LeBron vows to bounce back in Game 2
Robert Horry SAN ANTONIO, Texas • readily admits the San Antonio Spurs’ blueprint for the NBA championship centres around stopping LeBron James.
“LeBron is the head of the snake and we need to cut that head off,” the veteran Spurs forward told reporters.
The prolific Cleveland Cavaliers guard was hounded at every turn during Thursday’s 85-76 victory by the Spurs in the opening game of the NBA finals.
The result was a miserable 14-point performance for James, a three-time all-star who misfired on 12 of his 16 shots. He will get a chance for redemption tonight during Game 2 of the best-of-seven series.
“Offensively and defensively, we’re a lot better,” James told a news conference yesterday. “We did play pretty good defence, but offensively we weren’t sharp at all. I wasn’t sharp offensively and that trickles down to the rest of our team.”
Spurs power forward Tim Duncan, shooting for his fourth championship ring, said playing in the NBA final can be “an overwhelming situation” for a team like Cleveland.
“It can be a lot of pressure and being here for the first time, having a young team as they do, having a young leader as they do, that doesn’t help,” he said. “They have very few vets that have been to this level and it really does help when you have people that have been there.”
James has a habit of starting off slowly in each playoff series before finding his rhythm. Cleveland lost the first two games of the Eastern Conference final against Detroit, but when James came alive, the Cavaliers won four straight.
“I’ve done a great job of preparing myself from one game to another and I definitely feel like it’s going to be a bounce-back game for me tomorrow night,” said James.
Duncan said he believes the youthful Cavaliers will get “a little more comfortable” with each game of the series. Only one of Cleveland’s players, Eric Snow, has been to an NBA final.
Game 2 is in San Antonio but the series shifts to Detroit for the next three games, if necessary.
“We’re going to have to really bring our A games and understand that they’re going to be playing their best at the right time,” said Duncan.