Daniel Gibson and LeBron James talk after Game 6
Saturday night in Eastern conference finals Game 6 of the 2007 NBA Playoffs Cavs rookie Daniel "Boobie" Gibson went bonkers, scoring 19 points in the 4th quarter and finishing with 31, helping the Cavs beat the Pistons 98-82. Cleveland advances to the NBA Finals for the first time in team history, where they'll face the San Antonio Spurs. Here's what LeBron James and Gibson said after the win:
Q. LeBron, can you just put into words what this means to you after what you've been through in this entire series, starting with Game 1, the criticism and everything, and then winning four straight and doing it here at home?
LEBRON JAMES: If I could put into words what's going on in my head right now, man, we would be up here for another three hours. But this is special, the guys were really mentally prepared. We want to give Detroit a lot of credit because they definitely brought out the best in us, but we just believed and guides stepped up, no matter if it was the one guy all the way down to the 15th man on the roster, we believed.
Q. LeBron, the first guy you ran to was Z, could you speak about your feelings for what he's been through, and then about how Daniel played.
LEBRON JAMES: Definitely, I ran to Z because when I was first drafted, Z was the first guy I seen. Z has been through a lot, been through losing seasons, year after year after year, and I promised him when I got drafted I was going to try to change it. If you guys remember when I was in New York, I said I was going to light it up like Vegas in Cleveland. Awesome, I told you, I'm going to be a GM someday. I told Daniel before the game, I said, "I believe Detroit is going to double-team me, triple me before I cross halfcourt, so get that gun and get it locked and loaded and just shoot it, don't second guess yourself, just shoot it." And that's exactly what happened, and guys stepped up. Especially Boobie stepped in, knocked big shots down. When they closed out on him hard, he drove the ball to the rim, got fouled and made free-throws. This is definitely a big step in Cleveland Cavaliers history.
Q. Daniel, in this series, particularly Game 2 when you started hitting shots, seemed like LeBron helped build your confidence, could you talk about what he did to build your confidence in this series and LeBron what you did to help build his confidence.
DANIEL GIBSON: From day one LeBron has been in my corner. He told me from day one he was going to make me something special, he was going to do whatever he could to make me better. Like I said, when I took shots, he told me to keep shoot, keep shooting, don't hesitate, don't worry about anything else. "When you got a look, you take it," and when a guy tells you that, you step to it with a lot of confidence and knock it down for him.
LEBRON JAMES: I forgot the question. What was it? I was zoned out.
Q. Your individual attention on Daniel and building his confidence through the season and this series particularly.
LEBRON JAMES: I mean, when we got Daniel in the second round I believe it was a blessing in disguise, I believe we got a steal. I just knew how good of a basketball player he could be, and once I seen his work ethic during practice, after practice, before practice, I mean, I get to the gym early, he's there before me, we're shooting after practice every single day and I just seen his drive and his passion. And one day we had a sit-around in the locker room when we were struggling and Daniel said, "Man, if every guy in this locker room just plays as hard as I want to play on this basketball court, we're going to be something special." And for a rookie, a guy that really is not even supposed to say something or say nothing at all, I remember that, and you remember what I'm talking about, right?
DANIEL GIBSON: Yeah.
LEBRON JAMES: I remembered what he was talking about and I stayed on him from there. I just knew he was going to be something special and tonight it was perfect.
Q. LeBron, Game 5 when you scored 29 of 30 points, there was so much talk about this being a one-man team, how important was it to you tonight not only Boobie but other guys step up? And what does this mean for the team going The Finals?
LEBRON JAMES: You guys know how I am about my team. There is no way we would be here in the Eastern Conference Finals or winning the Eastern Conference Finals if it was a one-man show. It's never happened in NBA history, it would never happen in the NBA where a team has one guy and he does it all. My teammates are my family. I'm with them more than I am with my own family, honestly. And every time these guys come to the gym, we believe and we made it happen.
Q. Boobie, describe your emotion in the fourth quarter, especially your last three-pointer.
DANIEL GIBSON: Oh, man, it's hard to describe, I was excited, feeling good, and happy for my team, happy that we had put ourselves in the situation to win the game because that was our main focus, just getting out there and giving it everything we got, and bringing home a victory.
Q. LeBron, I notice that in your locker you have a picture of you dunking over Tim Duncan that's been hanging up in your locker room all season. Can you talk about it right now that you're in this position, you're going to be playing him in The Finals. Can you talk about the emotion of getting to this point, having that picture in your locker room and now getting to have it happen.
LEBRON JAMES: San Antonio is the premier team in our league, playing the best basketball better than any team in this league; they're veterans, they've been there before, they're special. And we've got to be even more intense, even more physically and mentally in tune to what's going on, when we enter into The Finals s on Thursday. But just the simple fact of I've always believed in us, from day one, all you guys know I've chanted championship, one, two, three championships. Every time we brought it up, funny faces at first looked at me. I didn't care, I kept it going, championship, every single day. And we've made it happen. This is special.
Q. LeBron, can you talk a little bit about how big of a switch in momentum it was, when Rasheed got ejected. You guys had a double-digit lead but there was eight minutes to go and it seemed like everything swung your guys' way.
LEBRON JAMES: We felt when we made our run in the fourth quarter it was starting to swing our way, something had to go right for Cleveland sports, something had to go right, and we made a real big run. This game reminds me of my freshman year in high school in the state championship, and what Boobie did tonight reminded me of our point guard, Drew Joyce hitting six consecutives threes, he hit seven threes in a row, and we won the state championship. They doubled me, we kicked it to Drew and he hit back to back to back to back threes in a row. And Boobie is unbelievable, what he's done, how he's grown, and I'm lost for words right now, I'm not even answering your question, (Chuckles.) I'm so excited, I'm not answering your question at all, but you guys know how I feel right now. Yeah, it was a turn when Rasheed got a technical, I guess. (Laughter.)
Q. LeBron, when you first came into this league and joined this organization, did you have an idea of when you thought you could get this team to this point? And also can you talk about Coach Brown who has gotten some criticism from a lot of people, including me all year long.
LEBRON JAMES: I never put a time limit on when I thought we could reach this point, but what I did -- I honestly believed we could get better every single year, and I mean, we won 30-something games my rookie year, we won 40 games my second year, missed the playoffs, and in my third year we win 50, my fourth year we win 50, and we've gotten better every single year I've been in this league, and we added the pieces that we needed to compete every single night and brought in a guy in Coach Brown that stresses defense, defense, defense, defense, defense, defense. And it's unbelievable, you can have so many struggles during the course of a season, so many people criticizing your team, "they don't have enough pieces, they're not a good outside-shooting team, Coach Brown lacks this, LeBron lacks this," but we've also believed and it's always been 15 guys in the locker room that just believed and we have a special team.
Q. LeBron, can you talk about the significance of getting through Detroit, getting to the Finals. You could have beaten a lot of different teams in the Eastern Conference Finals, but beating Detroit had to be special.
LEBRON JAMES: If you've been up on my commercials, someone wise told me that I couldn't get through Detroit swimming in a pool, so I guess I had to do it on the court. I think it was just our time. It was our time. I think Detroit, we give all the respect in the world to that team. That team is awesome, they're great but I believe it was just our time and we're here now and we've got -- still got business to do. We're going to enjoy tonight, enjoy our day off tomorrow and get back to work on Monday and get ready for the big bad wolf of the West.