LeBron James is the best basketball player in the world today. With his stature and greatness, it’s no surprise that many bring out their best game whenever they go up against him and his team.
To James, that’s exactly what happened earlier this week when the Milwaukee Bucks had a back-to-back set against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Their two leaders, Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo, were playing noticeably harder than some may remember (if you’ve followed them this season).
James seems to think the duo only bring their best against the Cavs, and according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, James thinks the Bucks’ forwards should play hard in all of their games and not only when they’re playing the Cavs.
“Yet privately, after the Bucks beat the pants off the Cavs 118-101 on Nov. 29, James was less than impressed with how Parker and Antetokounmpo clearly played at a higher level against the Cavs than they normally do. That made James wonder why Parker and Antetokounmpo don’t make that level of play their standard and become true professionals.”
James may have a bit of a point. Jabari Parker’s 2nd and 9th best scoring games of the season came against the Cavs on December 20th (30 points) and December 21st (27 points).
Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, had the greatest game of his career against the Cavs on November 29th of this season, putting up 34 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, five steals, and two blocks. While that great game came against the Cavs, Antetokounmpo also had games with 28 points, five rebounds, and five assists on December 21st as well as 25 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three blocks on December 20th, all against the Cavaliers.
Even with his critique, the King still had good words to say about the duo and said that he sees them being good in the future. He also made it clear that he’ll be ready for them and whoever is matched up against him.
“The next several years they could be really, really good. For me, I’m ready for whatever matchup. It doesn’t matter if it’s this year, or if it’s several years — I’m going to be ready for it. If I’m even fortunate enough to be in the playoffs at that point in time, so, we’ll see.”
James got fired up during the home-and-home set, leading the charge with 34 on the road as well as 29 points at home, respectively. Both games resulted in victories for Cleveland after their lopsided loss earlier this season. More importantly, he helped the Cavs improve their record to an Eastern Conference-leading 21-6.