It's safe to say things are heating up between the Detroit Pistons and the Cleveland Cavaliers, even if LeBron James is doing his best to insist it isn't.
The top seed's in the east came out on top during game one of their playoff series with a 101-106 victory at the Quicken Loans Arena.
During that encounter, James picked up 22 points, 11 dimes and six boards to steer his Cavs to a 1-0 lead ahead of game two tonight.
However, it was the in-game interview that Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy carried out with ESPN's Lisa Salters that has stirred the proverbial pot.
"A couple calls have upset our guys," Van Gundy told Salters. "They've got to understand, LeBron's LeBron. They're not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They've got to understand that."
Van Gundy was insinutating that James gets preferential treatment from referees around the NBA. Those comments set the 56-year-old back $25,000 after the league imposed the fine on Monday.
However, King James isn't taking anything personal. The four-time MVP wouldn't be drawn into a personal battle with the coach and insisted they are just two troops on different sides of the battle lines.
"Stan has gotten the better of me in a playoff series before in his Orlando days," James said after practice Tuesday. "But it's not about me versus Stan. It's about his teams versus the teams that I've been on and I'm not having an individual matchup with Stan or an individual matchup with Stanley [Johnson] or any other Stan they can possess.
"It's about getting my guys ready. That's all that matters."
LeBron was also on the end of some robust defending from burly rookie Stanley Johnson during Game One, but again, the 12-time All-Star didn't see their encounters as a personal thing, but just part of the game.
"The game is won in between the four lines," James said. "So whatever [in that] game presents itself, it's not about me versus Stanley Johnson or me versus Stan, it's about the Cavs versus the Pistons.
"I'm trying to help this team advance and get another home win so we can protect home, so I don't get [caught up in that]. Listen, I'm 31-years old, man. I don't get caught up in no shenanigans."
James finished the season in excellent form and as he has been able to do so often in his career, it appears as though the small forward as saved his best for when it matters most.
With game two approaching tonight, it's sure to be another explosive affair between two physical units who are far from done with each other.
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