The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

June 12, 2013

LeBron not backing down on vow for Game 4

— SAN ANTONIO (AP) — A day later, LeBron James didn't back down.

When the Miami Heat were embarrassed by 36 points in Game 3 of the NBA Finals, James took all the blame and even lauded his teammates for playing great. Shortly after that 113-77 debacle of a Spurs' victory ended Tuesday night, James insisted that he would do enough to change the way the Heat compete in Game 4.

And Wednesday, James' tune was the same.

"I'm putting all the pressure on my chest, on my shoulders to come through for our team," James said, virtually echoing what he had vowed the previous night. "That's the way it is."

That's not necessarily the same game plan that Heat coach Erik Spoelstra would prefer, but by now, it's just become assumed that when the stakes are highest, it's all going to be on James anyway, whether that's the actual reality or not. If the Heat win Game 4, odds are James will be credited as the reason why. If they lose Game 4 and go one loss away from elimination, then it'll be widely considered as James' failure.

"Look, we have great confidence from our guys and their ability to bounce back and respond in a big way," Spoelstra said. "And that's all our focus is the next 24 hours — how do we prepare ourselves to play our best game of the series tomorrow night. That's the only thing that matters. LJ has proven himself enough in this league and on the biggest stage. He is going to ... he'll be better."

When the Heat arrived Wednesday for practice in San Antonio, after a particularly difficult-to-stomach film session to recap Game 3, James had his practice jersey slung over his head, letting the piece of mesh fabric sway down his back much in the way that a cape would.

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