NBA EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: CAVALIERS v PISTONS CLEVELAND, OHIO: Game Three May 27, 2007 Daniel Gibson LeBron James Q. LeBron, what was different tonight offensively for you guys throughout the entire game that allowed you guys to get better looks and shoot a better percentage? LeBron James: Well, we did a great job of coming down the early offense and getting to our offense a lot quicker, attacking a lot quicker before their defense set. They're very good when you allow them to set up. So we did a great job of coming down early on offense, moving the ball, getting it from one side to the other, drive and kick, and it worked for us. Q. LeBron, you said earlier today that this was the biggest game of your life; you responded. What was different? Did you realize that just you've got to play at a different level at this point? LeBron James: It's all or nothing at this point. You either make a series and be 2-1 or you make the impossible and be down 3-0. It's common sense. For me it was the biggest game of my career, and I was happy that my teammates were able to help me get through it, and we won a big game. Q. LeBron, the question on the dunk with Rasheed, just describe the play. LeBron James: Any time you get on offensive rebound, it allows the defense not to set. So I just wanted to try to be aggressive and I was able to get to the hole and seen the open lane and was able to make something happen. Q. Can you talk about the last shot you made over Rip with 16 seconds to go. Can you talk about that play. LeBron James: It was definitely an opportunity for me to just -- just wanting to be aggressive and try to see the whole floor. If a double-team came, try to get the ball up, and if not, try to be as patient as I could, try to get the shot clock, try to get some time off of it. I didn't want to force it to the basket. I was able to take just a very comfortable mid-range jump shot and it was a big play for us. Q. LeBron, after all the debate over the first two games, are you feeling any sense of vindication whatsoever after this win? LeBron James: No, all I'm excited about was I was able to get a team victory. This guy sitting next to me is growing up before our eyes, and he played some big minutes for us tonight. Defensively he was very in tune and we responded. Q. You mentioned Daniel grew tonight. Do you feel like you grew a little tonight, too? LeBron James: I grow a little every night. I need my teammates out on the court to make me grow. You see a guy like Daniel, as young as he is and as young as I am, we're out there working as hard as we can to try to win ballgames. It's a great opportunity and great to see he made the most of it. We ain't done yet. We've still got to hold down home court and try to make it a three-game series. Q. It just seemed like you were not only trying to push along Daniel but everybody else on your team. We could see you during timeouts yelling encouragement. What were you thinking during timeouts and what made you grow aggressively in the huddle? LeBron James: Being in the same situation honestly in the first two games, you don't want to let one slip away again. I could see if we could just get over the hump finally, we could win this ballgame. We finally got the stop that we needed. We finally made the offensive execution play that we needed. I wanted to make sure that the guys were very in tune and know that hey, we need one more stop here, we need the offensive execution, and win the ballgame, and the guys responded. Q. Could you talk a little bit about Zydrunas and when he's playing like he did tonight, what that does for the rest of your offense? LeBron James: Well, it definitely helps us perimeter guys when you have inside presence, and Z shot the ball extremely well. He defended extremely well and it just spreads the defense out when you have a guy that's seven-foot tall that can shoot outside jumpers and get to the lane. As perimeter guys we need that production out of our bigs, and he showed up tonight and it was great to see. Q. When you were preparing for this game we asked you what you specifically wanted to do, and you said that you personally wanted to be more aggressive. Can you analyze for us to what degree you were more aggressive in this game and how. LeBron James: Just not holding the ball as much and allowing our defense to set. Like I said before, they're very, very good when you allow them to set up. I was very aggressive early in trying to attack before their five guys were able to set up on the defensive end. I was a little bit more aggressive on the post, not allowing their guys to bump me out to the perimeter. Once I started getting some easy buckets, that opened up my outside shot. Very productive. Q. Daniel, were you nervous at all, either the first time in the game or the second, or in those last three or four minutes of the game, or did the nerves quickly go away? Daniel Gibson: Yeah, when you're out there on the floor, I mean, you're just out there and you're playing. It's not about being nervous, it's about understanding the situation, and for me I just try to enjoy it. I just try to get out there. If I have a chance to make a play, make it, and just, you know, out there smiling and having fun. Q. LeBron, you talked about how starved this city is for a winner and a championship, can you talk about the crowd and what that means to both of you guys when you're out there. LeBron James: Well, we knew it was going to be electrifying tonight, first time since '92. Like I said before, I was a WWF fan at that time, so I don't know what Cleveland sports was doing at that time. The crowd was exciting. We need them to be the same way on Tuesday because they really helped us. It gets us a little bit more energy when they're out there cheering. I mean, they deserve it. We haven't had a Cleveland sports team or Ohio sports team win in a long time, so they really deserve it. Q. Daniel, how would you describe LeBron's dunk on Rasheed? Daniel Gibson: Words probably couldn't even describe that one. It was sick. It really sparked the ballclub when he did it, and he makes those type of plays all the time, and it's incredible to see. Q. LeBron, having won a game like this, do you feel like now you've learned how to win close playoff games? LeBron James: I've won a lot of playoff games in my two years in the playoffs. I mean, I just try to be the best player I can be out there for my teammates. You learn from mistakes, you learn from wins and you learn from losses, but this game doesn't put something on me where it's saying, hey, I've finally done it. I've won playoff games before, I've won playoff series. This is a big game and we won it and we need to move on. Q. You told us before you did a little bit more unusual pregame preparation for today, can you tell us more about your morning and afternoon and any meaningful conversations you might have had with your family. LeBron James: It's the first time in my career I've ever showed up to the gym three hours before a game. I usually take my nap before the game, and I woke up earlier today, so I had nothing else to do. I didn't want to sit around. I didn't want to continue to answer my phone about tickets (laughter), so I came to the gym and I turned my phone off and I was here, and the guys were still setting up the camera on the baskets. The mindset that I had today coming to this ballgame was we have to win, simple as that. We have to win. And me being the leader of this team, I have to be that guy that sparks this team, I have to be that guy that does it on both ends of the floor, but at the same time, my teammates, when they see that, they have to respond, also, with me, and I guess we did it. Q. Will you do the same Tuesday? LeBron James: I don't know.