The Cleveland Cavaliers aren’t used to this kind of struggle, and the frustrations are mounting in a very visible way. Everyone expected the Cavs to easily win the Eastern Conference, but with just six games to go in the regular season, they sit a half game behind the Boston Celtics for the top spot and the wins aren’t coming as easily as they hoped.
On Sunday night, the Indiana Pacers pushed Cleveland into double overtime before eventually falling 135-130. However, it was an altercation between LeBron James and teammate Tristan Thompson with about 26 seconds left in the game that had people talking Monday morning. Apparently James wasn’t pleased with Thompson’s defense on a play that saw Pacers guard Paul George nail a big three pointer, and he let the young Canadian know about it in a very public spat. For his part, Thompson yapped right back at LeBron.
You can kind of see it in this clip:
After the game, James took responsibility for the spat.
“I gotta do a better job of not showing up my teammates out on the floor,” James said, according to FOX Sports Ohio. “I had the right intentions in my mind but I had the wrong intentions came out of my mouth, so I take full responsibility for that as the leader of the team. I gotta be a lot better with that and keep that in house, in the locker room.”
Cleveland head coach Tyron Lue tried to brush off the incident after the game, chalking it up to passion for defense.
“That shows you that we care about our defense,” Lue said after the game. “You like to see that passion. A lot of times, take it out on the other team, though. They both were mad and frustrated, which you want to see. We wanted to win that game. It was a big play. Some miscommunication right there. But they got over it.”
Thompson also called it a “miscommunication” after the game, and insisted that the team was ready to move forward as they get ready to defend their NBA championship in the playoffs.