MIAMI — Controversy alert: LeBron said something.
So Serge Ibaka made some pretty silly comments about LeBron’s defense on Monday essentially saying LeBron isn’t a good defender, only plays defense for two or three minutes and that he can’t guard Kevin Durant (which is true).
Naturally, LeBron was asked about this and responded thusly:
“I don’t really care what he says, he’s (pause) stupid,” LeBron said. “Everyone says something to me every series then [the media] tries to get a quote.”
Did he call Ibaka stupid? I don’t really think so. The way LeBron said it, he paused between “he’s” and “stupid.” As if he was changing his mind to say, [it's] stupid. But maybe not. Maybe he was calling Ibaka dumb. I don’t know what LeBron was thinking.
LeBron attempted to backtrack a bit. “It’s not toward him, though,” he said. “It’s not. I don’t really care what he says. It’s stupid.”
Here’s Ibaka’s quote, via the Palm Beach Post:
“LeBron is not a good defender,” Ibaka said about the player who received the most votes for the league’s all-defensive team, which is selected by the coaches.
“He can play defense for two to three minutes but not 48 minutes.”
“LeBron can’t play (Durant) one-on-one,” Ibaka said. “They’re playing good defense like a team.”
Said Durant about it: “Serge believes in me and he believes in what we do here,” Durant said. “He’s just taking up for me and taking up for our whole team. LeBron’s a good defender. I’ll tell him that. He’s a good defender. But it’s not about him, it’s about us, what we can do. We can’t come into the game worried about how he’s going to guard me, how he’s going to guard Russ, how he’s going to guard James. We can’t worry about that. We just have to play our games and that’s basically what Serge was saying. Just play my game.”
That Kevin Durant, he’s good at spinning something into a positive. Well done KD.
I wasn’t there for Ibaka’s comments about LeBron, so I have no idea what the context was. Ibaka, who still isn’t that great with his English, may have taken the question as if LeBron can defend the Thunder’s big men. Or if he’s specifically a good defender for Durant. I’m not sure. I just know it’s probably not wise to really put a whole lot of stock into something Serge Ibaka says, because he may have no idea what he actually said.
What did Ibaka really mean? What did LeBron really mean? I have no clue. But I do know this: This whole thing is really (pause) stupid.
A few other notes and quotes:
- KD was asked if he loses sleep over “subpar” games. Durant clearly took a little issue saying, “You saying I had a subpar game last game?” The reporter immediately backtracked and tried to clarify asking if KD loses sleep over missing free throws. “I lose sleep over losses. I can’t care less about how many free throws I miss. Of course if we had won the game and I missed those free throws I wouldn’t even think about it. I lose sleep over losses. I think if you don’t care about it when you go home, there’s something wrong with you. I really put my heart in this. Of course I get upset. My mom and my dad have to calm me down sometimes. But I learned how to let it go quicker than I usually did, and learn from it.”
- Derek Fisher seriously swished like 10 straight 3-pointers at one point. It was impressive.
- Scott Brooks was asked about the LeBron-Ibaka thing and as you might expect, didn’t even come close to answering it.
- I can tell you this: Nobody rattles a jumper in and out more than Nick Collison. I swear he had 10 shots bang around on the rim today.
- Brooks talked more about sitting Westbrook and Durant: “I know we played 66 regular season games, and that happened 66 times. Those guys are always off the court at the same time. It was nothing that we don’t do. We do it all the time, we do it every game. So the people that have not watched us play think that was a big deal. James and that second unit play without Russell and Kevin for four to five minutes each half each game. We’ve done it for 66 games in the regular season, and we’ve done it for most of the playoffs.”
- They very well may have them in Oklahoma, but there’s a Smoothie King next to my hotel and I have just discovered this treasure. I just felt like sharing.