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Andrei Kirilenko: Nets strategy was to "annoy" LeBron James ... and it worked

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Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Andy Vasquez of the Record writes Sunday on how the Nets strategy vs. the Heat --and LeBron James-- was simple ... and that it "clearly worked."  He spoke with Andrei Kirilenko about the plan and its success Friday night.

Kirilenko told Vasquez that the Nets’ intent on defense was to crowd James and be "annoying." Given James’ postgame comments --complaining about Kirilenko's flopping and Mirza Teletovic's flagrant, it did affect his on-court demeanor. In particular, James badly reacted to Teletovic's flagrant early in the fourth quarter, charging after Teletovic and "nearly starting a fight," said Kirilenko, who denied flopping. Teletovic may have added to James frustration by smirking at James as teammates held him back.

"I think he escalated the conflict rather than just let it go," Kirilenko said. "I was a little bit surprised because it wasn’t a situation to get into a fight, Mirza just tried to slow him down and understand that something is going wrong so he let him go right away. [LeBron] just overreacted a little bit."

The best evidence that the strategy worked was that for only the fourth time in his career --and first time since 2008-- James fouled out of the game, denying Miami an opportunity to win in overtime.

"I think he escalated the conflict rather than just let it go," Kirilenko said. "I was a little bit surprised because it wasn’t a situation to get into a fight, Mirza just tried to slow him down and understand that something is going wrong so he let him go right away. [LeBron] just overreacted a little bit." - See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/239795041_Nets_notes__Andrei_Kirilenko_talks_LeBron_James.html#sthash.v1vbIv6X.dpuf
Kirilenko said the Nets’ intent on defense was to crowd James and be "annoying." It clearly worked, given James’ postgame comments and his on-court demeanor. James badly reacted to a flagrant foul by Mirza Teletovic early in the fourth quarter, charging after Teletovic and nearly starting a fight." - See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/239795041_Nets_notes__Andrei_Kirilenko_talks_LeBron_James.html#sthash.v1vbIv6X.dpuf
Kirilenko said the Nets’ intent on defense was to crowd James and be "annoying." It clearly worked, given James’ postgame comments and his on-court demeanor. James badly reacted to a flagrant foul by Mirza Teletovic early in the fourth quarter, charging after Teletovic and nearly starting a fight." - See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/239795041_Nets_notes__Andrei_Kirilenko_talks_LeBron_James.html#sthash.v1vbIv6X.dpuf