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LeBron didn’t like physical play from Bulls. Too bad.

Mar 28, 2013, 10:31 AM EDT

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

LeBron James had to know what was coming. Wednesday night was the 15th meeting between the Bulls and Heat since LeBron went to Miami and joined Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — and Chicago has had more success against the Heat than any other team.

The Bulls were going to be physical with him. They were going to bang him around. They were going to make it uncomfortable for him. It worked. The Heat streak is over.

But that doesn’t mean LeBron has to like it.

The reigning MVP was clearly frustrated after the game with the physicality and said so in interviews (broadcast by Comcast SportsNet Chicago and other outlets).

“First of all Kirk Hinrich in the first quarter basically grabbed me with two hands and brought me to the ground. And the last one, Taj Gibson was able to collar me around my shoulder and bring me to the ground. Those are not basketball plays….

“I’m not sitting here crying about anything. I play the game at a high level, I play with a lot of aggression, I understand that some of the plays are on the borderline of a basketball play or not. But sometimes, you know, I don’t know … it’s frustrating.”

LeBron’s frustration after the Gibson foul boiled over into him picking up a flagrant foul for lowering his shoulder into Carlos Boozer.

LeBron can be frustrated if he wants — the referees certainly let the game get more physical than most regular season games. And to my eye, if Gibson’s foul didn’t cross the line into flagrant neither did LeBron’s shoulder.

But he can’t have it both ways — he is often a “bully scorer” who simply overpowers opponents on his drives in the lane. LeBron can score a lot of ways but he isn’t afraid to use his physicality to his advantage. But that means he can’t then turn around and say “hey, they are being too physical with me.”

Compared to the 1980s this was not that physical, but the league has moved away from that model… at least until the playoffs start. Wednesday’s game in Chicago had the physicality of a playoff game, something LeBron should get used to.

LeBron initiated the contact with Hinrich, he tried to bully past him, Hinrich just wrapped him up. That was a basketball play to me. Gibson was on the bubble of flagrant, but LeBron lives in that zone.

LeBron knows that. He was frustrated. And while attacking NBA superstars get some calls, they also got hacked and fouled more than other players. It’s frustrating for them at times but it’s part of it.

If LeBron wants revenge, it comes only with wins. And in his case, rings.

141 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. ljoeyhc - Mar 28, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    I feel a lot of fans out there jump from team to team. It’s sad and James shouldn’t be complaining. He wants to be up there with mj but he sure didn’t complain. The nba is soft compared to the 80’s and 90’s.

  2. bigbenh8tr - Mar 28, 2013 at 3:41 PM

    Maybe you should have been flopping more, oh wait that will come back to haunt you in the playoffs if you’ve already had to be warned about it and need the refs to save you like they did against OKC last season. Can we just ask Glen Davis to give up the name big baby and pass it across town to this jabroni

  3. explosionsauce - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Edit: And in his case, ring

  4. iowahbr - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    Lebron plays like a bull in a china shop on his drives. It’s a shame Mr. Barkley is no longer in the NBA as I would pay to see that match (and I think LeBron would win most of the time) but for him to complain is ridiculous. He has the best combination of both strength and speed in the NBA and given the NBA refs current definition of charging in pro ball he uses it very often. Fair enough to live by the sword but then expect it to be used in return.

  5. deiong - Mar 28, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    his team mate wade is one of the dirtiest players in the nba and LeBron isn’t that far from that list either. so why does he cry when he gets it in return? guy needs to take his pair out of his man bag and play, cause he gives way more then he gets.

  6. helixro14 - Mar 28, 2013 at 5:25 PM

    I am so glad this s**t is over. Give them time to heal and re-group and focus on what is really important. So they’re not 100% better than other teams win/loss record of all time – just 99% better. ESPN can go bloviate about something else, now.

  7. btwicey - Mar 28, 2013 at 5:31 PM

    He’s a boss, ring #2 will be sweeter. Can’t deny these guys they are incredible

  8. passoutblogger - Mar 28, 2013 at 5:58 PM

    It seems to me that physicality on offense and defense are two different things. LeBron definitely uses his strength offensively, However, on defense he seems to rely more on speed and anticipation. I don’t recall many plays where LeBron is hacking at or hanging on people.

  9. crnvic847 - Mar 28, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I hope the Heat meet the Pacers again in the playoffs. This time I think the Pacers prevail.

  10. allen227 - Mar 28, 2013 at 6:16 PM

    Oh well! He and DWade get away with whatever they want. Pot calling the kettle black.

  11. chilechipotle - Mar 28, 2013 at 8:25 PM

    Kurt-
    Lebron’s foul on Boozer was nothing like the one from Gibson on Lebron.

    Gibson did hit him hard, but the intent was to go for the ball. Yes! he hit him hard, but the intent was not to do anything but play the game.

    Lebron to Boozer was not that hard, but the sole intent was to make a point, and that point had nothing to do with Basketball. Play the Game!!!

    So it is my opinion that you are wrong in saying both fouls were the same.

  12. DonRSD - Mar 28, 2013 at 11:55 PM

    Focused LBJ (game 6 vs Boston) = heat go 16-0 in the playoffs.

    LETS GO HEAT!!!

  13. kavika6 - Mar 29, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    Tackled to the ground by the biggest nerd in the NBA? I can’t believe he brought that up.

  14. david0303 - Mar 29, 2013 at 8:57 AM

    “I’m not sitting here crying about anything.” it sure sounds like you are lebron

  15. brokerhenry - Mar 30, 2013 at 6:08 AM

    Losing this game was the best thing that could happen to the Heat at this point in the season. The mental cost of being always prepared to dig deep to win 21 or 22 straight games is freaking insane! The Heat won 27 straight games! How crazy was that?!?! Who the hell does that in this day and age? What was the coach thinking allowing such a distracting scenario to occur? I think now that the Heat have lost, the pressure will be lessened somewhat. Now, they can begin resting guys and getting ready for the playoffs. Remember it is not about chasing some insane winning streak. It is about winning hardware. I will take rings everyday over a 40 game win streak. Every guy on the Heat team should buy the Bulls a case of Champaign and a thank you card. Now, go win me another ring LeBron!!

  16. purpwalk - Mar 30, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    kick his azz and beat him down. puzz

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