LeBron James isn’t known for his trash-talking abilities. This won’t help.
Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson has never been the quiet one in the locker room or at the podium, and after Game 2’s loss to James’ Cavaliers, he continued that trend, blasting James not for his play, but for his situational barking:
The Cavaliers opened up a double-digit lead in the third quarter of that game and never looked back, eventually finishing off a 17-point victory to take a 2-0 series lead over the Pistons.
Is Johnson in LeBron’s head, though? Is he really? Is he actually psyching out the best player of his generation during a No. 1 vs. No. 8 first-round matchup? I mean, we’re talking about an all-time great who’s never lost a first-round series.
James finished Game 2 with 27 points, six rebounds and three assists. He shot 12-of-18 from the field. And it’s not like he was only making open shots and couldn’t score against a, to his credit, unwilling-to-back-down Johnson.
James took 12 shots that NBA.com ruled were contested by Detroit defenders. He made a superb eight of them.
Johnson probably isn’t in LeBron’s head, and with these sorts of comments, he runs the risk of annoying The King to the point of facilitating one of those all-time James performances come Game 3 or 4. But it’s pretty cool to see a rookie, a first-year player who had a legitimately strong initial NBA season, think like that. If Johnson hits his potential — and he has loads of it, especially on the defensive end — his trash talk wars in the future could be some of the league’s best.