After going back-and-forth before the game on Monday, the beef between LeBron James and Enes Kanter reached a new level following it. 

During shootaround before the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the New York Knicks, LeBron James clarified the comments he made where he said that Dennis Smith Jr. should’ve been a Knick. The fan base took exception to the remarks, thinking it was a shot at Frank Ntilikina, the player whom New York picked eighth overall. James said it wasn’t:

“I wasn’t throwing shade at Frank at all, for people that got their pants in bunches and things of that nature here in New York, that look for any controversy here,” James said before the Cavaliers held a shootaround at the Garden. “I was basically stating what I saw in Dennis Smith and what I saw from him coming out and watching the draft. I thought that he would be a great fit here with [Kristaps] Porzingis. That’s not saying Frank won’t be a great fit. I haven’t seen much of him.”

On Sunday, after the statement made its rounds, Knicks forward Enes Kanter went to Twitter and dismissed James’ comments, “Nope!! We love what we got… Thanks!!!”

The two teams slugged it out on Monday night. Cleveland erased a 23-point lead and crushed the Knicks on their home floor. LeBron, of course, was at the center of it. He scored or assisted on 28 of the Cavaliers points in the fourth quarter, and finished with 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists. Kanter had a solid game as well and tallied 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Tensions got high at the start of the game. Kanter and James had a bit of a faceoff. LeBron was standing in front of Ntilikina, preventing him from handing the ball to the referee so he could inbound it. After Frank attempted to shove James, Kanter came sprinting from halfcourt and shared some words with LeBron. I couldn’t read their lips that well, but I’m about 98.7 percent sure James called Kanter a “bitch ass.”

It got juicier after the game. “I don’t care what you call yourself — King, Queen, Princess — we’re gonna fight,” said Kanter, according to ESPN’s Ian Begley. That’s not something you say toward the guy who just torched your team in a game that you should’ve won. James’ response, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, was exceptional:

“I’m the king, my wife is the queen and my daughter is the princess, so we got all three covered.”

It’s has been a weird calendar year. We’re approaching the end of it, and the Enes Kanter-LeBron James beef will be one of the subplots that helps keep this season entertaining. The Knicks and Cavaliers still have two more games against each other, and I don’t think that this will be the last time we’re talking about these two.

Start a conversation with me on Twitter