The Los Angeles Lakers are now just three wins away from claiming their first NBA title in 10 years after defeating the Miami Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
There were moments where the Lakers and their bench celebrated big plays and dominant stretches, which at times was met by a directive from LeBron James to keep focused.
“The best teacher in life is experience,” he said. “I’ve experienced moments in my career where you have all the momentum in the world and you felt like you had the game under control, and one play here or one play there could change the course of a series or change the course of a game.”
James went on to explain the reference was to his first year with Miami back in 2011 when they faced the Dallas Mavericks in the Finals. The Heat won Game 1 and were close to extending it, leading by as many as 15 points in Game 2.
But Dallas went on a ferocious run, ended with a game-winning layup from Dirk Nowitzki that would ultimately turn the tide in the series and fire the Mavericks up to a 4-2 Finals victory.
And having learned from that moment, James discouraged L.A. from celebrating during their blowout Game 1 victory on Wednesday. “That [expletive] burns me to this day,” he said.
“I always talk about the best teacher in life is experience, and I’ve experienced a lot. That’s what prompts me to be who I am today, is being able to have those experiences.”
James determined to look for improvements ahead of Game 2
The Lakers started Game 1 slowly, falling 13 points behind Miami. And even though L.A. followed with a 75-30 run, the Heat managed to cut their 32-point lead to just 13 in the fourth quarter.
L.A. sealed the win nevertheless, but after the fact James was determined to get back together with the team and study film in search of answers to their inconsistency. “I think you can learn so much more from a win than you can in a loss,” he said.
“I’m extremely amped up about watching the film with our ballclub. I’m going to watch some tonight obviously by myself, but I’m looking forward to getting together as a group tomorrow.”
James then explained Thursday that he stayed up until 4:30 a.m. going over film.
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