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LeBron James, Ime Udoka Talk Ejection; HC Disses Lakers and Says Rockets Got 'Punked'

Joseph Zucker

Houston Rockets head coach Ime Udoka declined to get into specifics about the details of his on-court conversation with Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, which resulted in technical fouls for both and ultimately an ejection for Udoka.

With 8:35 left in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles' 107-97 win, emotions between the teams became a bit tense after Lakers forward Cam Reddish brushed past Rockets forward Tari Eason. Udoka and James began chatting along the sideline during the stoppage in play, and whatever was said warranted another whistle. Since it was Udoka's second tech, he was sent back to the locker room.

During his postgame press conference, Udoka said he had only been speaking with James but that the refs "didn't like what they heard."

For his part, James quipped he and Udoka went back and forth about "how much we enjoyed Thanksgiving."

Udoka discussed the game as a whole, one that saw Houston lead after the first quarter before getting outscored 35-14 in the second, and took a thinly veiled shot at Los Angeles.

"To kind of get punked by a team that's not known for physicality or punking people is not a good sign," he said.

The coach had specifically cited the Rockets' defending on Anthony Davis as an area he thought the team was lacking. Davis finished with 27 points to lead all scorers and 14 rebounds, including six on the offensive glass.

Houston and Los Angeles will cross paths for the last time in the regular season on Jan. 29. With any luck, perhaps James and Udoka can talk about how they rang in the new year.


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