LeBron James did not like what he saw from New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis on Tuesday night and let him know both on and off the court.
Portis swiped at the head of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope while he was in the air, sending the Los Angeles Lakers guard tumbling to the floor in the second quarter. James was one of the first teammates to get in Portis’ face following the contact, which was called a flagrant foul 2 and resulted in an ejection.
LeBron James: No Play on the Ball From Portis
James voiced his displeasure with the play while talking to reporters in the locker room.
“It was [dirty],” James said. “There was no play on the ball [by Portis]. I saw the windup happen before the actual impact. I saw the way he was chasing KCP down. And then the windup. I saw that play happening before it actually happened. So, I just voiced my words to what happened and then the refs came in between us. But I knew it definitely wasn’t a basketball play.”
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel echoed his star’s sentiments.
“Obviously we didn’t like that foul [by Portis] but we knew that the Knicks, one thing we stated about the Knicks, is they were a physical team,” Vogel said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “We knew it was going to be a physical type of game. That’s all we talked about for the last two days, and we handled it and prevailed.”
Portis hit the showers early, but defended himself after the game.
“It wasn’t intentional at all,” Portis he told reporters. “I went for the ball. My intent was never to hurt anybody or anything like that. Just trying to make a play on the ball. Missed the ball and hit him in the head. My apologies to Caldwell-Pope. Happy to see him go out and do his thing, come back into the game and impact the game.”
Lakers ‘Hoping for the Best’ for Anthony Davis After Fall
While Caldwell-Pope reentered the game following the incident with Portis, the Lakers had another injury scare to deal with involving superstar Anthony Davis.
With the Lakers up big in the third quarter, Davis went up for a block but lost his balance, coming down directly on his back.
Davis was diagnosed with a bruised sacrum —the bottom part of his spine above the tailbone. He was expected to get more test done on Tuesday night.
“Fingers crossed, hope for the best, pray for the best,” Vogel told reporters.
“He’s one of our pillars,” Vogel added. “He’s our present. He’s our future. He’s one of the best players in the world, so obviously he means a lot.”
James was also not at 100% in the victory, dealing with an illness. However, he still managed a game-high 31 points, adding five rebounds and five assists.
“We’re hoping he’ll be fine, and we believe he’ll be fine,” James told reporters. “Tough night for us.”