The technical issued to Udoka was his second of the game, leading to an automatic ejection.
A new angle of the exchange has since emerged, and it should give fans a better idea of what James and Udoka were discussing before the latter was ejected.
This angle of the LeBron-Udoka exchange 👀 (via unitedlife4ever/TT) pic.twitter.com/w0edFgn8Tb
— Overtime (@overtime) December 3, 2023
“We all grown men,” James seemingly said. “That b—- word ain’t cool, don’t use it so loosely. Don’t use that word so loosely. Nah, don’t use it so loosely, though. Don’t use it so loosely.”
After the game, James joked that he and Udoka were simply talking about Thanksgiving, but that’s clearly not what unfolded.
Udoka had to leave the game for the final 8:35 of the fourth quarter, a stretch in which the trailing Rockets weren’t able to close the gap on the Lakers. Los Angeles came away with a 107-97 win.
For his part, Udoka said after the game that the refs didn’t like what they heard during the coach’s exchange with James.
Full responses from Ime Udoka and LeBron James when asked what was said that led to a double tech and Ime getting ejected:
Udoka: "We had some conversation, and they don't like what they heard, the refs."
LeBron: "Thanksgiving. How much we enjoyed Thanksgiving."
— Michael Corvo (@michaelcorvoNBA) December 3, 2023
The Lakers and Rockets still have one head-to-head game remaining in the regular season, giving James and Udoka another chance to exchange words if they so desire. That matchup is set for Jan. 29 in Houston.
There’s also an outside chance of the two teams meeting in the postseason if both squads can remain in contention. The Lakers are widely expected to reach the postseason, but it remains to be seen if the Rockets can hold up their end of the bargain, as they’re 8-9 on the season and currently hold the last play-in spot in the Western Conference.
Udoka is in his first season with Houston after his dismissal from the Boston Celtics. He didn’t coach a game in the NBA last season. The Rockets have shown some positive signs of growth in his first season with them, but they certainly have plenty of work to do in order to become true threats in the NBA again.
As for the Lakers, they’re 12-9 on the season and will be back in action on Tuesday for an In-Season Tournament game against the Phoenix Suns.