MIAMI – LeBron James planned to spend the eve of the biggest game of his NBA career the same way he spends a lot of games: hanging at home with his family and friends. Some of James' old high school teammates from his hometown Akron, Ohio, are in town. He might even watch an episode or two of "SpongeBob SquarePants" with his two sons.
But after a night of relaxation and laughs, James says his entire focus will be on Game 7 of the NBA Finals once his eyes open Thursday morning.
"I understand the moment for me," James said. "I've been pretty relaxed, though. I've been pretty relaxed throughout the playoffs. I'm going to be antsy, I'm going to be excited. I'm going to have some butterflies. I'll be nervous – everything. That's how I should be.
"The moment is going to be grand. I'm happy to be a part of it."
103-100 overtime victory. His 3-pointer with 20.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter kept Miami in the game and set the stage for Ray Allen's tying three.James is the biggest reason why the Heat are in position to win their third NBA championship when they face the San Antonio Spurs in a decisive Game 7 Thursday night. He is averaging 23.3 points in the Finals and had 16 points in the fourth quarter of Game 6 when the Heat rallied from a 10-point deficit for a
"I was able to find a rhythm, and I was just trying to be aggressive and trying to will the victory for us to just keep our hopes alive," James said.
James played most of the comeback without his signature headband, which fell off while he was dunking. He intends to be wearing it again for tipoff of Game 7.
"I'll probably start off with it," James said. "…If it gets knocked off, then me and him will have a discussion if he will return."
James was visibly tired during the fourth quarter and OT of Game 6. He is averaging 41.6 minutes in the Finals after playing nearly 50 minutes in Game 6. James was exhausted enough after Game 6 that after talking to reporters, he groaned as he helped himself up from his chair by pushing with both hands off the table. He used the railing on a short flight of steps to swing his body down from the dais instead of putting pressure on his legs by stepping down.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said he hopes to get James some early rest during quick breaks in Game 7. Teammate Dwyane Wade said it wasn't physically possible – or fair – to ask James to play at his high level for an entire game without a breather. James, however, says he is ready to push his body to the limit for another ring.
"I feel better today than I did last night already," James said. "So I'm going to do my extensive treatment. Do whatever it takes. If I have to play 49 minutes again [Thursday] night to help us win, I'm going to do it. Nobody's body is feeling great at this point, from both teams. But for me it's more mind over matter, man.
"I'm hurting. But it doesn't matter. It's the last game of the season."
There is so much at stake for James in Game 7. The league's reigning MVP will either win his second title or fall to 1-3 in the Finals. A win would further validate his decision to go to Miami three years ago and join Wade and Chris Bosh. A loss would likely invite more ridicule after James promised to win multiple titles with the Heat.
For better or worse, most of the focus – and pressure – will be on James once he steps on the court for Game 7.
"It won't stop me from loving the game," James said, "playing at a high level, doing it for my teammates."
NBA Finals coverage on Yahoo! Sports:
• Ray Allen nails huge 3-pointer to send Game 6 to overtime
• Watch: LeBron James blocks Tim Duncan at the rim
• Kawhi Leonard posterizes Mike Miller
• Slideshow: Franchises with the most NBA championships
• Slideshow: LeBron James ditches headband, leads Heat to victory
• Slideshow: Surprising NBA Finals MVPs
- Sports & Recreation
- LeBron James