Posted June 19, 2012

Serge Ibaka, LeBron James in war of words before Game 4

NBA
LeBron James and Serge Ibaka

LeBron James and Serge Ibaka are in “jawing” mode in advance of Game 4 (Don Emmert, Getty Images)

Game 4 of the NBA Finals tips off in a matter of hours, but for some players the battle has carried on through the day-long break from game action.

In an interview with the Palm Beach Post yesterday, Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka said Miami Heat forward LeBron James isn’t as good defensively as his decorations may indicate.

“LeBron is not a good defender,” Ibaka said about the player who received the most votes for the league’s all-defensive team, which is selected by the coaches.

“He can play defense for two to three minutes but not 48 minutes.”

“LeBron can’t play (Durant) one-on-one,” Ibaka said. “They’re playing good defense like a team.”

Speaking with ESPN today, James didn’t mince words with his response to Ibaka’s comments.

“I don’t really care what he says, he’s stupid,” James said. “Everyone says something to me every series, then (the media) tries to get a quote. It’s stupid.”

“First of all, I’m not playing 48 minutes, and Kevin’s not playing 48 minutes. I’m not guarding him for 48 minutes. When I’m on him, I’m just trying to make it tough for him to make shots, which he’s going to make.”

Game 4 tips off tonight at 9 p.m. ET in Miami. The Heat currently lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.