LeBron James defends pass to Kyle Korver: 'Would do exact same thing'

ByBrian Windhorst via ESPN logo
Friday, June 9, 2017

CLEVELAND -- During his career,LeBron James has repeatedly been required to defend himself from critics who second guess his passing to open teammates in clutch moments. He did so again Thursday.

James hit Kyle Korver in the left corner for a 3-point attempt with 52 seconds left in Wednesday's Game 3 with the Cavs up two points. Korver missed and Kevin Durant got the rebound and subsequently drilled a 3-pointer that gave the Golden State Warriors the lead for good and eventually a 3-0 Finals lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Not only does James not regret making the pass to Korver -- he would do it over again. And he explained why.

"If I could have the play over again, I would come off a screen situation. Draymond [Green] would switch on me with five fouls. I would get him leaning. I would drive left. I would see [Durant] step up. I would see Stephen Curry drop on Kevin [Love]. And I would see Kyle Korver in the corner, one of the greatest 3-point shooters in this league's history, and give him an opportunity in the short corner," James said, explaining what he saw on the play.

"I would do the same exact thing."

Korver shot 59 percent on left corner 3-pointers during the season, the best in the NBA among players with at least 40 such attempts. In the playoffs, Korver was 7-of-14 on 3-pointers from the left corner before taking that shot.

"I'm going to be thinking about that miss for a long time," Korver said.

James, who had 39 points in the game, was criticized for not driving to the rim against Green, who was in foul trouble.

"I had a 101 drives last night. I didn't have 101, but you get the gist of it," James said. "I'm sorry I didn't go for 102."

Teams who are up 3-0 in the Finals are 12-0 in NBA history in eventually closing out the series. The Warriors have won 30 of their past 31 games and are a perfect 15-0 in the playoffs.

But James and his teammates stressed they aren't planning on giving up despite the circumstances.

"My mindset is to try to get every game," James said. "It's been a long season, and you hate for it to end this way. So mentally and physically, I got to prepare myself for that."

As with Durant's ability to cash in on Korver's missed 3, the Warriors have repeatedly victimized the Cavs for mistakes in the series and proved their star power and depth. It has shaken the Cavs without question, but they are still talking about fighting the good fight.

"From a mental standpoint, there is no other option, other than to prepare for Game 4 as best you can. That's it," Kyrie Irving said. "This is as do or die as possible as I've ever faced in my career. So we understand what's at stake, our whole entire season. There's really no other decision, other than to leave it all out there."

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