Best and Worst Beefs of the 2013 NBA Postseason
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There is a natural amount of drama that comes with a set of teams fighting for their postseason lives every time that they step out onto the court. What we've witnessed so far in the 2013 NBA playoffs is a whole different matter entirely.
The games themselves have been entertaining, but the number of beefs we've seen play out on the court and over both traditional and social media is absolutely astonishing. Not only have we seen players get testy with other players, but even a couple of head coaches have gotten in on the action.
Every beef is different, however, and while some deserved the attention that they received (if not more), there were others that merited little more than a mention in the nightly highlights.
Worst Beef No. 3: Roy Hibbert vs. David Lee
The Twitter exchange between Roy Hibbert and David Lee merits little more than a shrug and a nod, primarily because it's unlikely that the two will face each other again this season.
The genesis of their beef came back on February 26 when Hibbert and Lee got into a glorified shoving match in the fourth quarter of a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Golden State Warriors. No punches were thrown, but it's clear that the two share a general disdain for one another.
After Lee injured his hip at the start of the playoffs, Hibbert took to social media to offer his condolences:
I really don't like @dlee042 but I really hope he has a speedy recovery. Hate to see guys get get hurt or injured.— Roy Hibbert (@Hoya2aPacer) April 22, 2013
Lee fired back with a tweet of his own. It wasn't headline-grabbing by any means and was quickly forgotten in the excitement of the postseason:
@hoya2apacer Good to know our dislike is mutual, that being said I appreciate the tweet Roy!
— David Lee (@Dlee042) April 22, 2013
Way to keep it cordial, gentlemen.
Worst Beef No. 2: Mark Jackson vs. Denver Nuggets
Golden State head coach Mark Jackson frequently refers to his squad as an "old-school" team, but when a game gets too physical for his liking, he is the first one to lament the more intense style of play.
After Game 5 of the Warriors' first-round series against the Denver Nuggets, Jackson (who was later fined $25,000 by the NBA for his comments) claimed that guard Stephen Curry was the target of "hit men" who were trying to take out the star's injured ankle.
Several members of the Nuggets responded by saying that the Warriors were the ones who weren't playing by the rules.
"If we played dirty, they must have played unsanitary," said Denver center JaVale McGee following Game 5.
It should be noted that Jackson is the same man who instructed his Warriors to intentionally foul the Houston Rockets so that they wouldn't set a single-game record for three-pointers.
Worst Beef No. 1: Royce White vs. Kevin Durant
When you haven't played a single game in your NBA career, you really don't have much ammunition when it comes to criticizing one of the best basketball players on the planet. But that didn't stop Houston's Royce White from taking a shot at Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant after the Thunder lost Game 5 of their first-round series against the Rockets:
Durant took the high road in his response to White, starting off by asking "Who's he?" before making it clear that White was the least of his concerns: "Ain't that the guy that can't, that's afraid to fly? I wish him the best. If I see him next year, I'll let him know who we are."
White later backpedaled from his call-out:
@kdtrey5 Bro...it should've never got to your ears, I apologize. my opinion matter about as much as any fan. Just sports media hyping it up!— Royce White (@Highway_30) May 3, 2013
Best Beef Honorable Mention: Zach Randolph vs. Blake Griffin
Beefs are always better when the involved parties actually have to guard one another whenever they're on the floor. Such was the case with Blake Griffin and Zach Randolph, who spent a good portion of their first-round series trying out various wrestling holds on one another.
There were personal fouls, lots of jostling and technicals aplenty when the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies squared off, and these two guys were responsible for more than their share of the roughhousing.
Things culminated when Griffin and Randolph basically stopped playing basketball during Game 6 in Memphis, opting instead to get in a few parting shots before the series came to a close.
It's hard to score the round in the video, but it appears as though Griffin gets a point for a takedown. Randolph, though, does well to reverse the hold while maintaining leverage, never losing concentration on his opponent despite an elbow to the head.
These guys clearly aren't fans of one another.
Best Beef No. 3: J.R. Smith vs. Jason Terry
J.R. Smith and Jason Terry are two of the league's best trash-talkers in their own right, so when the two squared off against one another earlier this postseason, there were bound to be a few fireworks.
Smith's elbow to the face of Terry earned the New York Knicks' guard a one-game suspension, and while Smith was sidelined in Game 4, Terry scored 18 points to help the Boston Celtics stave off elimination.
When asked about the performance of his nemesis in Game 4, Smith feigned ignorance. "Who?" said Smith when questioned about Terry. "I don't even know who that is."
Terry made sure that Smith knew who he was after Game 5: The former Mavericks star finished with 17 points, while Smith was just 3-for-14 from the field. The TNT cameras caught up to Terry after the game, and he had a few choice words for his New York counterpart.
"I'm a 14-year veteran," Terry said. "If you don't know who I am by now, you will after this series is over."
Best Beef No. 2: Jordan Crawford vs. Carmelo Anthony
Despite being on the business end of a DNP-CD (Did Not Play-Coach's Decision), Boston Celtics shooting guard Jordan Crawford still made it a point to exchange words with New York Knicks' forward Carmelo Anthony after Game 5 of the Celtics-Knicks first-round series.
Any lipreading experts out there? Jordan Crawford said Kevin Garnett did what to whose wife? vine.co/v/bQq7zdjqpBw— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) May 2, 2013
Crawford's postgame comments even elicited a subtle jab from Anthony's wife La La Vazquez on Instagram. Meanwhile, although Anthony didn't stand by the Boston team bus as he did following the Garnett dust-up, he still made it a point to address it in the media.
"I'm not thinking about Jordan Crawford right now," said Anthony following Game 5. "I don't even think he deserves for you to be typing about him right now."
Best Beef No. 1: Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat
When there are a combined 95 personal and nine technical fouls through two games of a playoff series, it's no surprise that the teams involved would refuse to shake hands at the start of Game 3.
Few NBA rivalries in recent years have matched the intensity of Bulls vs. Heat, and the tensions reached a crescendo shortly after the Eastern Conference semifinal series shifted to Chicago.
In the second quarter of Game 3, Bulls center Nazr Mohammed fouled Miami's LeBron James at midcourt, and after James tossed Mohammed to the floor, the big man responded by shoving the four-time league MVP in the chest.
James appeared to be caught off-guard by the move, but that didn't stop the Bulls from accusing the Heat forward of a bit of showmanship.
"From my angle, I just saw a guy, basically, flop," said Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau following the game. "I'm going to leave it at that."
Nate Robinson on LeBron James' crashing to the floor on Nazr Mohammed push: "You see LeBron in a lot of commercials, a lot of good acting."— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 11, 2013
The incident even inspired a fan-made "We Are All Watching" video in the style of the NBA's recent ad campaign.
Mohammed's shove was just a single moment in a sequence of emotional events between the Bulls and the Heat. Even though the series is over, the bad blood between the two is sure to seep into the 2013-14 season.