Stanley Johnson is a promising rookie who has played well in the Pistons' first-round series against the Cavaliers. Detroit has lost both games, but that's to be expected given the nature of No. 1 vs. No. 8 matchups, and Detroit did very nearly beat Cleveland in Game 1 before a Game 2 blowout.
After the game, though, Johnson spouted off some choice words for LeBron James, whom he has guarded throughout this series. First, he referenced a bump between the two players that happened after a timeout was called, calling it a "cheap-ass shot."
Johnson kept going, ridiculing the trash talking that the Cleveland bench does and the way James apparently eggs it on. Here's what he told Nick Friedell:
"He jabbers," Johnson said after Game 2. "He moves his mouth sometimes. Their whole team does, kind of like their little cheerleaders on the bench. Every time you walk in the right corner. They're always saying something like they're playing basketball, like they're actually in the game. There's only seven or eight players who play, I don't see why the other players are talking. They might as well just be in the stands, in my opinion."
Using really strange logic, Johnson kept talking.
Stanley Johnson on LeBron: "I wish he would just talk when [the game] is 0-0, not when he's up 16."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) April 21, 2016
#Pistons Stanley Johnson on LeBron: "I'm definitely in his head, that's for sure ... I'm just trying to play basketball."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) April 21, 2016
Johnson was praised for his defense on James during Sunday's Game 1, but James still dropped 22 points on 9-of-17 shooting with 11 assists. On Wednesday, James went for 27 points on 12-of-18 shooting. If Johnson's "in his head," then he must not be shouting loudly enough to affect James' production on the court.
Johnson on LBJ: "He's going to have to strap his shoes in every night tight because I'm going to strap my shoes in every night tight."— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) April 21, 2016
Johnson was the only Pistons player to speak out that directly about James or the Cavaliers' trash talk. Marcus Morris took the high road, sort of, when asked about it.
#Pistons Marcus Morris on LeBron trash talk: "I know for a fact he wasn't talking to me...you can quote me on that."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) April 21, 2016
Again, Johnson's going to be a very good player in this league. Of course, he might also have put a target on his back for every time Cleveland plays against him, because these comments are sure to cause some unpleasant feelings when the Cavaliers hear about them. At least he's ready for it, or thinks he is.
Stanley Johnson when asked why he's not afraid of LeBron as many other young players would be in same situation:— Nick Friedell (@NickFriedell) April 21, 2016
"Why would I be?"
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Staring down LeBron: Jusuf Nurkic is huge and unafraid of James
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