The Brooklyn Nets defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 109-98 on Thursday night.
Because both Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis were out with injuries, what many initially felt like could have been an NBA Finals preview quickly turned into just another game.
One minor side plot that got a bit of radio player prior to tip off was the fact that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving would be squaring off.
Prior to the start of the season, Irving kind of insulted James while complimenting his new teammate, Kevin Durant. James subsequently admitted that he took offense to Irving’s comments, and then doled out a similar shot at Irving.
Then, before this game, James suggested that Brooklyn was being a bit overhyped at the moment.
As a result, many wondered how James and Irving would ultimately interact on Thursday night.
The answer proved to be interesting.
Prior to tipoff, the pair didn’t seemed to engage in any pleasantries.
Something or Nothing? No hug/daps between LeBron and Kyrie pregame 👀
Tune in to Lakers-Nets on 710 AM ESPN pic.twitter.com/Evt2ea5mA5
— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) February 19, 2021
Later on in the game, after James missed a free throw, Irving openly mocked him – though obviously that could be interpreted in several different ways.
“That’s your best free throw shooter?”
Kyrie after LeBron missed the free throw pic.twitter.com/94JyybHuZd
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 19, 2021
That said, after the game, nothing in what the two players said about each other or the future seemed to suggest any sort of rift or drama.
Based on the evidence at hand, it’s probably safe to describe the James-Irving relationship as such: there is no lingering beef, but there probably isn’t a ton of love there either.
Jeanie Buss shoots her shot with the GOAT.https://t.co/Nmu4oJAf7w
— Game 7 (@game7__) February 17, 2021
If these two teams do end up meeting in the NBA Finals, a clearer picture regarding how James and Irving truly feel about each other will likely emerge.
Of course, both teams need to do some work to get there.
The Nets and Lakers are two of four teams in serious contention for Andre Drummond of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whichever group ultimately gets him immediately catapults over a lot of other squads to become an instant NBA Finals favorite. The other will come away with a much less impressive consolation prize.
One way or another, James and Irving will meet again. And when that happens, all eyes will be on how they operate around each other.
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