After the Lakers turned a 13-point deficit into a 32-point lead in the third quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, some guys started playing around and celebrating baskets in the fourth quarter.
LeBron James put a stop to it.
He had seen too many leads squandered over his 17-season career to feel comfortable with premature playful antics.
After the Lakers' 116-98 win, James said there's one moment indelibly etched in his mind that shaped him to think that way.
It was Game 2 of the 2011 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks. After Dwyane Wade made a three-pointer to give the Heat a 15-point advantage with 7 minutes and 14 seconds left, he posed in front of the Mavericks' bench. The Mavericks responded with a 22-5 run, punctuated by a game-winning layup by Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavericks went on to win the series in six games.
"That s--- burns me to this day," said James, who had 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists Wednesday. "I always talk about the best teacher in life is experience, and I've experienced a lot. That's what prompts me to be who I am today, is being able to have those experiences."
After the Lakers' commanding Game 1 win, James said he was going to go back to his hotel room and watch film alone so he could discuss his observations with his team.
Sure, the Lakers were 11-for-17 from beyond the three-point line in the first half and outrebounded the Heat, 54-36.
But he wants them to be even sharper.
"I think you can learn so much more from a win than you can in a loss," James said. "I can't wait for [Thursday] for us to get back together and watch the film and see ways we can be better and see some of the breakdowns that we had, especially in that fourth quarter, especially in that first six minutes of the first quarter where we can be so much better defensively and also so much better offensively."