Enes Kanter Freedom hasn’t been shy to publically speak his mind when it comes to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James. The Boston Celtics big man has made plenty of news in recent months, much of which has revolved around taking aim at the league’s biggest name.
From questioning James’ unwillingness to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine to calling out James over his partnership with Nike and what he portrays as “slave labor camps,” to donning shoes on the hardwood mocking the future Hall of Famer, Kanter hasn’t backed down from the juggernaut global icon that is James — or at least he hadn’t.
During the third quarter of the December 7 Lakers-Celtics game, James was spotted sprinting back on defense after proposition for a foul. Crossing paths with the Celtics bench, Freedom was presented with what appeared to be the ideal opportunity for him to chip at James. Instead, the former No. 3 overall pick kept his mouth zipped, avoiding any sort of interaction with James. NBA Twitter, as it typically does, caught wind of the moment, mocking Kanter for his silence.
LeBron & the Lakers Get the Best of Boston
Freedom could have simply decided that midway through the third quarter in what was a seven-point game simply wasn’t the proper time to mix things up with The King. Or, maybe Freedom just didn’t think James was worth his energy. However, considering how vocal the Celtics big has been of late, you’d be remiss to believe that Twitter was going to let Freedom off scotfree.
James ultimately got the final laugh, finishing with 30 points, five assists and four rebounds as he led his Lakers to a 117-102 victory. Freedom, on the other hand, logged just nine minutes on the night, snatching three rebounds and going scoreless.
Celtics Youngsters Turning the Corner?
While the Celtics didn’t leave Los Angeles with a win, their trip out west has proven to be exactly what they needed to awaken the likes of Payton Pritchard and Aaron Nesmith. Over the team’s past two games, the duo has combined for 45 points off the bench, pouring in 15 in the loss to the Lakers.
“It’s part of the NBA. It’s your job – you get paid to stay ready. And when your opportunity comes, you’ve gotta deliver for your team,” Pritchard said following his season-high 19-point performance on Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers. “For me, obviously this has been a new experience from last year. Some games you don’t play and then sometimes you get in there. So for me, it’s just finding that confidence to always stay ready, and that happens with my work and my daily habits.”
Pritchard’s struggles this season have been well documented. After an extremely promising rookie campaign where he shot 41.1% from beyond the arc and a viral tour this summer that included a 92-point explosion in Pro-Am play, the Oregon product has seen his usage and production each take a sizeable dip early on in 2021. However, he appears to be steadily working his way into a more concrete role in Ime Udoka’s rotation of late, logging 10-plus minutes in three consecutive games — a mark he hadn’t accomplished since the team’s fourth game of the season. Continuing to shoot 45.0% from three, as he has over the last two games, will certainly help his cause.