In the second quarter of Wednesday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors, Jordan Poole made a 3-pointer that put the Warriors up by 12 points and forced Frank Vogel to call a timeout.
As the both teams were headed to their benches, Juan Toscano-Anderson bumped LeBron James on the shoulder and told him something. A few minutes before that, he went right at James in transition and scored.
In Toscano-Anderson’s mind, there was clearly something brewing between him and James in the first half, but James didn’t seem to be aware of it until he said something. Following that interaction, James was clearly more energized, and that energy became infectious for his teammates in the second half of their comeback win.
After the game, Anthony Davis said he didn’t even realize that Toscano-Anderson and James went back-and-forth, but he wasn’t surprised that it got James riled up because, earlier in the game, Poole got Davis going too.
“You never want to poke the bear,” Davis said. “And it’s funny, I told Jordan Poole that too. We both got the double techs, I came down and hit the mid-range and said ‘you woke me up.’ It’s playoff basketball. That’s what’s going to happen.
“We’re confident enough in our games, especially when we’re struggling, that you never want to poke the bear. That’s playoff basketball. We love it,” Davis said, repeating that last sentence for emphasis. “It’s fun to trash talk, it kind of gets us going.”
It wasn’t just the players that were talking, though, as Davis would find out on his Instagram.
https://t.co/1TJhcyACOA pic.twitter.com/9giucfF4Wz— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) May 20, 2021
So, the moral of the story is: if you’re a player, coach or a front office executive for the Phoenix Suns — or even just a fan of the team — don’t poke the bear.
Or do. I’m sure Lakers fans wouldn’t mind a shorter series.
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow this author on Twitter at @RadRivas.