Honesty is a rare approach when it comes to NBA press conferences—see: Steve Kerr's white lie before Game 4—but LeBron James dished out a heaping dose after the Cavaliers' loss to the Warriors in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
James finished the game with 40 points (15-of-34 shooting), 14 rebounds and 11 assists in 45 minutes, but Cleveland and its star ran out of gas in the fourth quarter and fell 104–91 to Golden State. The Cavaliers now trail the Warriors 3-2 in the Finals, but James's belief hasn't wavered in his team's ability to overcome the deficit.
In Game 5's postgame press conference, James was asked if he felt less pressure due to his team being "undermanned" in the NBA Finals. LeBron shot the reporter down.
"I feel confident because I'm the best player in the world. It's that simple," he said.
James has good reason to believe in himself. He's scored at least 40 points in three of five Finals games so far and has helped the Cavaliers hold their own against the favored Warriors despite the absences of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. In addition, James was a member of the last NBA team to overcome a 3-2 deficit in the Finals: the 2012-13 Heat.
We'll see if the "best player in the world" can keep his team alive in Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday.
SI's Best Photos From Game 5 of the NBA Finals
Steph Curry played like the league's MVP in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, scoring 37 points to move Golden State to within one victory of claiming the NBA title.
Steph Curry drained a three for the ages late in the fourth quarter, dribbling behind his back and crossing over Matthew Dellavedova before stepping back and taking the shot. Curry sank seven three-pointers on the night.
Andre Iguodala gets a high-five from Steph Curry after an offensive rebound and put back in which he also drew a foul. Iguodala finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Shaun Livingston drives against LeBron James and James Jones. The Warriors will try to win their first title since 1975 on Tuesday night in Cleveland.
LeBron James directs traffic for the Cavs. The four-time MVP scored 40 points and added 14 rebounds and 11 assists.
J.R. Smith pressures Steph Curry on a shot. Curry converted 13-of-23 from the field.
Tristan Thompson keeps Andre Iguodala from defending LeBron James.
The Warriors got three-pointers out of five players, including this one from Klay Thompson, who scored 12 points.
Tristan Thompson was Cleveland's second-leading scorer -- 19 points in 40 minutes of action.
Andre Iguodala lunges at LeBron James on this shot attempt. James made 15 of his 34 attempts and sank seven free throws.
LeBron James scored or assisted on 16 of Cleveland's 17 field goals in the half. He struggled to supply the same power in the third quarter, scoring just four points and handing out one assists. (Text credit: AP)
Cavs coach David Blatt was asked repeatedly in the postgame media conference about giving Timofey Mozgov only nine minutes of playing time. Blatt's response was that he thought a smaller lineup gave Cleveland it's best chance of winning.
Matthew Dellavedova played 42 minutes but scored only five points.
Metallica played the national anthem before Game 5.
The scene inside Oracle Arena.
- Matt Dollinger