Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James thought the Lakers weren't "physical enough" at the start of the game against the Miami Heat but he was happy that falling down early by 13 points turned out to be a wake-up call for his team.
The Heat led 25-12 with 4:21 left in the first quarter, before the Lakers went on to outscore the Heat 75-30 and take a dominant lead. The Lakers led by 17 points at halftime and ended up beating the Heat 116-98 in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
James came up big for the Lakers in Game 1 as he scored 25 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had nine assists. "I don't think in the beginning that we were physical enough," James said, per ESPN. "You have to get a feel for how hard Miami plays.
I think they smacked us in the mouth, and we got a sense of that. And so we knew how hard we had to play if we wanted to try to make it a game. You know, from that moment when it was 23-10, we started to play to our capabilities."
James wasn't surprised by the performance of Anthony Davis
Davis, who was making his NBA Finals debut, scored a game-high 34 points and also grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists. "I expect it out of him," James said when asked about Davis' stellar Finals debut.
"Didn't need to give him no advice. We've been preparing for this moment all season. He's been preparing for this moment all season. I'm happy to be on the same floor with him and in the same uniform. He was, once again, a force in every facet of the game, offensively and defensively."
The Lakers destroyed the Heat in Game 1 but James won't be taking them for granted going forward. "The best teacher in life is experience," James said. "I've experienced moments in my career where you have all the momentum in the world and you felt like you had the game under control, and one play here or one play there could change the course of a series or change the course of a game."
Meanwhile, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra hopes the Heat will defend Davis better in Game 2. "We have 48 hours to figure out what the next plan of attack will be," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said about Davis. "He was extremely good tonight and we have to be better."