth quarter, you guys played much better and never quit. Anything stand out in your mind that you began to do better in the fourth that you can take over to Sunday?
DREW GOODEN: I kind of got the guys together in the fourth quarter and I said there's one thing we need to let this team know and every team we've played in the past that we're not going to let it down. We're going to take possession until the time runs out and see where we're at. We did that to close Game 1, so hopefully the intensity will carry over into Game 2.
Q. LeBron, in the Eastern Conference playoffs a lot of the guys who were defending you overplayed you and tried to force you left. Bruce tried to play you straight up and didn't force you either way. How did that impact the way you played?
LEBRON JAMES: I think defensively he's very good. He's one of the best defensive players in this league, and the guys behind him help him a lot. It gives him an opportunity to get up into me and force me into the bigs, and the bigs are very good, Elson and Duncan, of course. He has a lot behind him. He doesn't have to do it by himself. I'm able to go right and left, so there's nothing that I can't do out on the ball court. I'll just have to make an adjustment and come into Game 2 with a better mindset and try to get a win.
Q. Here's a football analogy. It seems like they wanted to make you go east and west instead of north and south. Is that a fair assessment?
LEBRON JAMES: That's definitely a fair assessment and I have to do a better job of trying to recognize that, trying to attack north and south instead of east and west. They tried to make me dribble out towards the side line. The bigs did a great job coming off pick-and-rolls, of showing hard and allowing Bruce to get underneath the big, try and attack me coming right underneath the big. I think our coaching staff is very aware of what was going on, what happened in Game 1. I think our players are very aware of what happened in Game 1, and we'll make an adjustment. It's not like we haven't been in this situation before.