MIAMI – LeBron James fired back at Serge Ibaka, calling him “stupid” after the Oklahoma City forward said people were giving James too much credit in the NBA finals for his defensive play.
“I don’t really care what he says, he’s stupid,” James said at Tuesday morning’s practice. “Everyone says something to me every series, then (the media) tries to get a quote. It’s stupid.”
Ibaka, who is considered one of the top defensive players on the Thunder, told the Palm Beach Post, “LeBron is not a good defender. He can play defence for two to three minutes but not 48. LeBron can’t play (Kevin Durant) one-on-one.”
James and Ibaka were both on the NBA’s All-Defensive Team this season.
Three-time league MVP James has drawn high praise in the 2012 postseason for the way he has shut down the other teams’ top scorers like Durant and forced them to take fouls.
Miami heads into Tuesday night’s game four with a 2-1 series lead. Part of the reason is three-time scoring leader Durant has gotten into foul trouble the last two games and has been sitting for long stretches on the bench when the Thunder need him on the floor.
Congo’s Ibaka, who is in his third season, has a league leading 56 blocks in 18 playoff games this season.