Reggie Evans made a strategic error on Wednesday afternoon when he said the Heat game was like any other game and that LeBron James was like any other player. Worse, he denigrated the Heat's championship last season by claiming it wasn't legitimate because of the lockout-shortened season.
The first he probably could have gotten away with. A lot of players will prepare for a game by noting it's just another game and that everyone is human, put their pants on the same way as everyone else, etc. etc..
But the second was a no-no. It got under the Heat skin, and particularly that of LeBron James who only two days before had had an emotional visit to the White House to celebrate the Heat's championship season..
"You can't just come out and say something like that versus a champion," James said after the game. "No one knows what it takes unless you've done it. You can't sit here and judge and talk about a team winning a championship unless you've done it. (Evans) hasn't done it.
“I’m not going to sit here and give Reggie Evans a lot of press because that’s what’s going to happen," he continued. "I’m going to give him a lot of press and people going to talk about Reggie Evans for the next couple of days when he probably wouldn’t be talked about.”
Then, to rub it in, he read off Evans' line on the stat sheet. "Let me look at his numbers real quick -- he had no offensive rebounds, so we did our number on him," James said. Then, there was the matter of points. Evans didn't score. James had 24. Evans didn't comment. He had escaped the Nets locker room before reporters arrived but later tweeted about the controversy. Some samples...
--"People going to sprain their fingers talking crazy on my timeline.
--"These people on my timeline funny A$$$$$$$$$ hell Lmbo!!!!!!!!! Keep it up I love it." -
-"Are y'all done yet? They are only words, I can't feel them, so u can't hurt me. Lol."
Over in the Nets locker room, it was just as ugly. Gerald Wallace went off on his teammates.
"They're the defending champions, but I don't think they're much better than us," Wallace said. "I don't think they're 20 points better than us. I'm not saying they can't beat us, but they're not 20 points better ... they've embarrassed us three times. What does that say for us as a team trying to be a championship team?"
Then, he really got angry. "Typical Nets basketball," Wallace said of the third. "We don't play together. Careless turnovers. We don't execute offensively. And defensively, we don't do anything. We don't defend. We don't guard the ball. We don't help each other out. It's the same story as it's been all season."
And it got worse as he described three of the Nets last four games. "Those are games that we didn't actually lose ... we got our asses kicked in all three of those games." As for his teammate's criticism of the Heat's championship, etc., Wallace said simply, "no comment."
With the boss in town, those are the kind of comments that set fingers pounding keyboards and prompt speculation run wild.
- LeBron James rips Reggie Evans - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Gerald Wallace vents after loss - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Liberated LeBron owns Nets, NBA - Ian O'Connor - ESPN
- Evans’ slight motivates James, Heat - Fred Kerber - New York Post
- Gerald Wallace sick of getting embarrassed by Miami Heat, goes off on Brooklyn Net teammates - Stefan Bondy - NY Daily News