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LeBron James, on Heat trying to make history by coming back from a 3-1 Finals deficit: ‘Why not us?’

Jun 14, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

LeBron James LeBron James

SAN ANTONIO – The Miami Heat are facing a deficit from which no team has managed to return in the history of the NBA Finals. But in the eyes of LeBron James, that’s more of an opportunity than it is an impossible mission.

“Why not us,” James said, when asked what his pregame message would be to his teammates before they took floor for Sunday night’s Game 5. “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 [against the Lakers in 2006]. 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,” James continued. “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.”

A very relaxed James spoke to reporters at the Spurs practice facility on Saturday, and was comfortable, engaging and conversational when answering every question that was asked. It was a far cry from the way he had handled the pressure of losing in the Finals just a few short years ago, and he admitted that getting over the championship hump was a huge relief that allows him to be more calm now in the face of such dire circumstances.

“Well, I mean, two championships helps that,” James said, when asked about seeming more even emotionally than he has in years past. “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.”

James isn’t being naive here; he knows as well as anyone just how much the odds are stacked against a Heat comeback in this series. But he’s managing to keep it all in perspective, which could help alleviate the pressure associated with an elimination game that could potentially affect his long-term legacy.

“I was extremely upset, sad, very emotional to myself after 3 and 4,” James said, when asked to explain his frame of mind and his apparent congenial state. “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.

“I’m in a good place in my life,” he said. “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. I go all into it, and 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 came 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.”

  1. antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:24 PM

    Exactly. LeBron is very adept at breaking and setting records, and he is aware of this. If anybody can pull it off, it’s James and the Heatles.

    • kb2408 - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:37 PM

      Anti, you should take your show to Vegas, you are hilarious!!

      • dexterismyhero - Jun 15, 2014 at 8:31 AM

        The show is already there. It’s called Siegfried & Roy and I think he is the one that got attacked by the Tiger!!!!

    • moppop - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:38 PM

      Lebron played a great game 4. Still didn’t win.

      Lebron’s history of records is completely and utterly irrelevant, but the moment a player shows the lack of confidence at this high of level automatically means defeat.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:08 PM

        That wasn’t a great game 4 by his standards. Not even close.

    • jkirby317 - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:16 PM

      nope. not gonna happen. He already started with the whole ankle thing and the cramps. He is using excuses.

    • duhwighthoward - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:21 PM

      ANTISTRATFODIAN, DOES YOUR WIFE KNOW THAT YOU ARE HAVING AN IMAGINARY ONLINE LOVE AFFAIR WITH A MAN?

      • antistratfordian - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        Hilarious. Typing that in all caps makes it a riot. But yes, she knows I’m a big fan.

    • limonadamas - Jun 15, 2014 at 1:51 AM

      Stop it with this Heatles nonsense. The Heat are a one-man band.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 15, 2014 at 2:02 AM

        Would you guys make up your mind? Are they a one man band or a superteam?

        That seems to change depending on the point you’re trying to make.

      • limonadamas - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:10 PM

        Sigh… they USED to be a superteam. They’re currently a one-man band. Not sure what’s so difficult to understand.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2014 at 6:40 AM

      How about this record: he has more turnovers than assists this series. Your “Heatles” are done, like Diva Wade’s knees!

      • antistratfordian - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:38 PM

        That’s not a record.

    • 1historian - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      That’s what scares me.

      Miami couldn’t have played worse, the Spurs couldn’t have played better, or maybe they could. They seemed to be cruising along nicely. They’re up by 20, Miami makes a run to get within 7 and then the Spurs are up by 18 or 20 – making it look easy.

      I enjoyed the shots of Riley in the stands watching the game – he really looked disgusted, which is good.

      • antistratfordian - Jun 15, 2014 at 6:48 PM

        Riley always looks like that though, even when the Heat are winning. He always looks as if somebody’s fart is wafting under his nose.

  2. tampajoey - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    Looks like Lebron is taking his talents to the comedy stage after losing to the Spurs.

    • cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2014 at 6:58 AM

      As well as Biogenesis & hair club for men

  3. moppop - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    Of course Lebron should think that. If he doesn’t think like that then it will be another game 4 instead of might be.

  4. kb2408 - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:35 PM

    “Why not us?” Well, for starters, the Spurs are the superior team. This series could’ve very easily have been a sweep. Furthermore, Timmy is not going to let his team get back on a plane to fly across the country to Florida again. The Spurs would like nothing more than to celebrate on their own court with their fans. Lastly, beating the Heatles in 5 will “almost” make last years collapse a little more bearable. This series is over….and tomorrow’s game will not be close. By the 6 minute mark of the 4th Greg Oden will be in the game.

    • pistolpete0903 - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:51 PM

      Exactly…it’s not like the games were closely fought and the Spurs got a few lucky bounces.

      The Spurs simply OUTPLAYED the Heat. Also, the Spurs are mentally strong; so I really doubt if they blow it up.

  5. monkeyhateclean - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:37 PM

    Because the LeCramp Heat relied heavily on the flop defense, as much as those ignorant enough to cheer for a team representing the cocaine cesspool known as Miami will deny it.

    As always, thumbs down if you agree!!

    • ProBasketballPundit - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM

      You know nothing of basketball. Tonight maybe try actually watching the plays that are run and strategies that succeed or get foiled.

  6. kaeptaincrunch - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:42 PM

    Because Spurs.

  7. moppop - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:44 PM

    Tomorrow is going to be a good night…Spurs are likely to win, and Tyrion is likely to strangle Shae and Twin. Maybe we’ll even get to see zombie Catelyn Stark

    • moppop - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:55 PM

      Oh, and Stannis and the Red Priestess show up at the Wall.

    • money2long - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      Anyone here that don’t want the heat to win kind of want the spurs to win in 6 so skip bayless could be right on his prediction ? How much would that irk lebron ? Ha…

      Those “spurs in six” tshirts would sell like crazy.

      How funny would it be if someone sent a phantom package of that shirt to lebron’s doorstep?

      But alas. The finals are no time to play games. The spurs will be looking to wrap it up ASAP.

      • moppop - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:14 PM

        Random, irrelevant reply is both random and irrelevant. Good job.

  8. kb2408 - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:53 PM

    I’m anxious to see how LBJ goes out. Will he go down putting up a heck of a fight and drop 35-40? Or, will he shrink and go out with a whimper? His legacy is still on the line. One convincing title is not good enough when you’re talking about “someone has to come off Mt. Rushmore” for you. People keep saying he’s only 29-30, and he has plenty of time left. How do we really know that? He’s been a pro since he was 18. Even with his build, breaking down is inevitable eventually. Kobe was as finely tuned as any bball player but like LBJ, by the time he hit 30 he had tons of miles on his body from coming straight out of high school and playing so many playoffs games. MJ didn’t enter the NBA until he was 21, I’m sure that had to play a part in why he didn’t start breaking down so soon. LBJ is a freak of nature but carrying around his body and all the jumping, running and pounding he takes has to take a toll eventually. Defensively, he has already begun to slow down. He’s still very good but 2 years ago he was a much better defender. I honestly don’t think it’s a given that he’ll win another title.

    • buffalowned - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:51 AM

      People said he wouldn’t win a title after the Heat lost to Dallas. Then when they beat OKC, people said he wouldn’t win back to back. Of course people that don’t like him will think he hope he doesn’t win again. But at least let the Spurs win it before you parade on your celebratory comments.

    • divan22 - Jun 15, 2014 at 6:06 AM

      Kobe has literally nothing on LeBron as a basketball player. I know the truth hurts you.

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2014 at 7:01 AM

        He has 5 rings to his only 2. He doesn’t posses a putrid 11-15 record in the Finals. Mr Mount Rushmoore is the only “legend ” to have an under 500 record in Finals play. All hype, no talent!

      • bhunter1995 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:24 AM

        You have a short memory, from 2000-2012 he was the best shooting guard in the league and he had a stretch of years where he was clearly the best player, the man dropped 35.4 PPG and brought a d league team to the playoffs by himself. Stop disrespecting a legend with your ignorance.

      • borderline1988 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:40 AM

        You are misreading the comment. Kobe has nothing on Lebron as a BASKETBALL PLAYER.
        Kobe has plenty on Lebron when it comes to who has been on the better teams and subsequently, who has won more rings. Take a look at the stars for Kobe’s last championship. He shot almost twice as much as any other player on his team (over 30% of his team’s total shots), yet had a FG% of 40.5% and a 3PT% of 32%. His game 7 performance was downright awful.
        On the other hand, if Lebron doesn’t play well, his team has zero chance of winning a basketball game against pretty much any playoff team (besides Charlotte), let alone in the NBA Finals. In fact, you could argue that Lebron’s play in game 4 was as good or better than any of Kobe’s 2010 NBA Finals game (besides for Kobe’s game 5). Yet the Heat got blown out by the Spurs.

        I don’t think there’s any real respected basketball analyst out there who honestly believes that Kobe is a better player than Lebron. The NBA Finals record argument is plain stupid. It ignores the mountains of relevant evidence and instead focuses only on 1 small data point that’s very arguable and pretty weak.

      • buffalowned - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:57 AM

        Canton the fact that you can even say LeBron has no talent just shows you have no intelligence. But we all knew that a long time ago.

  9. money2long - Jun 14, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Lebron is so cute

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      Stevie Wonder can see he’s a scary looking dude…

      But when the fighting breaks out, Lebron hits the floor even though you did NOT make contact with him…

      So, he only looks scary… all bark and no bite…

  10. money2long - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:01 PM

    I was watching lebron when he was talking all that and you could read his body language that he didn’t actually believe what he was saying. He was shifty while talking about it, fiddling with his bottle, his face looked unconvinced, his voice sounded defeated.

  11. kghane - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:39 PM

    I admire LeBron’s answer. That being said, win or lose, I just hope Game 5 will be as competitive as Game 2. I have been thoroughly disappointed with how defeated Miami has looked this series. Spurs have played great, they don’t look like they’re slowing down. It would take a huge effort by Miami to make this game special. Let’s see what happens Sunday.

  12. mnsadsportsfan - Jun 14, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    Funny the last two times I have heard him speak about his kids in reference to the playoffs its always a joke followed up be get away from me. I’m knit picking I know I dont care Lebron is a chump!

  13. spyder9669 - Jun 15, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    Phoenix came back from 3-1 down against the Lakers in 2006 in the first round…not the western conference finals.

    • divan22 - Jun 15, 2014 at 6:11 AM

      And Kobe was a complete no-show in Game 7 of that series as the Lakers got blown out.

      Which is weird because according to the Kobe Klan, Kobe has never scored less than 40 in any big game ever because of his competitive fire. It’s the only way they can rationalize the sad reality that LeBron’s a far superior player.

  14. cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2014 at 7:21 AM

    On behalf of the entire country, I would like to say: please stop writing so much about this clown & write more about deserving winners. Tim Duncan is about to win his 5th ring. The Spurs big 3, Duncan, Parker & Ginobili have more post season wins than anybody!!! Yet we constantly have to read about this overrated flopper & PED user.

    • borderline1988 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:46 AM

      Articles written reflect what’s popular and what the readers want to read. Look in the mirror, 95% of the comments you make on this site are about how overrated Lebron is. The Heat are in a bad spot right now, and people like you are foaming at the mouth. I find it ironic that it’s you of all people asking for articles about other players

    • chitownbrown - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:07 AM

      You have to give Miami credit: they are the team you love to hate. It’s funny, because I heard Adam Silver interviewed on Mike and Mike in the Morning, and he said he was concerned about the reputation with NBA fans that the officiating wasn’t kosher. Then the next Finals game is played, and the Heat Divas are stuck looking around why fouls weren’t being called. Without the officials as their sixth man they are SCREWED. I don’t expect them to ever win another Finals, and I don’t even expect them back next year. Meanwhile Pop and the boys are as cool as cucumbers, they don’t have the hype so they don’t get the chatter. They are what every NBA team should strive to be.

    • pphins4life12 - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:40 PM

      You more than anyone comment about Lebron… If you call 2 rings two final Mvps 4 league Mvps overrated then your crazy. You say one of Lebron rings don’t count because of strike shortened season, however you talk about TimDuncan and his four ring but you don’t discredit his first ring that was during a strike shortened series. I get you don’t like him, I don’t like Kobe but I respect him. Stop with the overrated crap please

      • cantonbound13 - Jun 15, 2014 at 10:37 PM

        Another epic fail for LeChoke! What a game!

  15. eaglesfan723 - Jun 15, 2014 at 7:42 AM

    I hope you dont win anything else ever again. I hated you since the “Decision”. Your “me” mentality and cocky attitude.

  16. gs7101 - Jun 15, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    The Heat just wasted a lot of jet fuel flying back to San Antonio; they are done — stick a fork in them. The city of San Antonio can now start making plans for the Spurs’ NBA Championship Riverwalk Parade.

    ”You can put this one [series] in the refrigerator. The door’s closed, the light’s out, the eggs are cooling, the butter’s getting hard and the Jell-O is jiggling.” ~ Chick Hearn, legendary Los Angeles Lakers’ play-by- announcer

  17. fredericton101 - Jun 15, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    Wow, who is he kidding?? After the cramping/ankle and being carried off the court a couple of times, this guy doesn’t have the heart to get out of the deficit! Now if it was Jordan saying this it would be different story!

  18. spursareold - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:16 AM

    Why not, LeBron? Because it would take someone who was down 3-1 in a COMPETITIVE series, not a team that has been blown out three times.

  19. dave90sbaby95 - Jun 15, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Even if the heat win game 5 we all know there gonna be tired for game 6 lol. But maybe they could pull off the miracle lol but I just don’t see it when the only guy trying for the heat is lebron.

  20. djshnooks - Jun 15, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Because the other team is a better team.

    That’s why, it’s kinda common sense, no?

  21. deepizzaguy - Jun 15, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    I could just the late New Orleans sportscaster Buddy Diliberto if he were alive today. He probably would say something like “If the Heat win the NBA Championship coming back from a 3-1 deficit, then the Russians will invade Kenner” or ” Then Popeye is a sissy” Please calling the Miami Heat the Heatles is an insult to the memories of the late John Lennon and George Harrison.

  22. onbucky96 - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    I’ll tell you why. Because Wade is a shell of his self compared to previous yrs. And Bosh should be arrested for stealing money. What a waste of talent, does he even care. I don’t, I’d rather watch Game of Thrones tonight and catch the highlights of the Spurs victory on a Sports Show…

  23. Rob - Jun 15, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Actually, “history” isn’t made to be broken. You can’t break “history”. You can break records, you can top your personal best, you can strive to achieve more than those who came before you, but history is in the past. You could re-write it, as some in power do, but sorry LeBron, history can’t be broken.

    And historically, the SA Spurs are the most successful and consistent team in the last decade or more. LeBron is right about anything being possible, but it sure isn’t probable. Let’s see if the Spurs can close this out tonight.

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