LeBron James met with the media during shootaround at the Rose Garden Thursday. Below is a transcript covering his thoughts on the home fans, his shot selection and his admiration for LaMarcus Aldridge.
Why do the Blazers play so well at home?
“They’ve always played well here over the years. Any time you got an all star in LaMarcus, and you got playmakers like Gerald Wallace and Batum, and Jamal Crawford who can feed off the home crowd and they can play well. We know we’ll get the best out of them and we look forward to the challenge.”
Thoughts on Aldridge making the All-Star team?
“I just congratulated him and told him it was well deserved and well overdue. I’ve always felt like he’s been an All-Star, it’s just tough in the Western Conference with the all the forwards. I’ve always thought he’s been an All-Star for the past few years, and I was glad he got his first experience of being an All-Star.”
Why do you play so well here?
“I don’t know. I’ve always played particularly well here, hopefully I can do the same tonight and help my team to win. That’s what it’s all about — if I play well and give my team a chance to win. That’s what I’m happy about it.”
Do you remember your games here? Do you look back fondly on them?
“I don’t know every play, but I know what I did the year before and if I played well and if we won. Last year’s game, it was late in the game and we made a comeback down the stretch and won the game in overtime. It was a great atmosphere last year, hopefully it’s memorable this year.”
How would you describe your relationship with Blazers fans? You got into it with them a little bit last year.
“It’s like my relationship with all fans across America. Home fans root for their team, and they should. For me, I try to come here and play my game, and try to leave them with a great impression. I want them to say ‘even though our team lost, that LeBron James guy did a good job.’ That’s it. I feel like the fans pay money for tickets and I try to leave an impression in a good way.”
Do you like playing on the road because you feel like everyone’s watching you?
“I would hope people watch me and watch my game. Hopefully I’m inspiring people to like the sport even more. I’m just happy to be in the position to do that.”
What did you think about Kobe scoring 31 points in that mask last night?
“I’m only worried about the Blazers. We got them (the Lakers) on Sunday. All I can say is I’m focused in even more when I had the mask. I broke my cheekbone a few years back and had to wear the mask. It’s uncomfortable, but it helps you zero in even more knowing the limitations you have.”
What is it about Aldridge’s game that you particularly admire?
“I just think he’s a great talent. His ability to post up, ability to shoot. Anyone that you have to plan for — anyone who can attract a double team. He has fun playing the game as well. It’s great to see that.”
ESPN asked today if you are having the greatest season of all time. You’ve made some adjustments in your game, particularly your shot selection. Is this the best you’ve ever played?
“I think people are getting out of control with saying that my shot selection has changed. My shot selection hasn’t changed much, what I’m taking is changed a little bit. I kind of let you guys decide if this one of the best season of all time. I just try to play at a high level and let the number speak for themselves.”
Well, you’ve reduced your 3’s and increased your post-ups.
“Is that shot selection, though? I think shot selection is more fadeaway shots and contested shots. I haven’t taken many of those in the last few years. I’ve more dialed down on shooting 3’s and posted up more this year. I guess it is shot selection, I agree with you.”