Jimmy Butler put up a huge game in his Miami Heat’s 115-104 Game 3 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals on Sunday night. Butler scored 40 points with 11 rebounds and 13 assists while leading his team to victory.
Butler was seen late in the fourth quarter saying “you’re in trouble” to the Lakers and LeBron James.
Butler was asked after the game about that comment and wanted to make it clear that James started it by saying that to him in the first quarter.
“We’re not going to act like I’m just out there talking trash, because I’m not. ‘Bron said it to me at the end of the first. That’s what happened. I just said it to him in the fourth quarter,” Butler clarified.
If James is going to start with Butler, then Jimmy is going to finish it. At least he did in Game 3.
Game 4 of the series will be on Tuesday. Butler wasn’t asked about the Lakers’ weak move walking off the court early in the loss.
LeBron James and some of his Los Angeles Lakers teammates could not be bothered to stay until the end of their loss on Sunday night to the Miami Heat.
The Lakers got beat by Miami 115-104 in Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Heat were dribbling out the clock to end the game. With just under 10 seconds left, James just walked off the floor and made his way towards the tunnel. Some other Lakers players who were on the floor at the time followed his lead.
The shot clock expired with 0.7 seconds left and the Lakers needed to put three substitutes into the game because James, Rajon Rondo and Kyle Kuzma had already left the court.
James was asked after the game if he walked off the court because he was frustrated or thought the game was over and said “both.”
That was an unsportsmanlike move from the Lakers. True sportsmen stay until the end and give the respect to their opponent of acknowledging defeat.
Of course they are upset about losing, but that’s part of the game. If you don’t want to lose because it’s painful, then play better next time.
This sort of behavior actually is not new for some of the players on the Lakers.
A government watchdog group recently sought to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a series of billboard criticizing LeBron James and his stance on China, but the idea was nixed by an advertising company.
Virginia-based conservative group National Legal and Policy Center designed a billboard that shows LeBron with a Chinese flag covering his mouth and the message, “Silence is Violence.” The billboard also pointed people to a website called Freedom4China.com. According to an email reviewed by Isabel Vincent of the New York Post, Outfront Media blocked the ad out of fear of upsetting James.
“We cannot accept the ad as it is right now,” a representative for Outfront wrote in the email. “The Chinese flag is Ok, and the silence is violence is ok.”
You can see the design of the billboard below:
The rep said the billboards would be cleared if LeBron’s image were removed, but NLPC chairman Peter Flaherty said that is not an option.
“Some messages are too important to be suppressed,” Flaherty said. “When it comes to human rights in China, silence is indeed violence. We should be able to call LeBron on his hypocrisy without this censorship.”
The NLPC came up with different versions of the ad but they were all rejected by Outfront, which eventually stopped responding to the inquiries.
LeBron has been extremely outspoken on the topic of social injustice in the United States, but his stance on China has drawn criticism. When Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey showed support last year for Hong Kong protestors who were fighting against the communist Chinese regime, LeBron said he felt Morey was not educated on the situation. James later tried to clarify his remarks and was called out by some within the NBA community.
The NBA as a whole has been accused of ignoring civil rights issues in China to protect its own financial interests. The same can be said of LeBron, who has a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike and its Chinese-manufactured products.
LeBron James has faced criticism in recent years for his lax effort on the defensive end, but Anthony Davis helped snap him out of it this season.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported on Saturday that Davis would often point out his Los Angeles Lakers co-star’s mistakes on defense in practice, something that took his teammates aback at first. Davis would also urge James to get the defensive sequence right the next time.
“There were a couple of instances when they had a little back and forth,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was quoted as saying. “‘That’s on you. Don’t try to deflect. That’s your rotation.’ And LeBron would accept it.”
Davis, who is in his first year with the Lakers, is a four-time All-Defensive selection. He is also likely the best defender that James has ever played with.
Indeed, James has often saved his energy on defense in past years, leading to some embarrassing lowlights like this. He has looked much more engaged this season though, and that is a big reason why the Lakers boast an elite defense and are now just two wins away from an NBA title.
The Los Angeles Lakers cruised to victory in Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but LeBron James knows that they still have a lot of work to do.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported on Thursday that James had to tell his Lakers teammates to tone down their sideline antics in the opening game blowout against the Miami Heat. In the second half, Anthony Davis was yelling, “It’s over” to family and friends in attendance. Dwight Howard, meanwhile, led other players in doing multiple glasses celebrations to emphasize the team’s strong court vision.
“Hey, hey! Stop it! Stay locked in!” said James to his teammates in the huddle, per Haynes. “This s— ain’t over, man.”
The four-time MVP would later reference the 2011 NBA Finals against the Dallas Mavericks in his postgame press conference. That year, James and the Miami Heat won Game 1 and were up 15 points in the fourth quarter of Game 2. Dallas erased the deficit though, won Game 2, and eventually won the series in six games.
James has had a stoic approach to this entire playoff run and knows how quickly a series can change. Thus, he is not taking the Heat for granted despite the fact that the Lakers look very much in control right now.
Kyrie Irving is probably the furthest player from LeBron James’ mind as the Los Angeles Lakers prepare for Game 2 of the NBA Finals, but Irving may have provided his former teammate with some bulletin board material.
During his appearance on “The Etcs with Kevin Durant” podcast this week, Irving was asked whether he or Durant will be taking the final shot during games with the Brooklyn Nets next season. In the process of praising Durant and saying either player is worthy of taking the final shot, Irving said he always felt like he was the “best option” for that role on his previous teams. Beware that the clip contains some inappropriate language.
“One thing I’ve always been comfortable with is I felt like I was the best option on every team I played for down the stretch,” Irving said. “This is the first time in my career where I can look down and be like, ‘That motherf—er can make that shot, too.'”
Irving and LeBron played together with the Cleveland Cavaliers, of course. Irving hit the biggest shot of the 2016 NBA Finals when the Cavs defeated the Golden State Warriors, so perhaps that validated his belief that he should be the guy taking the final shot over LeBron.
LeBron is certainly capable of taking the last shot and has many times, but he also deliberately creates opportunities for his teammates in those situations. That’s the main reason stats show Irving was a much better shooter in the postseason with LeBron commanding all kinds of attention.
Either way, it would not exactly be a shock if Irving was intentionally taking a swipe at LeBron. It’s no secret that the two did not get along, though they seemed to patch things up at one point. Irving’s comments were undoubtedly more about building up Durant than taking LeBron down.
Erik Spoelstra has put to rest any doubts about his status among the NBA’s coaching elite by leading the Miami Heat to another NBA Finals appearance. One of Spoelstra’s former players thinks it is about time that the coach got his due.
On Tuesday before the start of the NBA Finals, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said that the media was responsible for the Heat coach not getting enough respect.
“The players and coaches know how great Spo is,” said James, per Lakers Nation. “There’s a narrative [that] Spo is not great.”
Spoelstra was James’ head coach for his four seasons in Miami from 2010 to 2014. It was a fruitful partnership netting four NBA Finals appearances and two championships. But Spoelstra rarely received credit, as many claimed his success was owed entirely to having the likes of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh on the roster.
The reality though is that Spoelstra had led the Heat to the playoffs multiple times before James even arrived. He has also now done so multiple times since James’ departure, including this year’s surprise run to the Finals.
Still, Spoelstra has never won Coach of the Year, which is voted on by the media. He and James were also the subject of media-driven controversies during their time together. Regardless, James understands the greatness of Spoelstra and the challenge that facing him in this year’s Finals will pose.
Jimmy Butler is the star player on a Miami Heat team set to face LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Facing a team with LeBron on it is not easy, and Butler knows that.
The Heat forward was asked after clinching the Eastern Conference what he thought about taking on James.
“It’s been like this for a very long time: If you want to win, you’ll have to go through a LeBron James-led team. That’s what it normally comes down to … you’re going to get the same test over and over until you pass it. And that test is LeBron James,” Butler said.
Butler is the kind of player who is fearless and not one to be intimidated. He has been working hard to get a test like this. The problem is you don’t have to just face James; you have to face Anthony Davis, who’s been great, and Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and more.
Taking down the Lakers won’t be an easy task for Miami. But if there is anything the Heat have shown us, it’s that they should not be underestimated.
LeBron James has a warning for whoever he ends up facing in the NBA Finals.
James posted a picture of him sitting on the court after the Lakers finished off the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. He added a few messages in the caption that make it perfectly clear where his mind is at.
Just in case it wasn’t clear, LeBron’s mind is on winning the NBA Finals, not just getting there. It hardly matters to him that he doesn’t yet know who he’ll be facing.
James had a lot on his mind Saturday night, which is part of why he took a back seat during the celebration. He’s well aware that reaching the Finals, while a solid accomplishment, is only one step on the way to the real goal.
The Los Angeles Lakers secured their spot in the NBA Finals with a win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night, but LeBron James made it clear after the game that his mission is far from accomplished.
While the confetti was flying and people were celebrating on the court, LeBron sat on the floor looking stone-faced.
Most people assumed that was LeBron’s way of showing that he is not satisfied with merely winning the Western Conference Finals. That’s definitely true, but he said he had a lot more than that on his mind.
James, who scored 22 points in the second half and had a triple-double, said he was thinking about the respect he has for the Nuggets and coach Mike Malone. He was also reflecting on his journey and how some of his teammates — particularly Anthony Davis — are heading to their first NBA Finals.
Here’s LeBron’s full explanation:
The comments James made about winning the West on Saturday night said it all. He has now become just the fourth player in NBA history to reach the Finals 10 times, but that is not enough. Anything less than a championship would be a disappointment, especially at this stage of his career.
Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.