Give and Go
By Erie Times-News Sports Erie Times-New staff bloggers
The Erie Times-News sports staff delivers in-depth coverage of the Erie BayHawks and pro and college basketball   Read more about this blog.
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Posted: April 17th, 2010
Game 1 Pregame: LeBron James…
Many say this the best team LeBron James has had entering the playoffs.

On the wait to play in the playoffs: “It’s seemed pretty long, but it’s here now. I’m excited. It’s the best time of the year for basketball in this league. It’s an exciting time for myself and our team. … This is what I’ve waited for. I’ve been quoted the last few days. It’s what we play for in the regular season to prepare for this moment. It’s here.”

On finally having a full team: “It’s been a while. We’ve haven’t a full team for a while, honestly. Guys have been in and out of the line ups. Big players have been in and out of the lineup. So it’s great to finally have everybody healthy. This is the right time to have everybody healthy in the playoffs.”

On how Shaquille O’Neal looks basketball-wise: “He’s looked good. We’ve had a few practices and he’s got an opportunity to practice the last week. He looks pretty good an he’s ready to go.”

On expecting Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose to raise their level of play: “I expect everyone to raise the game. It’s the postseason. As far as raise their game, I don’t quite understand the question you’re asking, but it’s the postseason. They have no choice but to raise their game.”

On the biggest things he’s learned from his postseason experiences: “Not much. I know and I understand what the postseason is about. I know every possesion counts. A series isn’t won in one or two games. Losing a series or winning a series, you learn from series to series, but for me losing last year to now, not too much.”

On his game plan to approaching Game 1: “I’m going to play my game. My game is being involved offensively and defensively, getting my teammates involved and getting myself involved. My game will not change.”

On adjusting his game if the team starts off sluggish: “I don’t plan on us being sluggish. I think we’ve had some great practices, but if I have to do that, I can.”

On grassroots campaigns trying to keep him in Cleveland and if it means more to him as his career has progressed: “I’ve been playing here ( Cleveland and Akron) my whole life so I got a good sense of it before I was even drafted here of how the fans are. As a professional athlete, it’s definitely grown. I’ve grown with them. They’ve grown with me so I’ve got a lot of respect for that.

On noticing the grassroots like Obama t-shirts with him instead: ‘I haven’t seen that. Haven’t noticed that (Smiles).”

On what to say to teammates to make sure they’re not tight, stay loose and have fun as they always do: “We’re going to do that. That’s how we play. We’re going to have fun. We’re going to enjoy the game. It’s gametime now. Guys know how to turn it on or off. So right now is the time.”

On being a team leader and saying something to his teammates: “I haven’t  yet. I probably will.”

On when he’ll do that (The last three were from ESPN’s Lisa Salters): “Game won’t start until another hour (Media laughs). I got plenty of time.”

On what Mike Brown using different lineups early in the season: “I knew exactly what he was doing. We talked before the regular season started. Even in preseason. He said he was going to try different lineups and try to figure this thing out. It might take a while. It may take a couple of weeks into the season we finally figure it out and we did. The first two games, we scrambled arond with lineups. Playing Z (Zydrunas Ilgauskas) and Shaq at the same time. Really going small. Playing me at the four. He was trying to figure it out because we had so many different line ups. We had so many different new guys. We started off slow, which as a team, Mike and I knew that could possibly happen, but I think with him doing that early, it’s help us out a lot later in the season because he knew how many lineups he could go to.”

Brown said he’s got an 8 1/2 man rotation but here’s James on how many lineups are at Brown’s disposal:  ”How many lineups for the postseason? I could say three or four different lineups he can go with … He can go big. He can go small. He can have five shooters at one time. He can go really big with Z and Shaq. We’ve got a lot of different line ups.”

On playing Z and Shaq: “On certain teams, it really worked. You play against the (Los Angeles) Lakers like we did the first two games in the regular season, Z and Shaq was good because of (Andrew) Bynum and Pau (Gasol), two really big guys. It worked sometimes with Boston too with (Kendrick) Perkins and KG (Kevin Garnett) and those guys and ‘Sheed (Rasheed Wallace). It’s a luxury to have for Mike and like I said, he can do what he wants to throughout the course of the game.”

On concern of losing home court by making the line up changes: “There was a concern as a competitor, of course, but I think when you’ve been in this league for a long time and you understand what this league is all about, you understand certain situations like that. Team chemistry and to try to find that as quickly as possible is more important than wins and losses. That’s what we were trying to find in the beginning.”

On if he thinks about what he’s going to say before talking to the team: “Nah. It just happens. I’m on the fly.”

On watching the New York Yankees get their championship rings: “No. I didn’t. I didn’t, but I saw them win it last year, though (smiling). I knew the rings were coming at some point.”

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