Chris Bosh was injured, and before we landed in Indiana, we had a meeting because we needed to figure out what to do. Spo said, "We've got to go small." That was totally about LeBron. He'd been playing inside the whole year, but without Chris, we had to go all in with it. He was going to have to play that role full time. We still lost Game 3, and we were down 2--1, and Dwyane and Spo had their little tiff on the sideline that everybody was making a big fuss about. But we stuck with the plan. We had a walk-through in the hotel the morning of the game, and Spo said, "I guarantee you we will win today." He said it five times.
Dwyane was coming off a horrible game, and there was a lot of drama about him going to see his college coach, Tom Crean, at Indiana. LeBron knew we could not go down 3--1. He knew it was the game of the series. The most definable thing for any player is when you come to that absolute moment of truth, and he came to it in the fourth game against Indiana. It was no longer about being a team player. He had to carry us.
CHRIS JENT, Ohio State assistant coach and former Cavaliers assistant:
I sent him a long e-mail before that game, and I talked a lot about my brother, who is a retired Marine. He tells his guys that the mental side is 1,000-to-1 more important than the physical. Your mind will allow your body to get where it needs to go.
LeBron and I have this thing where we kind of look at each other when it's time to step up. Even before we played together, we did it in All-Star Games and at the Olympics. It means he wants more from me, or vice versa. I knew he wanted more from me that day. We looked at each other, and everything clicked. You could feel it: This is the way it should be, this is the way we dreamed it up. We scored 70 points combined. It saved our season.
LeBron was a big part of Dwyane having 30. He was setting him up, getting him easy baskets. You couldn't make a mistake on Dwyane because LeBron was finding him. Every time [a Pacer] turned his head and lost Dwyane, he had a dunk.
FRANK VOGEL, Pacers head coach:
LeBron made that running hook shot over Roy Hibbert. He was basically running away from the basket. And you kind of look around and say, "I'm not really sure how you guard that."
He took the game by the balls and squeezed.
PAUL GEORGE, Pacers forward:
We were kind of gassed, on our knees a little bit, and we looked at him, and he was still engaged and active. He wasn't wheezing. It didn't even look like he'd run up and down the court yet.
From the moment the ball went up, he competed as hard as I've ever seen a player compete. He was impacting every single play on both ends of the court. His level of activity was so high that in the biggest moment, with about five minutes left in the fourth quarter, he had to come out. He couldn't go any further.
Spo was like, "You're a marathon runner! You're not supposed to get tired!" But it happens.