No one looks forward to a Cavs and Knicks matchup but last night, we did. After the Cavs beat Dallas on Saturday, LeBron had some glowing remarks about their rookie Dennis Smith Jr. , basically saying the Knicks should have drafted him instead of letting him fall to the Mavericks. Well, this comment didn’t go over well with the Knicks, especially Enes Kanter, who felt this was a shot at their rookie Frank Ntilikina. LeBron then clarified that his comments were not a shot at Ntilikina but at Phil Jackson for the way he handled the team (and in defense of his bestie Carmelo). He then took a shot at Kanter for ‘always having something to say’ (per ESPN). All of this pre-game aggression had us fans amped for this game.
The Knicks gained a 23 point lead by halftime, though they eventually lost the game by three after LeBron and Kyle Korver stepped up for the Cavs. But the thing that everyone is talking about is the fight that almost occurred between Kanter and LeBron, in addition to their post-game comments directed at one another. Kanter got all up in LeBron’s grill to defend his rookie Ntilikina after LeBron seemed to have picked on him. I say this because after the basket he made, LeBron basically tried to stare down the kid and square up, even though we know he’s not about that life. The rookie responded with a few shoves, basically because he was not in the mood to play the intimidation game. It appeared as though LeBron was ready to teach the rookie how to respect his elders, but when Kanter stepped up he was more than ready for someone to come to his rescue. Then, like a kid trying to justify his actions in a lunchroom squabble, LeBron tries to plead his case to the referees. I can only imagine what he said: ‘they started it, I didn’t do anything! You saw me right?’ Either way, the Cavs got the last laugh; the Knicks weren’t able to play for a solid 48 minutes.
Snide comments, childish Instagram posts (like Arthur’s fist with the caption ‘Mood’) and antics like convincing the team to take the subway to the game (then posting it on social media) is the reason why Kyrie left. Everyone wants to be mad at him for leaving Cleveland but I honestly don’t blame him because like Skip Bayless said, LeBron is a drama queen (I guess Kanter’s post game comments were on point). Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a big kid, but there is something wrong with being petty and that’s exactly what LeBron is. What he fails to realize is that his shot at Phil Jackson was also a shot at Ntilikina; although indirect, it was still a shot. At 7-7, no one on that team should be saying anything at all until they can get their act together. But what most us fail to realize is that LeBron is being ‘extra’ in order to distract from the fact that his team is not performing the way everyone expected them to (and the fact that they don’t play defense).