Game 4 of the NBA Finals is just a couple of hours away, and the main story heading into the game seems to be centered around what Serge Ibaka said about LeBron James and how he responded. Find out what has been said below and see if you agree with James’ reaction to it all. Also, be sure to check out the latest on Phil Jackson’s state of mind.
- The story of the day is Serge Ibaka’s lame attempt at discrediting LeBron James’ defense: “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.”
- Here is James’ reaction to Ibaka or anyone else trying to stir something up against him: ”I don’t really care what he says, he’s stupid,” James said. “Everyone says something to me every series, then (the media) tries to get a quote. It’s stupid.”
- Kevin Durant also had a take on Ibaka’s comments, from Royce Young: “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.”
- Zach Lowe describes why we should talk more about basketball plays and strategies instead of who chokes and who doesn’t: “But one of the best things about these Finals has been the way that all of the artificial talk-radio narratives are beginning to fade away. James has been plenty good enough in crunch time over the last two games, and even in a ho-hum Game 1 “clutch” performance, James hit two foul shots and nailed a tough “and-one” in the final three minutes to keep Miami within striking range. LeBron is always one late-game meltdown from turning the media hysteria into an all-consuming force, but so far, he has given the screamers no fodder.”
- Tom Haberstroh, as usual, had some insightful information about LeBron James. Click here and here to find out.
- Dwyane Wade called in big-shot trainer Tim Grover for his troublesome leg, Ethan J. Skolnick: “He spent less time than usual with Grover at Hoops Gym in Chicago this summer and during the lockout, in part so he could work more closely with LeBron James. Grover was largely credited with getting Wade back into premium shape in 2008, after Wade had suffered a number of injuries. Wade showed the worth of that work by starring for the U.S. Olympic “Redeem Team”, as arguably its most dynamic player.”
- If you want to see the look of a child that just witnessed the Thunder lose to the Heat, click here.
- Russell Westbrook likes to wear geeky looking outfits. David Lee wants to join the party.
- With Anthony Davis all but guaranteed to be the No. 1 overall pick, a workout won’t be necessary, from Adrian Wojnarowski: “When Kentucky star Anthony Davis meets with New Orleans Hornets executives and coaches on Tuesday at the franchise’s practice facility, they’ll get an up-close encounter with the assured No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Nevertheless, they won’t get him on the court for a workout, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.”
- Harrison Barnes is quieting the notion that he lacks athleticism, from Michael Lee: “Measurements for the 6-foot-8 Barnes were off the charts, as he registered the highest no-step vertical jump (38 inches), the fourth-highest maximum vertical (39.5), the fastest three-quarter court sprint (3.16) and bench pressed 185 pounds 15 times. For some perspective, his no-step vertical ranks fourth all-time, his sprint is only two seconds slower than John Wall’s time from two years ago and he matched Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson in upper body strength.”
- K.C. Johnson reports that the Bulls once had their eyes on Mike Dunlap: “Even Dunlap at the time joked he represented a “Clydesdale” in the Bulls’ coach search. But Paxson spoke highly of Dunlap’s coaching and basketball acumen in the aftermath of the search, and Dunlap interviewed well.”
- David Stern is adamant about penalizing act of flopping, and rules are being considered: “Any rules changes they recommend would have to be approved by the league’s Board of Governors, set for its next meeting in July. Stern hopes by then to have a policy to address flopping, which bothers him because he feels it tricks the referees. He said there’s a “broad array of issues” to look at that can let players know the practice is to be discouraged.”
- The league may want to do something about this, too.
- Stephen Jackson will not be signing an extension with the Spurs: “Popovich told Jackson they were close to completing a deal for him. Popovich didn’t tell Jackson this: The phone call, in part, was to make sure they didn’t hear anything crazy. So Popovich laid out his priorities. He told Jackson he wanted his toughness, and there could be minutes for him. But Popovich also told him he liked Kawhi Leonard as his small forward, and nothing would be guaranteed. Then, Popovich said something else. ‘We’re not talking about an extension.’ This is the power of clarity and honesty”
- Coach K has a wish for Shane Battier, according to Marc J. Spears: ”Two more wins and he’ll become just the second Duke player under Krzyzewski to win an NBA championship. Of the more than 50 players Krzyzewski has sent to the NBA during his 31 season as Duke coach, only Danny Ferry (with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003) has won an NBA title.”
- Steve Aschburner discussed the similarities between Kevin Durant and Bob McAdoo: ”You could say I was Kevin Durant before Kevin Durant,” McAdoo said before the 2012 Finals shifted to south Florida. “A lot of people now, the new fans, they don’t know the NBA from the ’70s and ’80s. They didn’t see me play. But a lot of the old-timers, I’ve had them tell me that.”
- Ramon Sessions will test free agency instead of exercising his player option with the Lakers, according to Mike Bresnahan.
- Trevor Ariza has been active over the summer, but was the victim of a crossover on this particular play.
- Though unlikely to happen, Jason Kidd would enjoy a backup role with the Knicks, according to Jared Zwerling: “If that doesn’t happen, the 18-year-veteran expressed interest in these other three teams: the Bulls, Nets and … Knicks. Kidd said he would enjoy helping groom Jeremy Lin, which even means coming off the bench. ”That would be a lot of fun to help a player like that,” he said. “Just share the things that helped me be successful in this league.”
- Kidd’s main preference would be to team up with Deron Williams, anywhere: ”My days of playing 38 minutes are over,” said Kidd, 39, adding that he’d be okay with being a backup for the first time in his career. “We (Williams and I) could play off each other and hopefully be successful.”
For Thunder struggles in Game 3, click here.
For Guillermo’s interviews during NBA Media Day, click here.