LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers faced Dillon Brooks and the Houston Rockets in the NBA after the latter made comments about James during last season’s play-offs
LeBron James and Dillon Brooks faced each other for the first time since the latter made comments about the Los Angeles Lakers star during last season’s NBA play-offs – and even endured an uncomfortable face-off.
James could not prevent the Lakers from losing to Brooks and the Houston Rockets. The Lakers lost 128-94 at the Toyota Center to fall to 3-5 for the 2023/24 NBA season.
The 38-year-old scored 18 points from 27 minutes on the court, with Lakers head coach Darvin Ham leaving James on the bench for the fourth quarter. The Lakers were losing 99-71 at the end of the third quarter. Brooks scored five points with four rebounds and one assist and was often tasked with defending against James when out of possession.
During a break in play, Brooks and James could be seen standing right in front of each other with neither showing too much emotion. James, however, was unphased by going up against the NBA’s pantomime villain, and stared right back at him. The duo have a history that stretches back to last season’s NBA play-offs.
James and the Lakers went up against the Memphis Grizzlies, whom Brooks played for prior to signing for Houston, in the first round back in April. The Lakers won the series 4-2 to move to the Western Conference semi-final. After Game 2, which the Grizzlies won, Brooks made remarks about James where he made reference to the 19-time All-Star’s age.
“I don’t care. He’s old,” Brooks told reporters on April 19, via ESPN, referring to James. “He wanted to say something after I got my fourth foul, he should have been saying that earlier on. I poke bears. I don’t respect anyone until they come and give me 40.”
Prior to the game on Wednesday, James was asked about the prospect of facing Brooks again. The Lakers star said that he wasn’t thinking about the history that he has with Brooks and that he was more focused on getting the win.
“I think just the competition alone,” said James on Wednesday, via ESPN. “It’s always great to go out and compete, so he’s one of those guys who likes to compete along with a lot of other guys in our league.
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“But I don’t really dwell in the past too much. Over the years, I kind of leave that in the past and find a way to [think about]: ‘How can we get our first road win?’ That’s what my mindset is, for sure.”
Speaking after the game, Ham said of the Rockets: ““They’re going to be a handful to deal with this year. If they keep up at this rate, they’ll be a handful not just for us, but the other 28 teams besides us.”