WATCH: LeBron James and Lakers’ Assistant Coach Phil Handy Engage in a Heated Spat During Halftime vs Timberwolves

Published 01/02/2022, 11:42 PM EST
Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after scoring a basket during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


LeBron James and Phil Handy were spotted engaging in a heated discussion at halftime on the way to the locker room. The increasing trend of coaches and players turning on each other is worrying for the NBA. One can think of many instances like Luke Walton’s Sacramento Kings to John Lucas and Kevin Porter Jr engaging in a heated debate in the locker room. We can expect teams with younger players to not control their emotions.

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However, it is a rare sight to see a veteran fight with a coach. At halftime against the Timberwolves, the camera spotted LeBron James engaging in a heated discussion with his assistant coach Phil Handy. Here’s the footage of what happened between LeBron and coach Handy.

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LeBron James in a heated discussion with Lakers assistant coach

The Lakers entered halftime with a three-point lead over the Timberwolves. While the reason for this heated exchange remains unknown, it is clear from the video that the discussion involved taking the blame for something. Since we see Coach Handy pointing fingers at himself while LeBron looked heated yet confused.

Dec 28, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

This is not the first instance this week of a coach and player engaging in a halftime spat. Kevin Porter Jr of the Houston Rockets also had a falling out with his assistant coach John Lucas. However, the Lakers would thank their stars that LeBron didn’t do what Kevin Porter Jr did. While LeBron was back on the floor, Porter left the arena in the middle of the game against Nikola Jokic‘s Nuggets.

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When LeBron last had a heated spat with his coach

When LeBron James was in Cleveland Cavaliers, he had a heated spat with their championship-winning coach as well. Ty Lue who aided LeBron is winning the NBA championship for Cleveland, saw his worst side in the 2018 Playoffs. During a game between Portland Trail Blazers and the Cavaliers, LeBron James and Ty Lue got into a heated spat on the bench itself. We saw this spat on national television during the 2018 Playoffs.

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Subsequently, LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers after the Playoffs. Even Ty Lue was fired after that. It might be too far fetched to connect those two dots and say they left because of the spat. However, Lakers fans will naturally worry about the team’s chemistry at the least looking at how LeBron’s spat ended up.

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

488 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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