*On the eve of his team’s first game in the 2013 NBA Finals, Miami Heat star LeBron James revealed something that’s been bothering him for six long years about their opponent, the San Antonio Spurs, who swept his then-Cleveland Cavaliers team in the NBA Finals.
“I have something in me that they took in ’07; beat us on our home floor, celebrated on our home floor. I won’t forget that. You shouldn’t as a competitor. You should never forget that.”
James said Wednesday he’s long waited for the chance to get back at the Spurs for how they beat him in the 2007 Finals.
“It’s the same group of guys, for the most part. The same Big Three, and Coach [Gregg] Pop[ovich]. And I look forward to the challenge once again.”
In that series the Spurs bullied James with veterans like Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley and set up a strategy that ultimately embarrassed him. He shot just 36 percent as the Spurs took advantage of his lack of a reliable jump shot at the time, pushing him to spots on the floor where he wasn’t comfortable and daring him to shoot.
“I have to imagine he does [have revenge on his mind],” Spurs star Tim Duncan said. “He’s a competitor, I can’t imagine he’s forgotten that.”
LeBron James says he is 50 times better than he was when he got swept by the Spurs. Now playing in his fourth Finals with a more experienced Heat team, James and his teammates feel they will be competing on a different level.
“After that Finals he probably always obviously wanted to get back again, I think he probably always wanted to get back and play them,” Dwyane Wade said. “So obviously having this opportunity right now is probably something he always dreamed of, of getting back to the Finals and playing the Spurs again.”
James said if the Spurs attempt the same game plan this season as they did in 2007 – which included leaving James open on pick-and-rolls by going “under” the screens – he will make them pay.
“If you go into my pick-and-roll now, I’m going to shoot. And I’m confident I’m going to make every last one of them,” James said. “I’m a better player and you can’t dare me to do anything I don’t want to do in 2013.”