SAN ANTONIO -- LeBron James prefers to let the words come to him in the final moments before he addresses his teammates before tipoff. He speaks off of instinct and emotion, not from a script. But with his team trailing 3-1 heading into Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday night, James already has a pretty good idea of the message he needs to send.
"Why not us? History is broken all the time," James said Saturday after the Heat practiced. "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 or 3-0 deficit in the ALCS, and then the Red Sox did it against the Yankees.
"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 storyline, right? But we'll see what happens. I've got to live in the moment, though, before we even get to that point."
James seemed relaxed, even Zen-like, on the eve of what could be a shockingly early, disappointing end to the Heat's season. He sipped on a bottle of lemon juice, cayenne and ginger as he addressed the media for nearly 10 minutes and waxed poetic on his place in the game, and the way he's grown from his experiences during the Heat's four consecutive NBA Finals appearances.
"Well, I mean, two championships helps that. It helps it, for sure," James said, when asked about his calm, composed demeanor. "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 has been the Heat's most consistent player in this series, averaging 27.5 points in the four games. But if the Heat fail to rally in this series, he says none of that will matter to him.
"If you told me I was averaging 28, shooting 60 percent from the floor and 61 from the 3-point line and we'd be down 3-1, I would never give you another interview," James said. "I've been telling myself I need to do more. Is it too much to ask myself? I don't know. I don't know. I need to do more because what I'm doing isn't enough. You know, it's just what I put on myself.
"I need to get to 32, and 65 and 65 from the field and 3. It's just the pressure I put on myself, man. It's what I've come to."
It would help, though, if he got a bit more help from his teammates. In Miami's Game 4 blowout loss, James had 28 points while the Heat's other four starters combined for the same number. Dwyane Wade had just 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting, but said Saturday that it was simply a poor performance, not due to an injury or fatigue. "I'm fine," Wade said. "Way better than I've been in a long time. There is nothing I point out at all. Last year I had one leg and did all right. So I'm totally fine, man. I didn't play well in Game 4. Has nothing to do with my health at all."