No, Stanley Johnson, You're Not in LeBron James' Head
Detroit Pistons rookie Stanley Johnson might not see the second round of the 2015-16 NBA Playoffs.
His team is in an 0-2 deficit to the defending Eastern Conference Champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
But even after a 107-90 loss last night, Johnson thinks that he's got an edge over the Cavs' best player: LeBron James.
"I'm definitely in his head," Johnson said. "That's for sure."
But He Isn't
In fairness, Johnson did qualify his statement some.
"I could care less if I'm in his head or in his mind or anything like that.
"I'm just trying to play basketball. It's up to him how he wants to react to whatever he does. I think I'm in a good place. He had a great night. He's had a couple great nights. He made a couple tough-ass shots."
There's nothing Johnson -- or Reggie Bullock here -- can do to slow down the L-Train in situations like that.
Making matters worse, there's no real evidence that Johnson is creating problems for James.
LeBron has 15 points on 7-9 FG with Stanley Johnson as his primary defender this series (13 Pts, 6-6 FG in Game 2). https://t.co/Ns3td71YBX
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 21, 2016
In the series, James is 21 for 35 from the field (60% field goal percentage). Accounting for his 2-for-7 shooting from beyond the arc, he's got an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 62.9% -- up from 55.1% from the regular season.
James Might Be in Their Heads
Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy coughed up $25,000 for this comment about LeBron's ability to "do what he wants" on offense without being called for offensive fouls.
After Game 2, Johnson also cited the physicality of James' play, which featured a brief collision between the two.
— Larry Brown (@LBSports) April 21, 2016
But Johnson's displeasure doesn't just pertain to James -- it's the whole Cavs' squad.
"He jabbers. He moves his mouth sometimes. Their whole team does, kind of like their little cheerleaders on the bench. Every time you walk in the right corner. They're always saying something like they're playing basketball, like they're actually in the game. There's only seven or eight players who play. I don't see why the other players are talking. They might as well just be in the stands, in my opinion."
What's perhaps most unfortunate is that some stellar play from Johnson is going overlooked. He has shot 7-for-11 from the field (63.6%) and 4-of-5 from three (80%), earning an Effective Field Goal Percentage of 81.8% through his first two career playoff games.
The Pistons get to defend their home court on Friday against the Cavaliers, but numberFire Live sees the Cavs winning the pivotal Game 3 roughly 58% of the time.
Our algorithm gives the Pistons just an 11.98% chance to advance to Round 2 and the Cavs a 22.33% chance to sweep the series.