James Leads Cavs to brink of elusive crown
From the opening tip, game 6 of the NBA Finals had all of the elements of something special, Beyoncé and Jay Z sitting courtside and the Cavs rabid fan base fueling the momentum from of tank that took 52 years to fill.
LeBron James opened the game flawlessly going 4 of 5 from the field, Tristan Thompson collected 9 rebounds and 7 points and the Cavs took a 31-11 first quarter lead that it never relinquished enroute to a resounding 115-101 victory, forcing game 7 on Sunday in Oakland for a shot at the franchise first NBA title.
James led all scorers with his second 41 point game, Tristan Thompson had a double-double with 15 points and 16 rebounds, and Kyrie Irving added 23 points as the Cavs vie to become the first team in NBA Finals history win the championship after trailing 3-1.
Warriors star Steph Curry fouled out for the first time in his career and now the record 73 win Warriors could have the dubious distinction of erasing a 3-1 deficit in the Conference Finals to blowing one in the NBA Finals.
Below are questions asked at the Cavs final home game at the NBA press conference.
However, the Cavs responded behind an unlikely source in reserve Dante Jones who scored five points and collected one rebound and the Cavs staved off the Warriors rally to emerge with a 59-43 lead at the half.
KENNETH D. MILLER: LeBron, I want to ask you about your relationship with Coach Lue and how the two of you feed off each other? How would you compare him with many of the other coaches you've played for?
LeBRON JAMES: Well, I think all my coaches throughout my career have had a meaningful part of my career. Everyone's been different in their own ways of how they philosophize the game and things of that nature, but I could talk in the present right now. I think me and Coach Lue just kind of, we connect that's something that's bigger than basketball, our upbringing. Being from a single-parent household, being from an inner-city community, being a statistic that you weren't supposed to make it out and there's no way you're going to make it out. You're going to be another one of those African-American kids, and we both made it out from tough situations growing up, and people just saying there's no way you can do it.
So before we even met each other, you have a sense of that type of feeling. Then I came into the league and I'm a huge basketball fan, obviously, and I watched The Finals when he was with the Lakers and seen the spark that he gave that team when Phil Jackson gave him the nod. And I think everybody's just so caught up in the shot that AI (Allen Iverson) made when he stepped over him, but people don't realize the impact that he made on that team, and the guy that just accepted his role. He's able to win a championship.
So our relationship has just grown over the years, and just being a competitor, going against him and then seeing him as a coach, going against him again when he was in Boston and things of that nature and with the Clippers, and then when I came back and he was the assistant coach, continues to grow.
I think it's like anything, when you're around someone every single day, I guess it's like a marriage or a girlfriend. You're around her every single day, they get better and better and better if it's genuine, and that's what it is here with myself and T Lue.
KENNETH D. MILLER: Kyrie and Tristan, what has LeBron meant to your growth as a basketball player? Him being so great in setting the bar in another stratosphere, how do you come to work every single day to try to meet that level of expectations that he has? TRISTAN THOMPSON: It started last year after Labor Day. LeBron sent a text to everyone, "Let's get in early and start training. Let's get ready for the season." And we walk in and he's in a full-drenched sweat an hour before the meeting time. So for a young player and for me and Kyrie, the first couple years, not being the best and being some tough years, seeing, in my eyes, one of the best players ever in a full drench of sweat working out, it gives you motivation as a young player. It shows that if he's in the gym working his tail off and you guys know how good he is, I have no excuse. I have no excuse not to be in the gym, getting extra work, getting extra shots, free throws, whatever it may be. And just the way he plays it elevates everyone's game. I'm blessed.
KYRIE IRVING: Man, I'm going to save the long message because he knows how much he's meant to this team and then also to me personally, so it's been great.
KENNETH D. MILLER: What have you learned about yourself as a coach in this series that you didn't know about yourself already? And is there any one guy that you were with throughout your career that you can attribute this calmness to your demeanor with this basketball club?
TYRONN LUE: Well, everything I do is Doc Rivers driven. He taught me everything as far as being a coach, giving me my first chance to coach. But just the poise from my first three seasons of being in L.A. with Phil Jackson and just saw how he in practice, he's teaching, he's coaching, he's on the floor. But when the game started, he was always poised and he let the guys figure it out. I think that meant a lot to me just seeing that because as players, if you're sitting on the bench and you hear coaches talking about certain players on the floor or getting mad or getting upset, you realize they say the same thing about you when you go in the game.
I just think it's important to stay poised. Guys are going to make mistakes. It's part of the game. But the effort that can always be there, the unselfishness, that can always be there. So I just attribute the calmness to Phil Jackson and just seeing as a player what works and what doesn't.