It looks like the Celtics - Heat rivalry has officially gone from the court to the suites.
LeBron James spoke out against the officiating after the Heat's 27-game winning streak was snapped by the Bulls on Wednesday, saying "a lot of my fouls are not basketball plays".
The comments came due to two hard fouls on James by the Bulls' Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson, neither of which were called flagrant.
"It's been happening all year, and I've been able to keep my cool and try to tell [coach Erik Spoelstra], 'Let's not worry about it too much,"' James said. "But it is getting to me a little bit because every time I try to defend myself, I got to face the consequences of a flagrant for me or a technical foul, whatever the case may be. It's tough. It's tough. It's very tough, and I'm not sitting here crying about anything because I play the game at a high level."
Well, that comment didn't go unnoticed by Celtics GM Danny Ainge, who has seen James benefit from countless touch fouls. In an appearance on WEEI on Thursday, Ainge responded to James comments, saying, “I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating."
Well, Heat President Pat Riley wasn't going to let that slide. In a statement to Heat officials, delivered to Heat media, Riley took a big shot at Ainge.
"Danny Ainge needs to shut the f--- up and manage his own team," Riley said. "He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him."
The Globe's Gary Washburn found Ainge prior to the Celtics - Hawks game on Friday to get a response.
"We're both right," Ainge said. "LeBron should stop complaining and I should manage my own team."
Ainge wouldn't deny that he was a complainer out on the court, either.
"Oh heavens yes. It's not a secret."
But Ainge also wouldn't leave without reiterating the "embarrassment" James should feel for his complaints.
"Pat Riley's right. I should manage my own team and I complained a lot (as a player). And I'm right. LeBron should be embarrassed by how he complains about the calls he gets."