By Cody Westerlund–
CHICAGO (CBS) — Cavaliers star LeBron James has taken issue with the trash talk of Bulls big man Joakim Noah after they were issued double technical fouls in the third quarter of Chicago’s 99-96 win in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Friday.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: When Might Your $1,400 Economic Relief Payment Arrive?
James dunked over Noah with 8:34 left in the third quarter, then was quickly assessed a technical foul after he taunted Noah. It appeared James would be the only one to receive a technical foul, but Noah didn’t bite his lip, and his ensuing words led him to by called for a technical foul as well.
Replays appeared to indicate that after being dunked on and seeing James taunt him, Noah directed a profanity back.
At least from James’ side of the story, the issue started earlier. James was upset with words that Noah had directed his way a possession prior, he said. It’s not known what Noah said on then, but James believed it went “too far.” It also isn’t known what words James directed at Noah.
“I love his emotion,” James said of Noah. “As a competitor, I love his emotion, but I think the words that he used to me was just a little bit, a little bit too far. I’m a father with three kids. It got very disrespectful. I’m OK with competing against Jo. I love the competitive nature in him, but we should leave it there. The disrespectful words he said to me were uncalled for. The best way to retaliate is by making a play. That’s the only way I know how to resolve things.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Illinois: 1,182 New Coronavirus Cases, 5 More Deaths; Lowest One-Day Death Toll Since September
“If it were the ’90s or ’80s, then I would’ve been able to say what I had to say and move on. But I got the T. I earned it.”
Noah sidestepped around the lone question he received about his confrontation with James.
“When I got dunked on?” Noah said. “No, I didn’t enjoy it.”
Earlier Friday, Noah was fined $25,000 by the NBA for a slight push of a fan while leaving the court at halftime of Wednesday’s Game 2 in Cleveland. Noah, of course, has long held a disdain for the city of Cleveland, dating back to 2010 when he notably said, “Cleveland really sucks” and wondered if anyone has ever vacationed there.
He and James also got in a verbal confrontation in a game earlier this season at Cleveland.MORE NEWS: Park District Spring Program Sign Up Starts Monday
Cody Westerlund is a sports editor for CBSChicago.com and covers the Bulls. Follow him on Twitter @CodyWesterlund.