LeBron James praises Knicks, takes shot at 'old fella' Phil Jackson after epic comeback

NEW YORK -- LeBron James is not finished with former New York Knicks president Phil Jackson. After leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 104-101 victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday, James had kind words for Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek -- with a not-so-subtle jab at Jackson thrown into the mix. 

"They're playing some good basketball," James said. "I think Jeff -- the coach, Jeff Hornacek  -- is finally, with the release of the old fella, is finally allowed to implement what he wants to do on the team. And it's showing it's very effective."

It must be noted that James laughed for several seconds after he said "finally." We can only presume this is when he decided to go with "the old fella" instead of using Jackson's name. 

James, who scored 23 points on 7-of-14 shooting with 12 assists, nine rebounds and three blocks as the Cavaliers came back from a 23-point deficit, said earlier Monday he was "definitely" taking a shot at Jackson when he talked about how Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith could have been a Knick. This time last year, James said he lost his respect for Jackson after an interview in which the then-New York president referred to James' business partners as a "posse."

Late in the fourth quarter of Cleveland's come-from-behind victory, James sized up Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis on the perimeter, then nailed a stepback 3-pointer to give his team a lead it would not relinquish. It is unclear which shot was aimed better: that one or the one he sent Jackson's way.

CBS Sports Writer

James Herbert is somewhat fond of basketball, feature writing and understatements. A former season-ticket holder for the expansion Toronto Raptors, Herbert does not think the NBA was better back in the... Full Bio

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