Blog Entry

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:04 pm
A snappy LeBron James promises to be in "attack mode" at shootaround on Sunday before Game 3. Posted by Ben Golliver. lebron-corner

DALLAS -- Seated in the corner of American Airlines Center with his arms crossed, rows of seats covered with t-shirts and signs behind him, Miami Heat forward LeBron James made two things clear. First, he didn't want to hear about how important Sunday night's Game 3 was. Second, he knows he needs to do more offensively.

This factoid has spread like wildfire through over the last 48 hours: During the history of the 2-3-2 Finals format, the series has entered Game 3 tied 1-1 11 times. The winner of Game 3 has gone on to become NBA champions all 11 times.

Asked whether that bit of history added an urgency to Sunday night's game, James, speaking flatly and quickly, did his best to downplay it.

"You respect numbers and you respect history," James said. "But Game 3 is it's own. We can't worry about a series or Game 4 or Game 5. We have to worry about tonight. That's the only thing that's important."

Minutes later, a tardy reporter asked James the very same question, attempting to cite the same number.

"LeBron, history says that the winner in this situation ..." the reporter began.

James didn't let him finish the sentence, interrupting with a shake of his head.

"The winner in one-one in Game 3," James interjected. "They already asked me that. Next question."

Another reporter tried to change the subject, asking for James' thoughts on being the villain on the road in front of a hostile Mavericks crowd. James decided he didn't want to hear that either.

"I have answered that question before too this year," James said, sounding irritated. "Next question."

The one thing James did want to talk about: Improving his offensive output. James is averaging just 22 points per game in the Finals so far. He has attempted just six free throw attempts combined in the first two games while shooting seven three-pointers in Game 2 alone. Expect those numbers to be different in Game 3, James promised. 

"I will be in attack mode tonight," James said. "Six free throws in two games for me is unacceptable ... We have to attack. That's when we're at our best."

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra noted after Saturday's practice that the Heat use its ratio of three-pointers to free throws as an indicator of whether they're being aggressive enough offensively. The goal is to always shoot more free throws than threes. During the regular season, the Heat were 51-16 when they shot as many free throws as threes. When they shot more threes than free throws? They finished 7-8.

During the playoffs, the contrast is even more stark. The Heat are 12-1 when they shoot more free throws than threes. They are 1-3 when they shoot more threes than free throws, including Thursday night's Game 2 loss when the Heat jacked up 30 three-pointers while getting to the line 24 times. 

"We can't shoot 30 threes," James said. "We can't shoot more threes than we did free throws. We talk about stats, we're not a good team when we do that. When we outshoot threes than free throws, we're not a good team."

James said Miami has the personnel to get the ratio back on track.

"It's simple," he explained. "We've got three guys that have been in the top 10 their whole career in free throws per game. Myself, [Chris Bosh] and [Dwyane] Wade. If we shoot threes and we don't attack we're not successful. We're not getting to the rim, we're not putting pressure on the defense."

Attack mode can't begin until the Heat withstand the immediate energy rush that goes with playing a road game on the road.

"We look at the first two or three minutes," James said. "We understand that this team will come out with a lot of energy. Their fans are going to be looking forward to this. They've been looking forward to this since they played them in 2006. We're looking forward to the challenge."

Even with the series shifting to new surroundings here in Dallas, James stressed that he felt like he knows what to expect on the court.
"It's going to be elecritifying in here.  Their home fans are going to give them a lot of energy. After that it's going to be a basketball game. It's going to be the same team we've seen the last two games. A team that offensively plays great, shares the ball and defensively, just tries to be active defensively, makes us take contested jumpers. It's not like they're putting anything in new. We're not putting in anything new at this point. We'll see what happens."

All eyes turn to James to deliver.

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2011 7:17 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

Dear LeBron,

The refs aren't going to call more fouls in your favor just because YOU want it.  They'll call them because David Stern wants it.  Based on 2006 and other series, I assume it's fixed until results show otherwise. 

Since: Dec 10, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:58 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

Here is hoping the refs are not a factor tonight. Hopefully they call technicals fairly and that there are not a whole bunch of "PhantoM" fouls as Lebron and Wade pound it into the paint.

Call it both ways and everyone will live with the results.

Since: Aug 30, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:45 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

What a bunch of Haters.  All Lebron meant is he has to take it to the basket more instead of shooting from outside.  That is his game.  Dallas dont have any other choice either let him play his game or foul him.  If you dont want him at the line, dont foul.  Simple. And the Moron who said "trash talk", What trash talk is that?    Get used to it HATERS.  Heat will win the series, Lebron, Wade and Bosh will be a dinasty. 

Since: May 14, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:45 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

Every player, especially slashers ala Jordan, Melo, Wade, Paul, Rose, Westbrook, Kobe (in his prime), tries to break penetrate the defense, knowing that agressive players usually get the benefit of the doubt with referees. It's a vital part of the game. Part of this is to get your team in the bonus as early as possible in a quarter. The other part is to get the opposing team's big men in fouldl trouble. The most important part is doing whatever it takes to win a game.

The rules state that if you're garding a player going up for a shot, if you go up vertically with your arms extented above your head, that will not be called a foul. Too many players these days are lazy defensively. They reach in too much and don't move their feet  to get into a proper defensive stance. Look at Bosh's defense against Nowitzki on that final drive for the winning bucket. Bosh overplayed Dirk on one side, with a bad body angle that allowed a drive for a score. Everyone that watches Nowitzki knows that he like to dive to the left. Bosh should have been guarding his strong side but didn't.

Players who like to slash inside the paint deserve every call they get. If the player on defense can't stop him without fouling, too bad. What's the alternative, make it like a pick-up game of jungle ball? The Mavericks are doing a god job of preventing James and Wade penetrating the paint. Too many times, James falls in love with his jumper and lets the defense off the hook. Other times, there is a clear out by his teammates and he goes one on one and tries to score. The Maverick's zone defense has been effective against this.

If a defensive player is backpedalling and the offensive player gets an angle to drive and there is contact on the way to the basket, it's a foul everytime. Especially if you are a superstar like Lebron and Wade.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2011 6:27 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

Is Lebron James going to be "carrying" tonight or will he be elbowing Mavericks players in the hopes of getting fouls calls. James talks too much. He should be quiet and just play the game. I have never heard so much trash talking from an NBA Finals team in a long time. This must mean that the Heat are very scared and nervous about playing the Mavericks.

Since: Mar 28, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2011 5:42 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

ive heard kobe and mj both talk about being more aggressive after losing games.   it's a difference of verbage sweetness, not a reason to somehow make kobe and jordan the same and lebron different.  

do you laker fans ever stop?

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: June 5, 2011 5:34 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

What happened last game? No attack mode? You'd never hear MJ or Kobe say they will go into attack mode because they were never NOT in "attack mode"

Since: May 1, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2011 5:07 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

It sounds like that to me. Lebron expects to get fouled and the call when driving the lane. It's one of the things that annoys me most about NBA rules. That a player can simply pick up speed, drive into a defensive player, toss up a shot and get the foul. Why? If a defensive player is running, stepping backwards to cover the off. player, why can they just drive into them? There should be a proximity rule in the NBA. If a player is actively covering the ball within (say) three feet, whether or not that player has there feet planted, it should not be a foul on either party. Keep the ball active and keep on playing. Lebron just makes it even more annoying considering that is his game and he expects it.

Since: Mar 10, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:33 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

I know I'm going to get ripped by all you armchair basketball geniuses out there, but it sure read like LeBron said he needed to get more fouls called on the Mavs if he's going to win this series. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he said he was going to be aggressive and I infer that he expects that he'll get more free throws. That assumes 1) The Mavs will HAVE to foul him, because they can't stop him, and 2) The refs WILL call fouls when he's aggressive. Heck, he's LeBron James! They have to blow the whistle, right? Right?! RIGHT?!!!

LOVE IT. Win at the rim, LBJ. Not at the charity stripe. If you can only win with whistles, you are not a winner in my book. 

Since: Aug 3, 2008
Posted on: June 5, 2011 3:30 pm

LeBron James promises 'attack mode' in Game 3

"attack mode" - sounds like someone's gonna get injured again.

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