NEW YORK -- John Lucas III and LeBron James have known each other since they were teenagers, when James regularly attended Cavs games Lucas’ father was coaching. But their relationship has been rocky recently.
On April 19, James and Lucas got into an on-court shoving match after James blindsided and then flattened Lucas with a pick in the backcourt. Both players were hit with technicals.
Lucas felt the play was dirty and now thinks it’s ironic. In an interview on the "Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN Radio in Chicago, Lucas implied James was a bit hypocrital for exaggerating contact on a similar play in Game 1 against the New York Knicks last week.
“I thought he threw his left shoulder into me a little bit, and then I look up and Tyson Chandler set a clean screen on him, and he took it like he just got shot and all that,” Lucas said. “I mean, you gotta get back up all that like your neck was hurt and stuff, that wasn’t cool.”
Chandler was hit with a flagrant foul for setting a blind pick and leading with his shoulder on James in the backcourt. Chandler was initially ejected for a flagrant-2 foul but the call was downgraded after a review showed James might have played up the contact. Chandler said after the game he felt he’d set a legal screen.
“I just watch the game of basketball just like everyone else watches the game of basketball,” Lucas said on the show.
“I feel like when you set a screen like that on somebody, you are taking the risk of hurting that person, you know? For him, I felt like he threw his left shoulder, and I just let him know that wasn’t gonna fly with me. I’m gonna pick up full court again, and it’s going to take way more than that to knock me down, and you just get right back up. That’s the whole point of playing basketball. That’s the whole point of being a competitor, and you’re going out there and competing.”
Lucas and the the Heat have had an interesting season against each other. James had one of the highlight plays of the year in January when he jumped over the 5-foot-11 Chicago Bulls guard to throw down an alley-oop dunk.
"It was a hell of a play, but everybody gets dunked on,” Lucas said at the time. “I'm 5-foot-11. What they want me to do -- jump with him? That's crazy talk."
The next times the teams met, on March 15, Lucas scored 24 points off the bench to lead the Bulls to a win.