For all the criticism heading LeBron James' way after a poor Game 3 performance in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, the Miami Heat forward made his acceptance of it hard to argue against.
"I'll be better," James said on Wednesday. "I'll be much better ... Better than last night. I played like shit."
There was little holding back with a crucial Game 4 coming on Thursday. James said he'd watch film and find ways to produce against a rock solid Spurs defense, but he added that the Heat can't give up 19 offensive rebounds and 20 fast-break points, either.
Most importantly, James didn't express an iota of panic.
"I don't believe I was settling," said James of his 7-for-21 shooting performance. "I believed I took the shots that were there. They didn't go down."
Stopping short of giving Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard a glowing review, he didn't talk about how Leonard was playing off him on the perimeter. However, James did admit that he'd need to find ways to be aggressive after failing to get to the free throw line once in Game 3. Miami must find a way to get into transition as to take San Antonio's crowded halfcourt defense off James, for example.
James did credit Leonard for making life difficult on him on the other end. Leonard has reached double-digit rebounding figures in all three finals games and especially has crashed the offensive glass with James finding himself helping his teammates off the ball.
"It's part of my job too," James said of containing Leonard's rebounding.
It's a seven-game series, but James knows playing against a Spurs squad with championship DNA won't make the next one easy. Asked why he's confident the Heat will fix their issues from Game 3, James said he's not lost confidence.
"I'm a positive guy," he said. "As dark as it was last night, it can't get darker than that. I guarantee I'll be better tomorrow, for sure."
Source: All quotes via NBA.com's live press conference feed.
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