Dwyane Wade and Lebron James, Miami Heat All-Stars, have commented on Indiana Pacers forward Danny Granger's physical playing style resulting in a heated exchange of words between the NBA stars during the Eastern Conference Semifinals series.
Granger, 29, received technical fouls after exchanging words and getting in the face of both 30-year-old guard Wade and 27-year-old forward James in the three games of the playoff series. The Pacers forward told ESPN that he was doing nothing more than being physical in a high-stakes playoff game.
"That's part of basketball. That's part of two men battling," Granger said after the Pacers' practice on Saturday. "I'm not going to back down from anybody and he's not going to back down from anybody. And when you get that, you'll get some altercations."
However, James called Granger's actions throughout the series "stupid."
"Whatever he's trying, it is not working," James said before Game 5 on Tuesday. "He's said he's not scared of LeBron..I guess he's doing it for his own psyche. It's stupid."
Wade seemed to share James' sentiments, saying certain things should come to an end.
"I'm all for standing up for your guys, but certain things you just can't keep doing. My message to Granger was that you just can't keep running up into people's faces for altercations," Wade told ESPN. "We're not fighting on this basketball court, so let's not act like we're going to fight. We can be physical and do all that, but certain things got to stop. Are you out here to play basketball or are you out here to be a tough guy?"
James emphasized the point by saying he will never engage in a fight on the court with Granger because of his importance to the Heat.
"Nobody is fighting on the basketball court. C'mon," James said. "I'm not going to fight because I mean too much to our team and I can't afford to be suspended for a game or do something stupid to get thrown out of a playoff game."
However, Pacers coach Frank Vogel said his team will continue to play their game, with a tough edge.
"They understand very clearly that we are not interested in any type of ejection or suspension," Vogel said in an ESPN report. "But they also understand very clearly that a key to this series is letting the Miami Heat know that we're not backing down from them."