(Reuters) - The Detroit Pistons are struggling to contain LeBron James in their NBA first round playoff series on the court and are hoping getting into his head with some trash talk and rough play might give them a sniff of overturning the 2-0 deficit.
James led the Cavaliers to a 107-90 win on Wednesday, giving the Cavaliers the advantage in the best-of-seven series, despite the Pistons suggesting they have him figured out.
”I‘m definitely in (LeBron‘s) head, that’s for sure,“ Pistons rookie forward Stanley Johnson told the Detroit News. ”I wish he would just talk when (the game) is 0-0, not when he’s up 16.
“Don’t talk after you made a couple shots. Anybody can do that.”
James has been the target of mind games from before the series began with Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy stating he felt the 31-year-old was never called for offensive fouls.
Van Gundy was fined $25,000 by the NBA for his comments.
Johnson has been guarding James throughout the first two games and while he has been physical in his approach he has been unable to slow the four-time league MVP.
The 31-year-old James recorded 22 points and 11 assists in the first game and followed that up with 27 points on Wednesday.
He has also refused to take a backwards step against the physical Pistons.
Following the first quarter buzzer, James bumped Johnson with his shoulder while walking past him on the way to the bench. Johnson called the move a cheap shot. The Pistons responded in the fourth quarter when Andre Drummond hit him with an elbow before Marcus Morris caught him with a forearm.
James was captured on television vowing retribution but he downplayed it after the game.
“There’s gonna be video here or video there. It means absolutely nothing,” James said.
“I took a shot. I‘m OK. I‘m still standing tall. I’ll be ready on Friday.”
Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury