LeBron James called Serge Ibaka "stupid" Tuesday after the Thunder forward said the league MVP is not a good defensive player.
"I don’t really care what he says. He’s stupid," said James, who has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team the past four seasons.
Heading into Game 4 of the NBA Finals in Miami trailing 2-1, Ibaka told the Palm Beach Post he did not believe James could stop Thunder star Kevin Durant.
"LeBron is not a good defender. He can play defense for two to three minutes but not 48 minutes. LeBron can’t play (Durant) one-on-one. They’re playing good defense like a team," said Ibaka, whose teammates struggled offensively in a 91-85 loss Sunday night.
James, however, insisted the criticism from Ibaka does not bother him and said he would not be drawn into a war of words.
"I don’t really care about what he says. For me as a defender, I just try to make plays," James said.
"When I’m on [Durant], I’m just trying to make it tough on him to make shots which he’s going to make. I’m not sitting here saying I’m a Durant stopper. There’s no such thing. I’ve got to rely on my defense behind me to communicate with me.
"Everyone says something to me every series. You guys keep trying to get a quote from me."
Durant downplayed the matter, stressing Ibaka was just standing up for him.
"He believes in me and he believes in what we do here. He’s just sticking up for me and sticking up for the whole team," Durant said. "LeBron’s a good defender. That’s all that matters. But it’s not about him. It’s about us and what we can do."