LEBRON James manned up and apologized for engaging in a yelling exchange with teammate Tristan Thompson late in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ double-overtime win over the Indiana Pacers, 135-130, on Sunday (Monday, Manila time).
Tempers flared between James and Thompson soon after Kevin Love hit a huge triple that put the Cavs up four with 26 points left in double overtime.
James apparently expressed his frustrations on Thompson over the defense they played on Paul George, who went on to score 16 straight points at one point in the extra period with James the primary defender and Thompson forced to cover the Pacers star on the switch.
James yelled at Thompson as they headed back to the Cavs bench after the Pacers called for time. Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue tried to calm James down but got waved off, while Thompson didn’t back down in a heated exchange captured by cameras in the Cavs huddle.
After the win, James apologized to Thompson in the Cavs locker room and immediately owned up to his role in sparking the shouting match as he spoke to reporters.
"I have to do a better job of not showing up my teammates out on the floor. I had the right intentions in my mind, but I had the wrong intentions come out of my mouth. I take full responsibility for that as the leader of the team. So I got to be a lot better at that and be able to keep that in-house in the locker room and when we're watching film,” he said.
“I was a little bit too demonstrative at that point in the game. He worked hard for our team, he's a big-time player ... but the way it came out was - it didn't look good on TV," James added.
Thompson was quick to shrug off the incident with James, refusing to share details behind what happened aside from saying it was just a case of miscommunication.
"We're family. Little miscommunication in the huddle. Move forward. Move forward. We're family. Got each other's back always. Move forward. Not going to get into (the reasons), just miscommunication, like I said. Move forward. It is what it is. Got the win,” he said.