Miami Heat great LeBron James looked as calm as ever on the eve of Game 4 of the NBA playoff finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
After going through the team’s training session, James was confident of a better performance. “I will be much better,” he said. His performance in Game 3, in which he scored just six points till the break, could be one of the reasons for his team’s big defeat on Tuesday.
In fact, ahead of the crucial game, James was the talking point among followers. From missing easy baskets to hitting the ring during free throws, the list was long.
But Heat’s coach, Eric Sploestra, was quick to defend his player, saying no individual could be held responsible for the team’s show. “It’s always a collective effort. We have a system in place and we believe in that,” he said after Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the series.
Spoelstra, however, didn’t dwell on the game further, saying the focus was on moving on. “We have the ability to bounce back at the big stage,” he said.
If Spoelstra had to answer queries related to the Heat’s lacklustre performance, Spurs’ coach, Gregg Popovich, was faced with a volley of questions on his team’s amazing show.
To a question on whether he would rest Tony Parker, who strained a hamstring, and play him in the remaining three games, he replied: “Don’t confuse me.”
Parker, a key player for the Spurs, did not practice, but hinted at playing the next match. “I am hopeful of taking the court,” he said.
With Popovich hoping to sustain the momentum and Spoelstra confident of his team making a comeback, the stage is set for an exciting contest.
As a part of their commitment to develop the game at the grassroots level, the Spurs took time out for community service. They have adopted the Phillis Wheatley Middle School here, and are helping build basketball infrastructure.
On Tuesday, the Spurs inaugurated the ‘learn and play’ centre in the school premises. After the inauguration, the players spent time with the students. Indeed, it was a remarkable way to inspire youngsters to take up sports, particularly basketball.
The writer’s trip is sponsored by sony six. Live on Sony six 6:30am.