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Green had pointed to the perception that the Lakers were using the controversial strategy of flopping in their defense of the Warriors. The comments by Green indicated that James was not being truthful in his defense of the criticism after Game 5 on Wednesday night.
Earlier in the week, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr had offered similar remarks, and it’s clear that James was well aware of all the comments being directed at him as well as the team.
Perkins, who now serves as an NBA analyst for ESPN, no doubt made the decision to send the social media post to offer a subtle show of support. Having played both with and against James, Perkins knew that such insults in the past have been used by James as motivation on the court.
The end result of Green’s comments proved to once again be a mistake, with James playing a major role in Friday’s clinching victory. In the game, James came close to a triple-double with 30 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
That resounding answer to criticism isn’t the first time this postseason that James has delivered. An earlier instance came during the Lakers’ playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies.
In that clash, James faced off against the Grizzlies’ Dillon Brooks, with James offering respectful comments leading up to the start of the series.
However, Brooks took the opposite approach by taunting James and referring to him as “old” after the Grizzlies won Game 2 of the series. Then in Game 3, Brooks delivered a low blow to James and was assessed a flagrant 2 foul.
Ultimately, James got the last laugh, including a 40-point blowout of the Grizzlies in the clinching contest. Then, just days later, the Grizzlies indicated that they’d be making no effort to re-sign Brooks, with his actions toward James being seen as the final straw of that troubled labor-management relationship.
Now, with the Lakers set to face the Denver Nuggets, it would make good sense for the Nuggets to simply focus on winning games. The reason is that getting under James’ skin could be dangerous to their championship hopes.