NBA finals Game 4 shootaround notes: Everyone talking Ibaka, LeBron’s defense

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Serge Ibaka made headlines — and sounded pretty foolish — when he said Monday that LeBron James is not a good defender and couldn’t cover Kevin Durant one-on-one. Because so many people can.

So LeBron, what do you think of that?

“I don’t really care what he says, he’s stupid,” James said, then saying every series somebody says something about him and the media tries to blow it up. “It’s stupid.”

LeBron later tried to backtrack saying it wasn’t personal against Ibaka. Personally, I like that there’s a little fire between these teams right now. It will make for a better Game 4 Tuesday night in Miami.

Kevin Durant was much more tactful.

“(Ibaka was) just taking up for me and taking up for our whole team,” Durant said. “LeBron is a good defender. I’ll tell him that. He’s a good defender.

“But it’s not about him, it’s about us, what we can do. We can’t come into the game worried about how he’s going to guard me, how he’s going to guard Russ, how he’s going to guard James. We can’t worry about that. We just have to play our games and that’s basically what Serge was saying.”

As for the game itself, Thunder Coach Scott Brooks said the Thunder have to play at a faster pace than Game 3. There were just 90 possessions in Game 3 (although there were just 89 in the Thunder’s game 1 win, they were just more efficient). Brooks said he thought if the tempo picked up he expected that would help James Harden.

LeBron also said he expected a desperate Thunder team that knows it can’t go down 3-1. He said the Heat had to play with the same level of desperation and treat this as a must-win game.

I will say after seeing them in person, the Heat look relaxed. They look comfortable on the stage and at home. Durant and team are going to have to work hard to knock them out of that zone.