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NBA finals Game 4 shootaround notes: Everyone talking Ibaka, LeBron’s defense

Jun 19, 2012, 2:03 PM EDT

Miami Heat LeBron James during practice Getty Images

Serge Ibaka made headlines — and sounded pretty foolish — when he said Monday that LeBron James is not a good defender and couldn’t cover Kevin Durant one-on-one. Because so many people can.

So LeBron, what do you think of that?

“I don’t really care what he says, he’s stupid,” James said, then saying every series somebody says something about him and the media tries to blow it up. “It’s stupid.”

LeBron later tried to backtrack saying it wasn’t personal against Ibaka. Personally, I like that there’s a little fire between these teams right now. It will make for a better Game 4 Tuesday night in Miami.

Kevin Durant was much more tactful.

“(Ibaka was) just taking up for me and taking up for our whole team,” Durant said. “LeBron is 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.”

As for the game itself, Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said the Thunder have to play at a faster pace than Game 3. There were just 90 possessions in Game 3 (although there were just 89 in the Thunder’s game 1 win, they were just more efficient). Brooks said he thought if the tempo picked up he expected that would help James Harden.

LeBron also said he expected a desperate Thunder team that knows it can’t go down 3-1. He said the Heat had to play with the same level of desperation and treat this as a must-win game.

I will say after seeing them in person, the Heat look relaxed. They look comfortable on the stage and at home. Durant and team are going to have to work hard to knock them out of that zone.

  1. jeffw - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:07 PM

    Blah… Blah… Blah… it’s all just white noise at this point. The answer to all questions will be answered on the court!

  2. terraj35 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:22 PM

    You’re right jeff. Unfortunately the NBA now focuses on a few superstars, off court drama and all their metro-sexual post game outfits. Thats why it’s the National Broadway Association. BTW the Heat are going to win the finals, How do I know this? I read the script

  3. reesesteel23 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:30 PM

    Now both of them sound ignorant..Ibaka’s not stupid, just made a stupid comment. The man Does speak 5 different languages.

    • 808raiderinparadise - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:37 PM

      Apparently he must of gotten confused with another language and translated it wrong.
      = STUPID

      LeBron said exactly what most of us thought when we read Ibaka’s comments ….

      “stuuuupid, why did he do that?”

      Ibaka better be careful to not get stuffed by LeBron, cuz that’ll be the death of Ibaka in this series.

  4. rodge1 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    I’m a Heat fan and still think the series could go either way, it is great series so far nonetheless. Funny thing is that I ripped some people on a past article for predicting OKC to sweep Miami and they actually called me the hater…

  5. cantonbound13 - Jun 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Durant=class LeBron=ignorant

  6. dgbk - Jun 19, 2012 at 3:11 PM

    oooo he called him stupid now the thunder will be motivated. they will win tonight and hold lebron to 5 total pts

    ^ sarcasm

    Lebron shouldnt back track whether he slipped or not.. you called him stupid live wit

  7. wjmoffatt - Jun 19, 2012 at 4:16 PM

    1.) KD is averaging 57% in the series, so his not getting locked down
    2.) I believe his saying this because people after game 3 were portraying that Lebron shut down KD in the 4th, when it was really team defense or Bosh! He was 2-6 in the fourth; 1 miss was a 3 he got wide open off Lebron that went in and rattled out, 2nd miss was when KD drove past lebron to the rim on the right side and Bosh stepped in and made him miss everything, same thing happened with the 3rd shot exact same thing, and 4th shot i don’t really remember.
    3.) I think it was saying if his averaging so much (KD) in this series and Lebron is such a shut down defender then why does he only have 1 foul average in games when KD is going off like this, and Lebron on the other side is getting the treatment to 5 fouls a game on KD.

    • pmd5319 - Jun 19, 2012 at 7:04 PM

      Where to begin… Ok, before I start, I’m a Hornets fan, don;t care who wins, just want good basketball and hopefully 7 games. Now…
      1) I don’t believe anyone has said KD has been shut down for the series. Believe the only time anyone has said “shut down” is in reference to 1 quarter (4th of Game 3) out of 12. Again, no one is suggesting he has been shut down for 3 games.

      2) No one is shut down without help, especially when it comes to guarding a Durant, Bryant, James, etc. I’m sure you have played ball in your life, making someone work hard as hell to get open is part of playing great D. No one knows the exact reasons KD missed those shots, I think it’s fair to say that LeBron wore him down. If you have watched LeBron throughout his career, Cleveland and Miami, there is no question that he is a very good on-ball defender and a great off-ball defender. When you guard an amazing scorer like Durant, all you can do is try to make him work hard as possible to get open/get shots.

      3) The fouls go hand in hand with being a good defender. LeBron doesn’t get in foul trouble often because he is a good defender. Does he get away with more physical play sometimes, yes, so do Sefolosha, Artest, Chris Paul and anyone else who has a reputation of being a good defender. How do they get this reputation? By being good defenders over a long period of time and earning it. KD is an amazing scorer, probably the best since Jordan, but he can’t guard yet, therefore, he picks up fouls.

      Bottomline is Durant got held in check for 1 quarter. If you can’t admit that, then you are a super homer OKC fan or a local President for the LeBron Haters Club. Not a series, which no one has suggested, 1 quarter. LeBron is a top notch defender, he got Durant for one quarter, after Durant had got him in the 2 previous 4th quarters (17 & 16 pts in the quarters I think). Durant will get his again and LeBron will hold him in check again too. It’s called basketball and why fans, me atleast, enjoy watching it. Durant is great and so is LeBron, just enjoy watching the game.

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