The LeBron James-Kyrie Irving partnership worked out well for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James’ superstar ability combined with Irving’s clutch shooting helped the Cavs take home their first championship in franchise history. While Irving has since hooked up with the Brooklyn Nets and James joined the Los Angeles Lakers, the duo has met on the court a handful of times.
While Irving and James will be linked together in history forever, the pair didn’t have the nicest divorce in the world, especially after Irving demanded a trade and ended up with the Boston Celtics, one of Cleveland’s main rivals.
While meetings have been infrequent due to both different conferences and Irving’s injuries, the two matched up on Thursday night. Not only did Irving’s Nets come out on top in a 109-98 triumph, but Kyrie managed to chide James with a pithy little comment about his poor free-throw shooting.
When James missed a technical free throw early in the first quarter, Irving decided to get in a dig in at his old running mate, asking if LeBron was Los Angeles’ best free-throw shooter.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving took a shot at LeBron James.
Irving, who was the Robin to LeBron’s Batman during Cleveland’s title run several years ago, has had a rocky relationship with James after leaving. While pregame dap-ups have given off the appearance that those two are on good terms, some of Kyrie’s quotes paint a much less rosy picture.
Irving’s barb isn’t just needlessly harsh, however. In fact, there is some data that backs him up. James, a 73% career shooter at the line, is making 70% of his attempts this season. In his career, he’s made just 67% of his technical free throws.
Irving, who recorded 16 points, seven rebounds, and five assists in the win over the Anthony Davis-less Lakers, was right to question Frank Vogel’s decision, especially since James was unable to overcome Irving and the Nets new-look, small-ball lineup without Davis.
This was clearly just two elite players ripping each other on the court in a somewhat playful manner when you consider James and Irving’s on-court personalities are rarely, if ever, so vitriolic. Still, Irving managing to needle his old teammate should bring a smile to the faces of most Nets fans that stayed up late on Thursday.