LeBron James and the Miami Heat have unresolved issues with the NBA. They feel the league did not punish Charlotte Bobcats forward, Josh McRoberts to the full extends. Late in the 4th quarter of Game 2, in he elbowed James in the throat as he drove to the basket. The severity of this play alone warranted a flagrant foul; due to the fact McRoberts was not making a play on the ball.
The call on the floor was ruled a regular foul, and he shot two from the charity strip. However, if the Bobcats forward were hit with the flagrant 2 during the game he would have been ejected.McRoberts was eventually charged with a flagrant 2, and just fined $20,000. Eric Spoelstra and the organization were not appeased with the league’s decision. They feel McRoberts should have been suspended for Game 3. Nonetheless, they think it was just one of the many hard fouls King James has to endure. The size and talent of this six foot eight beast many players find him hard to stop. James and Spoelstra are tired of the excuse given every time James takes a blow.
James spoke candidly about the situation surrounding McRoberts and him in an interview during their April 25th practice. He made a remark that was a direct reference to ESPN’s 30 for 30: Bad Boys documentary. James explained that if it were the 80’s he would have come up swinging, but it is not. He grasps how valuable he is to his team, and understands he does them no good in the locker room. As much as he may want to react like the 80’s Pistons he maintains his cool.
Do the other players who match up against James treat him like a target? Yes, the other players do. As a big powerful man with so much versatility it is necessary. The Heat understands the strategy applied in competition, but they do not understand the motives behind refs improperly officiating.
James is expressed that he is okay with contact, because he expects it. His only issue is when the officials do not do their job. In a statement given to the public, he openly said, “I do not call fouls. I know it is going to be a big headline tomorrow, ‘LeBron is crying for fouls.’ It’s not that at all. If the game is played and officiated like it is suppose to be officiated, then I’m ok with it.”
Referee’s make calls at their own discretion, and have the option to review or challenge plays if need be. With .50 seconds on the clock in the 4th quarter of Game 2 the refs did not even review the crucial play from McRoberts. Following that trend something similar occurred in the infamous Heat versus Thunders game. Forward, Surge Ibaka attempted to defend James as he slashed in the paint for the dunk, and accidentally broke James’ nose. At the end of the collision, there was no foul called. In fact, the play continued down the floor while James was left bleeding on the deck. Once Kevin Durant missed his shot they eventually called a time out so the Heat staff could examine James’ nose.
Is this fair treatment towards the one many refer to as King James? Well, that is up for debate. James is not the first big man to receive this treatment and he will not be the last. Players do the same to Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, and they also use to do it to Shaquille O’Neal. Players committing these fouls must believe if there is no way to beat these big guys, one must foul them.
Commentary By: Schelett Rickenbacker