BOSTON You can add LeBron James to the long list of players who have nothing but love for Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.
Even though James at times made dominating the Eastern Conference finals look easy, he admits that it was quite draining.
The Celtic players certainly played a role, but just as important -- to James at least -- was the impact of Rivers.
"It's probably one of the best coached teams that you can ever compete against," James said. "Doc Rivers keeps those guys prepared, and they have four future Hall of Famers in Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo, KG (Kevin Garnett) and Ray (Allen). It's challenging going against those guys."
It won't get any easier for him in the NBA Finals against Oklahoma City, with Game 1 tonight.
And while there's plenty of pressure on both sidelines, the three-time MVP plans to simply do what he's been doing in the playoffs and that's focus solely on basketball.
He acknowledged that wasn't necessarily the case in his two previous NBA Finals appearances, both ending with his team losing the series.
"Last year, so much had gone on with that series and the whole season," said James, referring to the Heat losing in six games in the Finals to the Dallas Mavericks. "And like I said, I played too much to prove people wrong last year, instead of just playing my game and doing what needs to be done.
"And then the first (Finals loss in which Cleveland was swept by San Antonio), I was young, inexperienced," James added. "We had an inexperienced team, and the San Antonio team did what they wanted to against us in that first experience. For me, I'm just at ease now. At the end of the day in this series, I'm going to play my game, try to do whatever it takes on both ends to make plays and help us win. And at the end of the day, whatever the results I'm going to be satisfied with that. I'm going to be happy with it because I know I'm going to give it my all, and I won't leave nothing behind."