Raptors: LeBron’s behaviour disrespectful, but Toronto also playing “too soft”

Powell: LeBron's behaviour disrespectful

TORONTO — Dunking off the backboard. Drinking a beer. Nonchalantly spinning the ball in Serge Ibaka’s face.

LeBron James’s apparent lack of respect for Toronto has added some drama to the Eastern Conference semifinals — at the Raptors’ expense.

“We can’t allow that type of freedom, that type of comfort with him or any other player, to be able to spin the ball like that,” Raptors guard Norm Powell said Friday morning after shootaround. “It’s disrespectful. But it shows us that we’re playing too soft. We need to come out with a mentality and a physicality and a force on both ends that says, ‘You’re not gonna get anything easy.’

“It shouldn’t have happened. It stops tonight.”

Cleveland won the first two games of the best-of-seven series at home. Game 3 is set for Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

Two nights earlier, James shot a three-pointer over Toronto shot-blocker Ibaka, but not before pausing to spin the ball twice in his hands, as if he was lining up to shoot a free throw.

Video of the play blew up on social media.

It was a similar story in Game 1, with James instructing point guard Kyrie Irving to toss the ball off the backboard for an alley-oop dunk you’d normally only see in an all-star game. He also snatched a beer from a sideline hostess and pretended to take a swig.

James’s hijinks were the topic of an ESPN basketball panel, which compiled a montage of similar LeBron incidents, including a game this season in New York where the Cavs star appeared so bored he was playing the “water-bottle challenge” while on the bench.  

Raptors coach Dwane Casey said his players should use James’s behaviour as motivation.

“That play, throwing it off (the glass), having a beer on the sideline … all of those things should get you upset to compete, not to compete but to make it a physical contest,” Casey said.

Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry was “pretty upset” with James’s ball-spinning.

“Not that he did it. He should spin the ball, he’s comfortable, we can’t let him be comfortable, we have to make him uncomfortable,” Lowry said. “He’s in a situation right now where he’s playing very comfortably and the things he’s doing are comfortable. If I was comfortable I would do the same thing.”

How can the Raptors’ extinguish James’s behaviour? 

“Play harder,” Lowry said.

James, who scored 74 points combined in Games 1 and 2, was asked about the Ibaka play after Friday’s shootaround.

“I was just basically in my zone, in my comfort zone and after I spun the ball and I jabbed him, I (saw) what I needed to see from the defender to be able to get that shot off,” James said. “If I didn’t see it, I would have drove it and if I didn’t have the drive, I would have (given) it up and let one of my teammates attack.”

 

 

Lori Ewing , The Canadian Press

Just Posted

VIDEO: Researchers rely on drones to survey aftermath of B.C. wildfires

UBC researchers are using aerial drones to study the historic 2017 wildfires in the province

Friends of the late Michael Brown hope for answers in arson case

Friends of the late Michael Brown are missing a man they knew… Continue reading

New hospital recruits more junior volunteers

Ten students from GidGalang Kuuyas Naay are volunteering at the Haida Gwaii Hospital/Ngaaysdll Naay.

School counsellors share tips for a kinder, low-stress holiday season

Walk the beach, enjoy a hot bath, play games with family or… Continue reading

Site C dam goes ahead, cost estimate now up to $10.7 billion

Premier John Horgan says Christy Clark left him no other choice

VIDEO: Average Canadian food bill to rise by $348 in 2018

Atlantic Canada and B.C. will see the most increases for consumers

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Most Read