CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from Jan. 19, 2021.
As the third quarter of Monday night's matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers near its end, LeBron James dribbled down the court following a Kyle Kuzma rebound and hoisted a 14-foot jump shot.
James' miss meant his Lakers would enter the fourth quarter trailing his former team by a score of 89-87. But before heading back to the Los Angeles bench, the four-time MVP stared in the direction of someone sitting courtside at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse before nodding as if to say "OK, we'll see."
The rest, as they say, was history. James went on to solely outscore the Cavs 21-19 in the fourth quarter, totaling 46 points in a 115-108 Lakers victory.
After the game, the Akron native was asked about his exchange at the end of the third quarter. And in answering, he revealed that he had been staring at a member of the Cavs front office who he felt took a little bit too much joy in seeing him miss his 14-foot attempt.
"It was somebody I know, for sure. I felt like he was just a little bit too excited about seeing me miss," James said during his postgame Zoom call with reporters.
"He's a part of the front office group. He was really excited about me missing that shot -- a little bit more extra than I would have liked. But he's got to root for his team, obviously. And he showcased that."
While James declined to name the individual he had the exchange with, ESPN's Dave McMenamin reported that it was the Cavs' basketball chief of staff Jason Hillman who drew the four-time NBA champion's ire. And although James has shown plenty of times before that he's capable of amazing performances at any moment, that didn't stop him from hinting that the interaction helped add some fuel to his fire while facing his former team.
"I knew I had another quarter," James said. "And the fourth quarter's my favorite."