Published June 18, 2012
The Miami Heat have been winning ugly, which is fine with LeBron James who is within two victories of claiming his first National Basketball Association (NBA) title.
"I don't give a damn how we get four," James told reporters after practice on Monday, the day following Miami's 91-85 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder that gave the Heat a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven NBA Finals.
"We can win 32-31. It doesn't matter to me."
The Heat shot an anemic 38 percent from the floor, and under 20 percent of their outside shots, but muscled their way to the pivotal Game Three win that has put them in the driver's seat.
A win in Tuesday's Game Four at their AmericanAirlines Arena would give the Heat a chance to finish the championship series off with another home court victory on Thursday.
The Heat fell short in last year's NBA Finals to the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki. League MVP James said Miami did not have to look pretty against the youthful Thunder team, they just had to find a way to win.
"We can win any type of game," said James. "We can win a gritty game, a high���paced game. We take every game as its own. We don't go into a game saying this is what type of a game it's going to be.
"I don't care how we get four."
MONSTER INSIDE THE PAINT
James has been a monster inside the paint during the finals, eschewing the outside jumper and using his brute force to drive to the hoop and fierce determination to corral rebounds.
Averaging 30.3 points and 10 rebounds, James said his mindset changed earlier in the playoffs after power forward Chris Bosh was sidelined for nine games with an abdominal strain.
"I had to change when Chris got hurt," he said. "I understood I had to change my approach both offensively and defensively. I had to rebound more, attack more, get into the paint more to make up the difference with Chris being out.
"I just had to change, and it's kind of stayed that way since he got back."
Last year, the Heat were up 2-1 against the Mavericks before Dallas fought back to win the crown in six games in a crushing defeat for Miami.
"Of course it stuck with us, all the way to this day," said James, who has become comfortable in his role as Miami's go-to guy in his second year with the Eastern Conference champions.
"We're a totally different team than we were last year when we were up 2���1. We understand what it takes to win and we've used that motivation, and we will continue to use that motivation."
(Reporting by Larry Fine in Miami; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)