Houston Rockets forward Dillon Brooks is poking the bear, again.
Ahead of the Rockets’ matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Brooks was asked about matching up with star LeBron James, who’s averaging 25.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists through seven games for the Lakers in his 21st season in the NBA.
‘Ready to lock him up,’ Brooks said. ‘He’s been shooting the ball well, he’s been playing well, so just there to make him tired, make him get into that fourth quarter early.’
If Brooks’ comment feels like déjà vu, it’s because it is.
Wednesday will mark the first time that James and Brooks will play against each other since the two feuded last postseason after Brooks called James, the NBA’s all-time top scorer, ‘old’ and the Lakers ultimately eliminated the Memphis Grizzlies, Brooks’ former team, from the playoffs.
Let’s take a look down memory lane:
How did the Dillon Brooks-LeBron James feud start?
“He’s old,’ Brooks said. ‘I poke bears. I don’t respect someone until he gives me 40.”
The drama continued to escalate in Game 3 when Brooks was ejected for striking James in the groin. James, however, let his play do the talking. He put up 22 points and 22 rebounds in the Lakers’ Game 3 win. (Brooks asked for 40, right?) Los Angeles went on to clinch the series in six games with a 40-point win over the Grizzlies.
Following the series-clinching victory, James shared several highlights from the Lakers’ Game 6 win, including an unreal two-handed reverse dunk. He captioned the post with a viral freestyle from rapper Mystikal, a direct response to Brooks: ‘If you ever see me fighting in the forest with a Grizzly bear, HELP THE BEAR.’
Brooks averaged 10.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in six postseason games last season, while James, whose team advanced to the Western Conference Finals before losing to the Denver Nuggets, averaged 24.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists in 16 games.
Brooks’ poor postseason play and continued antics led Memphis to trade Brooks in the offseason to the Rockets, where he’s averaging 16.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists in six games this season.
Clean slate, right? Wrong. Brooks apparently didn’t learn the first time around and has yet again provoked James. Get your popcorn ready for round 2 on Wednesday.